Of Pedophile Priests and Cardinal Hayes Alumni Association
It’s interesting that the organizers of the 40th anniversary of the class of 1975 “feel it necessary to extend the deadline for participating in the survey about the reunion until next Wednesday, March 18th in order to get more feedback” due to the lack of participation by members in my graduating class. I write interesting because a day after I filled out the survey I received a phone call from the Alumni Office at Cardinal Hayes (according to Cardinal Hayes High School Sources prompted by NY Times Reporter David Gonzalez) indicating that I am not welcome to come to the school. Why? Because in 2005 I strongly and vociferously objected to be constantly barraged with requests for money in light of the string of of sexual abuse cases at Cardinal Hayes I became aware of while living in NY. The tone of the phone call I received was in itself an extension of mental abuse practiced at the school by some suspected rogue pedophile teachers of the period as a form of dominance and submission. No one touched me at Hayes during that time because they knew better that if they pushed too far I would strike back.
According to SchoolDigger.com, there are 926 Students enrolled at Cardinal Hayes High School (or approximately 230 per class: Freshmen-Senior.) In 1971 we entered Hayes with 560 freshmen and graduated in 1975 with 416 Senior Students.
[Nonpublic school enrollment declined by 23,100 (9 percent) since 2002-2003. Public charter school enrollment grew by more than 56,000 over those 10 years. Enrollment in Roman Catholic schools declined by over 47,000 students (35 percent) from 2002-2003 through 2012-2013.]
Why are Catholic schools disappearing? And if there are so many more Catholics nationwide, why are there fewer schools? No more money? Charter schools? Loss of faith? Indolence? Irrelevance? Scandal?
“The answer is fairly simple,” says James Cultrara, director for education for the New York State Catholic Conference. “The rising cost of providing a Catholic education has made it more difficult for parents to meet those rising costs.” The Catholic-school story has been covered, as education journalist Samuel Freedman wrote in the New York Times, “as either a sob story or a sort of natural disaster, the inevitable outcome of demographics.” But Freedman believes that “there need not have been anything inevitable about the closings,” especially since Catholic populations are increasing. If only it were that simple.
The flight from inner cities to the suburbs by working- and middle-class Americans affected Catholic schools as much as, if not more than, it did public schools. Downtown churches were suddenly filled by poor immigrants from Catholic nations (Latin America and the Caribbean) without a tradition of Catholic schools, much less a habit of paying for them. According to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), between 2000 and 2006, nearly 600 Catholic elementary and secondary schools closed, a 7 percent decline, and nearly 290,000 students left, almost 11 percent.
One factor is that the public schools in the suburbs are not like the public schools that Catholics tried to avoid in the cities. “Folks got to the suburbs and discovered that it was not only very expensive to build new schools, but that the public schools were not that bad,” says Patrick Wolf, professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas.
And charter schools, says Father Ronald Nuzzi, director of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) leadership program at Notre Dame, “are one of the biggest threats to Catholic schools in the inner city, hands down. How do you compete with an alternative that doesn’t cost anything?” Then came the sex abuse scandals. There has been nothing quite so shattering as the endless parade of headlines about priests abusing children.
A Gallup survey in 2003 found that one in four Catholics withheld donations to the Church because of the scandals.
Cardinal Hayes High School has faced criticism for its share of a history of abuse even after my 2005 protest.
1. In 2009, James West, the school’s dean of discipline, pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and was given a conditional discharge after being charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse. The dean of discipline at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx was suspended indefinitely after being arrested on charges of propositioning and groping a 19-year-old student in his office. [James West, suspended over charges of groping a student, challenged a photographer when the high school’s principal was dismissed over a sex-related allegation. The dean, James West, is the second top administrator in less than a year to be removed from his duties at Cardinal Hayes High School in connection with sex- related allegations.]
2. Cardinal Hayes High Schools former principal, Christopher Keogan, was forced out in February 2008 for having inappropriate images on his computer, and a former Spanish teacher pleaded guilty to having sex with a 16-year-old student in 2003.
3. Father Robert Harrison, a priest who taught for 26 years and coached basketball for more than 20 years at the all-boys Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, was removed from the school and barred from any sort of ministry as church and law enforcement officials investigated.
4. Michael D O’Herlihy: Laicized in 1993. Accused in 2/26/04 suit of sexually abusing a boy in 1980 at Cardinal Hayes H.S. in the Bronx. O’Herlihy had learned that the boy was being abused by a Catholic counselor, and allegedly used the knowledge to gain access. Suit claims that other boys were abused by O’Herlihy at the school. Dismissed 2006. In 3/09 he was found working as ass’t principal at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day HS.
5. John Justin B O’Connor: Accused CFC (Congregation of Christian Brothers). Two former students at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx came forward to allege they were abused in mid-1980s by O’Connor, then Dean of Discipline. He left the school in 1987 and left the order “within a few years.” The Order filed bankruptcy 4/11 and that opened the doors for the allegations to be made. He was also Principal at Power Memorial Academy. New York, NY Source: WPIX 04.26.12; Voice from the Desert 05.13.12
6. John W. Lennon: Removed 2002 from position at St. John the Baptist Church after accusations of abuse of one youth in 1970s when he was teacher and administrator at Cardinal Hayes H.S. in the Bronx. He denied allegations. Allegations first surfaced in 1997 and diocese cleared him after investigation. Never told accuser. After 2002 removal, he was told he would never return to active assignments. Laicized by Vatican per 4/08 announcement in Catholic New York. Died 12/16/12. Obituary referred to him as Rev. Lennon. New York, NY Source: Journal News 04.19.02; The Journal News (NY) 04.21.02; USA Today 11.11.02; Journal News 09.14.03; Journal News 07.09.05; Blogging Religiously 04.07.08; Flower Funeral Home Obituary 12.16.12
7. John M. Walderman: Sued CFC – Congregation of Christian Brothers From 1971-1976 he was at Blessed Sacrament High School. Arrested on 1/1/86 when he was principal of Bishop Hendricken HS in Providence diocese and indicted for soliciting sex from a male minor. Charge dropped 1987. Transferred to Cardinal Hayes HS in Bronx NY 1987-1991, followed by Rice HS 1991-2001. Then a stint at Edmund Rice Institute in Australia 2001-2005, until order received letter about 1986 arrest. Providence, RI Source: Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, No. 07-102959; LA Times 01.02.86; Associated Press 01.03.86; NY Post 11.19.07
8. Edward Pipala sex abuse scandal
Church’s silence mars victims’ faith, trust
By Steve Israel,Times Herald-Record
Posted Mar. 22, 2002 at 2:00 AM
Updated Dec 15, 2010 at 12:51 PM
ORANGE COUNTY: A national sexual abuse scandal echoes local cases.
In 1977, the Archdiocese of New York was told that the Rev. Edward Pipala had sexually abused a boy.
For the next 25 years, the Catholic priest abused more than 60 boys, including at least 50 in Orange County. Despite more complaints of abuse, the archdiocese transferred Pipala from parish to parish. Pipala continued to abuse boys at St. John the Evangelist in Goshen and Sacred Heart in Monroe.
The church never acknowledged the abuse until 1993, when Pipala was convicted. It offered six figure settlements to the victims who filed lawsuits in exchange for silence and the promise not to sue again.
These facts, gathered from law enforcement officials, victims and past statements of the archdiocese, show that the Archdiocese of New York acted like the archdioceses of Boston, and, according to published reports, Bridgeport, Conn.
It ignored complaints of sexual abuse. It transferred a priest from parish to parish. It paid the victims hush money.
And it repeated that pattern with at least one more Orange County priest, the Rev. Francis Stinner, who served at St. Mary’s Church in Port Jervis and taught at John S. Burke High School in Goshen.
After a high-ranking church official called a report of his sexual abuse of a boy “credible,” Stinner was allowed to serve in a Westchester parish next to a school. The archdiocese gave the victim more than $50,000 — and a new Honda Accord — in exchange for his silence.
An investigation in 1997 by a firm headed by former New York City Police Commissioner Robert McGuire confirmed the abuse. An archdiocese spokesman then said Stinner “would not return to a parish with children, I can assure you of that.”
Two years later, Stinner returned to celebrate mass at two Westchester churches with altar boys and children.
The victims of Stinner and Pipala aren’t buying the archdiocese’s new policy of reporting sexual abuse:
“When there is reasonable cause to suspect abuse has occurred and if the victims do not oppose the reporting, the archdiocese will make the appropriate reports to civil authorities,” it reads.
The victims and families say the policy doesn’t go far enough — even though the archdiocese spokesman says it is “the wording of the Social Services law.”
“They have no right to investigate,” says a victim. “Law enforcement officials should make that decision.”
The archdiocese says it’s now “encouraging” alleged victims to report abuse.
“If anyone has any belief or allegation, they should go to the authorities themselves,” says Joseph Zwilling.
The victims and their families are still skeptical.
“It’s totally skirting the issue of a cover-up,” says the sister of one victim.
“I just wished they had listened to me four years ago,” says the man who was abused by Stinner. “This has got to stop.”
Local law enforcement officials agree.
“They should turn everything over to the prosecutors and let the prosecutors do their jobs,” says former state police Major James O’Donnell of Goshen, who helped build the case against Pipala.
Pipala, who served seven years in federal prison, was released last year and was removed from the priesthood.
O’Donnell says the current international scandal rocking the church is “an opportunity to do the right thing finally.”
But the victims, their friends and families aren’t as optimistic. The abuse pierced their souls.
“They’re talking out of both sides of their mouths,” says one of Pipala’s victims.
“Hardly anybody from the church has paid their dues, but the victims are brushed aside,” said a friend of some victims of Stinner. “No one says ‘I’m sorry I covered it up.'”
“It’s such a cavalier attitude,” adds the friend who still goes to church regularly.
But some victims say the abuse has forever destroyed their faith.
Nineteen years ago, a boy’s mother gave Pipala a T-shirt that said “Trust Me, I’m a Father.” She hoped the priest would help her troubled son, who had been cutting classes and smoking cigarettes.
Pipala bought the 13-year-old and other boys six packs of Heineken, St. Pauli Girl and Bud. They went to the basement of Sacred Heart Church in Monroe. In a room with a sign that said, “What you say here stays here,” they watched videos of movies like “Red Dawn.”
Two years later, the boy said he was ready to join the secret club Pipala had been talking about, The Hole. The initiation was sex. Pipala abused him for the next five years.
The boy reported the abuse to the archdiocese and got no action. He still hasn’t received an apology. His anger runs so deep, he will never trust the church. That’s why he urges anyone who may have been abused to go straight to the police.
“I wish I would have called the police sooner, so maybe others could have been saved,” he says.
The career of the Rev. Edward A. Pipala:
— 1966: Pipala is ordained at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, near Yonkers.
— 1966 to 1975: Pipala is assigned to teach English at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.
— 1975 to 1977: Pipala teaches at Moore Catholic High School, Staten Island. A complaint is made against Pipala while he is in Staten Island and the Archdiocese of New York sends the priest into counseling.
— 1977 to 1981: Archdiocese officials send Pipala to serve at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Croton Falls. A young man later tells church officials that Pipala molested him while both were at the parish.
— 1981 to 1988: Pipala serves as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Monroe. He serves as a youth minister in addition to his other duties, and starts a club for teen-age boys called The Hole.
— July 1, 1988, to July 10, 1992: Pipala is pastor of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Goshen. He continues involvement with youth ministry and other parish groups, but also continues molesting teen-age boys, according to police and court statements.
— July 10, 1992: Pipala is removed from St. John the Evangelist after a young man tells the archdiocese he was molested by the priest. Pipala enters a treatment clinic in Maryland.
— February 1993: A young man and his counselor approach Orange County District Attorney Francis D. Phillips II and say Pipala molested the young man. Phillips asks state police to investigate.
— March 30, 1993: A young man files a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, charging Pipala with sodomy. The suit seeks $8 million from Pipala and the Archdiocese of New York. Three other suits are filed in ensuing weeks, seeking more than $500 million in damages.
— June 25, 1993: Pipala and his lawyer meet with Orange County and federal prosecutors in White Plains. Pipala confesses to an unspecified number of incidents.
— July 9, 1993: Pipala surrenders to state police, is charged in Goshen Village Court with sodomy, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, and pleads guilty in U.S. District Court in White Plains to taking a minor across state lines for illicit sex.
— July 23, 2000: Pipala is released from Allenwood Low Security Federal Correction Facility in White Deer, Pa., after serving seven years.
9. TRYST TEACHER’S BABY STUDENT, 18, IS THE DAD IN LATEST SCHOOL SCANDAL
By Susan Edelman October 6, 2002
In last week’s incident, Mildred Colon, a Spanish teacher at the all-boy Cardinal Hayes HS in The Bronx, pleaded not guilty to three counts of statutory rape arising from her alleged relationship with a teen.
Colon was fired by the Archdiocese of New York, which runs the school, as soon as the teen’s parents came forward with the allegations.
Child counselors say the alleged victim – a tall kid who looks older than his age and who classmates called a “ladies’ man” – faces psychological fallout that could take years to resolve.
“Boys who are molested by women are often left feeling ‘lucky,’ but as they grow older, they realize this was not luck but abuse, and they were betrayed,” said Stephen Braveman, a California-based therapist who specializes in sexual abuse.
The anguish can lead to problems like low self-esteem, alcohol or drug abuse, and difficulty in other relationships with women, Braveman said.
Nora Murphy, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese schools, said the youth is getting “professional and spiritual support,” including help from counselors and clergy.
She said the student is “still enrolled” at the school, but she could not say whether he has returned to classes.
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