New Jersey Man to Face Charge in Beating at Orphanage in 50's

New York Times
August 22, 2000

A federal judge is allowing a New Jersey man to return to Canada to answer charges that he severely beat a boy in an orphanage where he worked as a member of a Roman Catholic order in the 1950's, according to court records and published reports.

The man, Thomas Cuthbert Ford, and seven other men were indicted in 1996 on eight counts of assault against boys at the orphanage in the late 1950's, the reports said. Mr. Ford, now 66, has been living in New Jersey for several years and taught at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell from 1986 to 1996, according to reports in The Record in Hackensack.

The school is operated by a Catholic order, the Congregation of Christian Brothers, which runs schools, orphanages and social service agencies and also operated the Canadian orphanage, Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Newfoundland.

No Canadian statute of limitations governs the charges in this case.

Mr. Ford was taken into custody on the eight assault charges in March 1999 at the request of Canadian officials, who also asked that he be extradited. He was released after the Christian Brothers order posted $500,000 bond and $100,000 in cash, but his travel was restricted to within New York and New Jersey.

Judge Stanley R. Chesler of United States District Court in Newark, in an order dated Aug. 15, allowed Mr. Ford to travel voluntarily to Newfoundland to appear in court.

Under the terms of that order, he is to be accompanied by his lawyer in the United States, William J. Bailey. Under an agreement with Canadian officials arranged by Mr. Ford's Canadian lawyer, David Eaton, he must appear in the Newfoundland court to answer a single charge of causing bodily injury.

Published reports said Mr. Ford was accused of using a belt to whip a 14-year-old boy in a shower room as other boys watched in terror.

The reports said a total of nine men at the orphanage, some of them members of the Christian Brothers and others of whom were lay employees, were convicted in 1989 of physical and sexual abuse at the orphanage after dozens of the boys filed complaints. The orphanage was later closed.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the United States attorney's office in Newark, declined to comment on the case.

Sgt. Robert Garland, a spokesman for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the Canadian law enforcement agency that brought the charges against Mr. Ford, said he could not provide details of the case. Mr. Ford could not be reached for comment yesterday. His lawyers did not return phone calls seeking comment, and a spokesman for the Christian Brothers, whose American headquarters are in New Rochelle, N.Y., refused to comment on the case or to say whether Mr. Ford was still a member of the order.

Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark, also declined to comment, and a call to Bergen Catholic was not returned.


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