Teachers at Catholic High School Investigated

Associated Press State & Local Wire
March 26, 2002

Authorities are investigating allegations that two teachers at a Roman Catholic high school in Nashua sexually assaulted students during the late 1970s, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

The Bishop Guertin High School teachers, both members of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart religious order that owns and operates the school, are accused of assaulting the students, one of whom was 14, between 1977 and 1978.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation continues, identified one of the teachers as Brother Guy Beaulieu, but did not name the other.

Beaulieu, a mathematics teacher and golf coach who began teaching at the school in the 1970s, moved to the brothers' retirement home in Burrillville, R.I., in 1990. The official did not know if the other teacher still taught at the school.

Brother Leo Labbe, principal of the coed school of roughly 800 pupils from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

Calls to the religious order's New England headquarters in Burrillville, also were not returned immediately.

The investigations began when two people, prompted by the surge of abuse allegations against priests around the country, told authorities about the alleged assaults, the official said.

Because of the statute of limitations, the cases appear to be too old to file charges, but the official said details of the allegations continue to emerge and charges could be filed at a later date.

At the time of the alleged assaults, the school was all boys. It began admitting girls in 1992.

Patrick McGee, spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester, said the school is affiliated only loosely with the diocese, which heads the Catholic church for the state, and referred questions to the school.

In New Hampshire and around the country, the Catholic church has been rocked by numerous allegations of abuse, and accusations that church officials knew about the molestations and failed to intervene.

Following the lead of church officials in Massachusetts, the New Hampshire diocese in the last month has given the attorney general's office information about 15 priests accused of sexually abusing children from 1963 to 1987.

Only one of the 15 men still was serving in the priesthood at the time the list was released. The Rev. John Poirier of Holy Family Parish in Gorham was placed on leave that day.

But authorities say that since the list was released, they have received allegations against about a dozen other priests.

Beaulieu also was mentioned in a November 1997 story about another Bishop Guertin teacher accused of misconduct. Several school staff members and two former students told The Associated Press that Beaulieu frequently had inappropriate contact with pupils.

Former Administrative Assistant Judith Kleiner said she frequently watched Beaulieu sit down next to students, slide up to them, press his hips against them and rub their thighs.

A 1991 Guertin graduate said Beaulieu touched his students during and after classes and expected them to tolerate it. Another former student said Beaulieu caressed the thighs of students as he walked around the classroom checking work.

And a man who taught at Guertin for nearly two decades told the AP in 1997 that he became concerned about Beaulieu during the 1970s when he found him alone with a student at the back of a school bus one day. He said his suspicion he had interrupted something was confirmed later by the student, who told him Beaulieu had been fondling him. The ex-teacher said the boy's parents complained to school officials, but nothing was done. The boy left Guertin.

Another source at the school said Beaulieu's sexual misconduct led to his transfer in 1990 to Rhode Island.

Bishop Guertin has had one teacher go to jail over sexual misconduct.

In 1990, computer teacher Michael Couture of Hudson was accused of trying to sexually assault a Guertin student. The student informed authorities and school officials, but no charges were filed because the student did not want to go to trial.

Couture resigned, but a few years later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a Guertin pupil he met while teaching at the school. Couture was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison.

And in 1997, Guertin religion teacher Brother Shawn McEnany was arrested after an Associated Press story revealed the school had hired him despite knowing he was convicted as a sex offender in Maine in 1988.

He was accused of violating a 1989 law that bars those convicted of sexually assaulting children from working or volunteering with children. The charges were dropped in 1999 because of an inconsistency in that law that would have made it difficult to prosecute. McEnany remains barred from ever teaching in New Hampshire.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.