Category: Schools

Fr. Francis Benham – Archdiocese of Washington

Father Francis Benham

Archdiocese of Washington

Ordained: 1963

Laicized: 2005

Assigned as follows:

  • Church of the Holy Spirit (Forestville, MD)
  • St. Jude Catholic Church (Rockville,
  • St. Nicholas Church (Zanesville, Ohio)
  • Community of Holy Rosary/St. John on the South Side (Columbus, Ohio)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Francis Benham:

In 1979, the Archdiocese of Washington first received a report that Father Francis Benham, while serving as pastor in a Forestville parish, sexually assaulted and sodomized a young girl during a two-year period beginning in 1977 when she was 13 years old. The abuse occurred two or three times a week. The victim said, “During that whole two years, he had me to believe that it was OK. And, that it was OK with God.”

The Archdiocese of Washington did not report the allegation to police.  Instead, Benham was removed from ministry and sent for counseling. Upon completion of  treatment, he was cleared for return to ministry. Bishop Edward Herrmann allowed Father Benham to join the Diocese of Columbus (Ohio) which was informed that an allegation of child abuse had been made against him. He served there from 1979-1985.

In 1985, Father Benham abandoned the ministry and stopped working as a priest. Two years later, in 1987, he moved to central Illinois where he worked as a counselor for convicted sex offenders for nearly 14 years at Tazwood Mental Health Center in Pekin.

In 1995, the Archdiocese of Washington received a second allegation against Father Benham, relating to abuse that occurred in 1970-71. The new allegation was reported to police in 1995, after the archdiocese did a review of its personnel files in order to forward to police information about all past allegations of child abuse made against its priests.  It claims it reported the first allegation at that time as well. 

A third allegation was made in Spring 1995, but this time the victim contacted police directly. According to papers filed by police in Prince George’s County District Court, Benham allegedly kissed, undressed and sexually aroused a 15-year-old boy at Church of the Holy Spirit in Forestville on about six occasions between July 1977 and April 1978.

According to media reports, Benham became a certified child care provider for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and in 2003, kept boys in his Lincoln, Illinois, home during weekends to provide relief for foster parents.

In June 2004, Father Benham was charged and arrested in Lincoln with second- and third-degree sex offenses. He was extradited from Lincoln to Prince George’s County, MD. He pleaded guilty in December of that year.

In March 2005, Father Benham was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The victims agreed to a plea bargain, which suspended most of his sentence, to be followed by three years of probation. The agreement also required Benham to register on the national sex offender database and to abstain from contact with anyone under the age of 18. He apologized for his crimes, but blamed his actions on his abuse of alcohol at the time.

In 2005, Father Benham was laicized (removed from the priesthood) by the Vatican.

In January 2006, he was released from prison.

In February 2011, Father Benham was re-arrested for failure to register as a sex offender. He was cited for practicing clinical psychology without a license in Illinois in October 2012.

In October 2018, Father Benham’s name appeared on the Archdiocese of Washington’s list of credibly accused priests.  In March 2019, Father Benham’s name appeared on the Archdiocese of Columbus’s list of credibly accused priests.

According to his sex offender registry, he continues to reside in Lincoln, Illinois.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Washington.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Washington, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Washington now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

St. Joseph High School

St. Joseph Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at Saint Joseph High School

Middlesex County, New Jersey

Founded: 1961

Location: Metuchen, New Jersey

Grades: 9 through 12

Founded in 1961, Saint Joseph High School is an independant, all-boys school that is operated by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. From 1901 to 1961, St Joseph High School served as a center for educating and training Brothers in the order. The school now has an average enrollment of approximately 700 students and 65 classroom teachers.

In early 2016, a teacher was removed from St Joseph High School and was soon after charged with one count of possessing child pornography. Brother John Spalding had come forward to one of his superiors and admitted that he had been making inappropriate use of the internet. After investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Spalding was found to have child pornography on his school computer and was charged criminally.  The investigation took seven months to complete, and media reports indicate that Spalding continued to reside on the St. Joseph campus during that time, without any warnings to parents.

Spalding was sentenced to a pre-trial intervention program in November 2016 for 36 months and received no additional jail time. Spalding is not allowed any unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18.  

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

 

The Collier High School

Collier High School Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at The Collier High School

Monmouth County, New Jersey

Location: Wickatunk, New Jersey

Grades: 9 through 12

The Collier High School is a private, non-profit high school that helps students with emotional difficulties such as depression and anxiety, along with other special needs. The property was given to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1927 to be turned into residential program for girls in problematic environment. It later turned into a full-time school that accepted males as well. As of 2015, the enrollment of students was 181 students and 47 classroom teachers.

In May of 2016, Collier teacher Elizandra Martinez was accused of kissing and fondling the breasts of a 17-year old female student. She was also a volunteer coach with the Lady of Our Good Shepherd Catholic Organization. Martinez agreed to relinquish her substitute teaching credentials after pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual contact in April 2017. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

 

The Peddie School

 

Peddie School Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at The Peddie School

Mercer County, New Jersey

Founded: 1864

Location: Hightstown, New Jersey

Grades: 9 through 12 and post-graduate

The Peddie School in New Jersey is a coeducational college preparatory school that educates students from grades 9 through 12. It also has a small post-graduate program. Founded as an American Baptist school for girls, in 1864 it began allowing boys to attend and shortly after changed its name.  In 2015, it was ranked as the 18th most expensive private high school in the United States. It has an average enrollment of approximately 550 students and around 79 classroom teachers.

In October of 2013, it was widely reported that a Peddie School math teacher and cross-country coach leapt to his death from the George Washington Bridge. The deceased, Donovan Dickson, was found dead the same day county detectives came to the school to conduct an investigation into allegations of sex between an unindentified Peddie School teacher and an underaged student.  Law enforcement has never confirmed that Dickson was the target of the investigation, but there have been no more allegations of misconduct by a teacher at Peddie since then, which certainly suggests that he was the suspect. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

 

Bergen Catholic High School

 

Bergen Catholic Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at Bergen Catholic High School

Bergen County, New Jersey

Founded: 1955

Location: Oradell, New Jersey

Grades: 9 through 12

Bergen Catholic High School is an all-male Roman Catholic high school that is under the supervision of the Archdiocese of Newark. As of 2014, the average enrollment was 745 students and 43 classroom teachers. The school is operated by the Christian Brothers religious order. 

21 alleged victims from this school came forward in 2016 with a lawsuit against Bergen Catholic High School.The alleged abuse occurred from 1963 to 1978 and encompassed several students and faculty.  A settlement was reached in November for 1.9 million dollars. According to media reports, one of the Christian Brothers at Bergen Catholic High School used to discipline boys by making them pull down their pants and underwear  while he beat them with a leather strap on their backsides. Another was feared because of the way he used to pin students to their desks and reach his hand down their pants.

According to our investigation, the following Christian Brothers accused of sexually abusing minors were assigned to Bergen Catholic at some point in their career:

  • Br. Richard Berryman
  • Br. John Chaney
  • Br. Francis Fish
  • Br. Thomas Cuthbert
  • Br. Ronald Alexius Howe
  • Br. Michael S. McElhatton
  • Br. Eugene McKenna
  • Br. Timothy O’Sullivan
  • Br. Jerome Shannon
  • Br. J.P. Siebert
  • Br. Gerald Waldron
  • Br. Donald Walsh

Additionally, another civil lawsuit was filed in 2018 against a former wrestling coach at Bergen Catholic High School for sending inappropriate and harassing text messages to a sophomore at the high school. The coach, David Bell, allegedly sent a student a string of over 90 text messages, including asking the teen of his whereabouts constantly, and telling him that he loved him. The text messages were verified by a forensic examiner and have since been shared on the internet. The victim says he was kicked off the wrestling team and was forced to file the lawsuit due to being unfairly treated. More plaintiffs also joined the case, and even an assistant coach was involved to offer evidence against Bell. The investigation is still ongoing.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

 

Don Bosco Preparatory School

 

Don Bosco Prep School Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at The Don Bosco Prep School

Bergen County, New Jersey

Founded: 1915

Location: Ramsey, New Jersey

Grades: 9 through 12

Don Bosco Preparatory High School is a private, all-boys Roman Catholic School founded in 1915 for Polish boys by the Salesians of Don Bosco. It currently has an enrollment of over 870 students and approximately 60 classroom teachers. 

Fr. Francis Nugent, s.d.b., who has been accused of sexually abusing of children, was assigned to Don Bosco Prep from 1974 to 1978.  In 1994, the Salesians were informed by an adult woman that two of her brothers were sexually abused by Nugent, which resulted in a lawsuit that was later settled. Nugent died in 2011 while residing in Italy.

Fr. Sean Leo Rooney was assigned to Don Bosco Prep from 1981 to 1983.  Rooney was the subject of a six-figure settlement in 2014 following a lawsuit by a man who was abused by Rooney at a junior seminary from 1979 to 1981, immediately before Rooney’s assignment to Don Bosco.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

 

Immaculate Heart Academy

Immaculate Heart Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at Immaculate Heart Academy

Bergen County, New Jersey

Founded:1960

Location: Township of Washington, New Jersey

Grades: 9 through 12

Originally founded in 1960, Immaculate Heart Academy was the first regional high school for girls in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. It is now an independent day school that educates high school level girls from 9th to 12th grade. It has an average enrollment of approximately 700 students and about 70 classroom teachers.

In 2003, sexual abuse allegations were made against a nun who was working at Immaculate Heart Academy. The victim alleged that Sister Linda Cusano raped her several times over her years of attending the academy. The victim was 17 at the time of the abuse and said the abuse occurred between September 1991 and May 1992. A civil lawsuit was filed against the school and Sister Linda Cusano. It eventually was settled. The ex-nun is now listed as being deceased.

In May 2012, a softball coach at Wood-Ridge High School in Bergen County was accused of having sex with an underage boy.  Coach Jillian Clementi was also a history teacher at Immaculate Heart Academy, but has since been suspended from the school due to the allegations. Clementi had been teaching at the school since 2008. She was later charged criminally with 2nd-degree sexual assault and 2nd-degree endangerment of the welfare of a child. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

 

St. Peter’s Preparatory School

St. Peter Prep Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at Saint Peter’s Preparatory School

Hudson County, New Jersey

Founded: 1872

Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Grades: 9 through 12

Saint Peter’s Preparatory School is a private all-male, Jesuit college preparatory school located in Hudson County. The school is made up of 72 faculty members, including 5 Jesuit priests. It has a student population of approximately 900 students per year.

In January 2019, a list of 50 Jesuit priests in the Northeast Province was published identifying those accused of child sexual abuse during their ministry.  10 of the priests worked in New Jersey at some point in their career. Nine out of those ten priests served at either Saint Peter’s Prep School, Saint Peter’s University or at Saint Peter’s Parish in Jersey City. Many of the priests have been the subject of civil lawsuits.  Some left the Jesuits, and some are now deceased. The list did not include details about the allegations, the number of victims, or the priests’ assignments at the time of the alleged abuse. 

Fr. Cornelius Carr was among those who were accused and served at Saint Peter’s Prep School from 1954 to 1959. A complaint was made in 2005, and alleged that he had been abusing multiple minors from 1989 to 1990. He was later removed from ministry and died in 2013.

Fr. Thomas Denny served at Saint Peter’s Prep from 1986 to 1992 and was listed as being accused in 2002 and 2012 of sexually abusing minors. He was removed from ministry in 2002.

Fr. Joseph Fitzpatrick served at Saint Peter’s Prep from 1967 to 1969 and was accused of abusing minors in the 1980s.  The allegations were found credible and he was removed from ministry in 2002.

Fr. Raymond Fullman was another name on the list, and he served at Saint Peter’s Prep from 1964 to 1965. In 2009, he was accused of sexual abuse of minors going all the way back to 1954. He has been listed as deceased as of 1987.

Fr. James Gould served at Saint Peter’s from 1969 to 1971, and was accused in 2011 of sexually abusing a minor. He admitted to the abuse and was later removed from ministry in 2012.

Fr. James Kuntz served in Jersey City from 1984 to 1988 and later moved to the university in 2004. He pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and was sentenced to prison in 2008 and left the Jesuits in 2012.

Fr. Eugene O’Brien was also included on the list and served at St. Peter’s Prep School from 1959 to 1960.  He was accused in 1993 of abuse of minors in the 1960’s. He admitted to the abuse and was removed from ministry in 2002.

Fr. Anthony Paone served at Saint Peter’s from 1939 to 1942 and he was accused in 2002 of abusing a minor in 1953. He is listed as deceased as of 1990.

Fr. William Scanlon served at Saint Peter’s University from 1974 to 1976 and was accused in 1994 of abusing minors. He admitted to the abuse and was restricted from ministry and later removed completely.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

 

Rutgers Preparatory School

Rutgers Prep Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at Rutgers Preparatory School

Franklin Township, New Jersey

Founded: 1766

Location: Somerset, New Jersey

Grades: Pre-K through 12

Established in 1766, Rutgers Preparatory School is a co-educational college prep school that is considered the oldest independent school in the state of New Jersey and 16th oldest in the country. In recent years, the school has been home to an average of 600 students and around 80 teachers annually.

In the early 1980s, teacher and swim coach Stanley Kops worked at Rutgers Preparatory School after allegations of abuse arose at his former job in New York. He was previously teaching at The Horace Mann School in The Bronx, New York. Rutgers Preparatory officials denied ever knowing about Kop’s history of abuse allegations at Horace Mann.  Kops worked at Rutgers Prep for a year before his contract was allowed to run out without renewal following allegations at Rutgers Prep.

Several students at Rutgers complained about inappropriate touching and sexual advances from Kops. Finally, according to media reports, one father who was active in the school community, demanded the school take action after Kops groped his 12- year old son. Kops resigned from his teaching position shortly thereafter.

Kops died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1985.  According to his obituary in the Princeton alumni magazine, Kops was enrolled in the New Brunswick Theological Seminary at the time of his death.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis. 

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.

The Morristown-Beard School

Morristown Beard School Horowitz Law

Sexual Abuse Allegations at The Morristown-Beard School

Morris County, New Jersey

Founded:1891

Location: Morristown, New Jersey

Grades: 6 through 12

Originally founded from two seperate schools, Morristown Beard School was established in 1891 as a coeducational private school. The two single-sex schools were named Beard School for Girls and Morristown School for Boys. The campus now has two academic units: Upper School (9-12) and a Middle School (6-8). It is home to a student population of approximately 600 students each year.

In January 2016, the parents of a teenage student alleged that a former teacher from the Morristown Beard School had an inappropriate relationship with their daughter while he was teaching at the school. The ex-teacher, Edward Sherman, was accused of starting the sexual relationship while the victim was in her senior year at the prep school and still a minor. Despite reports of the inappropriate encounters between the two, the school allegedly failed to report the incidents to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency as required by law. Sherman was even allowed to chaperone the girls’ senior trip to Greece together, according to media reports.

The victim’s parents sued the school for negligence for failing to take action against Sherman or to protect its student despite multiple reports. However, the case was dismissed purportedly because the victim failed to cooperate with the case. Despite being a minor at the time the abuse started, she has since turned 18 which means here parents can no longer maintain a lawsuit of her behalf.  

According to Sherman’s lawyer, Sherman and the girl have fled to Israel since the allegations became public.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and administrators in New Jersey private schools now have legal options to get justice and compensation, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our law firm offers free consultations and always works on a contingency basis. 

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your case today.