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Norwich diocese faces lawsuits claiming sex abuse at school

HARTFORD — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut, is facing 20 lawsuits stemming from allegations of sexual abuse during the 1990s at a residential boarding school for minors.

Attorney Patrick Tomasiewicz filed the lawsuits this week, claiming teenage students at The Academy at Mount St. John in Deep River were sexually abused by two now-deceased brothers.

The lawsuits say that the victims were between 13 and 15 years old and that the abuse occurred between 1990 and 1996.

Minors used to be referred to the treatment facility by the state Department of Children and Families and juvenile courts. It has since become an academy for students with special needs. It’s still overseen by the diocese.

All of the complaints state that certain staff and/or the executive director were known pedophiles, sexual predators and perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse”.

The complaints each detail explicitly horrifying accounts of challenged children ranging in the ages of 11 through 15 suffering incredible pressure to participate in sexual acts with the school’s religious leaders. The lawsuits center around two school directors, Brother Paul McGlade and Brother Donald Paschal Alford who are now deceased.

One 14-year-old boy was sexually abused in his home life prior to being placed in the boarding school by DCF. According to the civil complaint, Brother McGlade instructed the boy that he had to demonstrate what happened to him at home, saying “You need to show me what he was doing. I need to put myself in that position”

The boy was then sexually assaulted.

The suit says the same boy had got into a fight at the school and was then instructed to go to Brother McGlade’s quarters. As punishment, the two then went to the chapel and prayed. Following that, the lawsuit says they went to a room in the back of the chapel that had a bed in it.

There, the Brother then told the boy “you need to let me do something and I can get you out of this.”

The lawsuit alleges The boy was then told to lie face down on the bed where he was raped.

Many of the complaints detail incidents of boys reporting the incidents and attacks to school staff, each time, they were talked out of the complaint. As with many child victims of sexual assault, many of the victims in these cases have had troubling lives since.

After reading the complaints filed, all have very similar details of coercion and threats through fear of God, parental discipline, school discipline and embarrassment.

It’s important to mention that DCF is not mentioned as a complainant in the suit. The main suspects are deceased, so criminal charges were not sought. The school now goes by the name of the Connecticut Transition Academy in Deep River.

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