Over the past several years, evidence of severe physical and sexual abuse has been reported involving children under the care of Christian Brothers schools and institutions. In 2005, the Irish High Court unsealed a report which found that molestation and rape were widespread in Christian Brothers facilities, and that the institution pursued policies that hid the abuse and increased the danger to children. The report pointed to overwhelming testimony from still-traumatized victims, now in their 50s to 80s, that Christian Brothers treated children more like slaves than humans with legal rights and future potential.
Free Christian Brothers Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been sexually abused or molested by a member of the congregation of Christian Brothers, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the perpetrator and we can help.
Overview of the Congregation of Christian Brothers
First opened in Waterford, Ireland, in 1802, the Congregation of Christian Brothers is a worldwide religious organization that falls under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church. The community was established to promote the evangelization and education of children through a network of interconnected schools and orphanages. Unlike other sects of the Catholic Church, members of the Christian Brothers order are not ordained priests, and cannot administer such sacraments as communion and confession.
The Christian Brothers are geographically divided into a number of different provinces located on nearly every continent. Each province works under the direction of a Province Leadership Team, which in turn is controlled by the Rome-based Congregational Leadership Team. The Leadership Team is ultimately led by a brother known as the Congregational Leader.
The first Christian Brothers school was was established in New York City in 1906, and the order worked hard to expand its North American presence throughout the 20th century, focusing chiefly on opening high schools in its name.
Christian Brothers Abuse Uncovered in the United States
Over the past 10 years, reports of sexual and physical abuse occurring in Christian Brothers facilities in the U.S. have been surfacing, the vast majority of which focused on a pair of institutions located in the Northwest. Dozens of allegations of molestation flew from former members of the now-defunct Briscoe Memorial School, which was an orphanage and boarding school located on the outskirts of Seattle. The facility, which was established by the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese and operated by the Christian Brothers, opened in 1909 and closed around 1970. Briscoe was home to thousands of petty thieves, truants, and boys from so-called ‘dysfunctional’ families.
Four decades after they left Briscoe, 13 former students who claimed they were abused when they attended the school allegedly reached a $7 million settlement with the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocese and the Congregation of the Christian Brothers.
Other legal claims involving sexual abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers occurred at O’Dea High School in Seattle. A number of alleged victims have stated that Brother Edward Courtney abused them over a period of years when he taught at the school. According to court documents, the victims claim that Christian Brothers and the Seattle Archdiocese knew that Courtney had a notorious reputation as a child molester, but failed to report him to authorities, instead shuffling him to other schools. The lawsuits state that when Courtney first started working at O’Dea in 1975, the faculty was made aware of his long history of sexual abuse. According to the complaints, Courtney groomed, groped and rubbed his genitals on the victims, pretending he was wrestling with them. The following year, Courtney was sent to a Canadian ‘rehabilitation facility.’ Courtney was officially fired from O’Dea in 1978, after which he was hired as an administrative intern at Our Lady of the Lake school in Wedgewood, Washington. The next year he became principal at St. Alphonsus Parish School in Ballard, Washington. Courtney’s abuse of boys continued there until 1988, when he pled guilty to a felony charge of indecent liberties with a minor.
Do You Have a Christian Brothers Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
Unfortunately, sexual abuse in the United States is rampant and there are millions of survivors. Many times, the victims of childhood sexual abuse do not report the abuse at all or don’t report it until many years after the abuse happens.
You must understand though that regardless of how long ago the abuse happened, you still have rights and the ability to file a sex abuse lawsuit. Our California colleagues have helped in creating landmark legislation, which allows survivors to file a sex abuse lawsuit against the Christian Brothers.
Schmidt & Clark, LLP and The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, has committed itself to protecting victims of Christian Brothers sexual abuse by relentlessly pursuing sexual predators in court. We are actively involved in representing clients who have been abused by predators in a variety of settings, including churches, youth organizations, schools, and in the home. If you or someone close to you has been sexually abused, we, can provide experienced, effective, and compassionate representation to ensure that your rights to compensation are fully protected.