Bishop Guertin Settles Molestation Suits

Union Leader (Manchester NH)
June 3, 2004

NASHUA (AP) — Bishop Guertin High School has settled five lawsuits filed by men who said they were sexually molested by one of the teachers.

Two other suits involving teachers at other schools run by the same religious order also were settled.

Lawyers representing the former students and the Rhode Island-based religious order that owns Bishop Guertin would not reveal the amount of last month's five settlements involving Brother Guy Beaulieu.

"We're pleased we've settled," said Nashua attorney David Pinsonneault, who represents the school and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. "We look forward to settling the rest of them."

Six other suits remain alleging abuse by Beaulieu and two other brothers who taught at Bishop Guertin.

When the lawsuits were filed, Manchester attorney Peter Hutchins accused school officials and members of the order of denying or minimizing the abuse. Rather than accept responsibility, they were blaming the victims, Hutchins had said.

"I think they have now stepped up to the plate," Hutchins said Tuesday. "They are certainly moving in the right direction and doing the right thing by the victims. I give them credit for doing that."

"I respect what they're trying to accomplish," said Kevin Dandley, who had accused Beaulieu. "They seem to be taking this very seriously and made sure this won't happen again."

Beaulieu has admitted in a sworn deposition to sexually abusing as many as 20 students at Bishop Guertin between 1971 and 1991 while he worked as a math teacher and sports coach, according to court records.

Despite his admissions, Beaulieu has not faced any criminal charges in any of the cases or financial liability to any of his former students because the statute of limitations ran out.

"There's more to resolving these cases than financial," Hutchins said. "The way these mediations have gone, they've come a long way toward accomplishing those objectives."

One of the Bishop Guertin suits was settled nearly two years to the day that it was filed by Dandley.

Dandley, 44, of Hudson, who said Beaulieu abused him more than 100 times between 1972 and 1975, became the lead plaintiff in the lawsuits.

"It's still not done, even though my case has been settled," Dandley said Tuesday. "I want to see everybody taken care of in a respectful manner."

The other suits that were settled were filed by John Hamilton, 44, of Nashua, George Prevost, 45, of Hudson, Michael O'Rourke, 40, of Wolfeboro, and John Doe IV, 39, whose real name is concealed.

In the other two suits, Edwin Berry Weisiger, 53, of Virginia, accused Brother Leo Labbe, the former president of Bishop Guertin, of sexually abusing him while he was a student at Sacred Heart School in Andover, Mass., between 1960 and 1961.

Rene Lanoie, 73, of Mississippi, accused Brother Albert LaFlamme of sexually abusing him between 1943 and 1949 at the now-closed St. Louis school in Nashua. LaFlamme has since died.

Another suit against a Bishop Guertin brother was settled last November.


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