DANVERS — Twelve men who were at one time associated with St. John's Preparatory School are on a list released Friday of current or former Xaverian Brothers members with "a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them."
The Xaverian Brothers, a Baltimore-based Roman Catholic order that sponsors 13 schools including St. John's Prep, released 34 names, dating back decades. The 12 associated with St. John's Prep were in Danvers at some point between 1922 and 1978.
Among them is Thomas Morrissey, also known as Brother Gabriel, who worked at the school from 1965 to 1967. Morrissey is listed as a current Xaverian Brother "with a credible or established offense against a minor" and has been "placed on a safety plan with no contact with minors," according to the order.
Safety plans are described as "restrictions on behavior, including the use of technology, travel, and access by visitors."
The allegations of abuse and attempted abuse against Morrissey were first reported in 2002 and date back to his time at both St. John's Prep and at the Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, where he worked from 1967 to 1979.
“We understand that the information we are releasing today cannot undo the damage caused by some of our brothers, but we hope this confession, our repentance and our apology will provide some peace for survivors of abuse and allow our community to begin to heal," said General Superior Brother Edward Driscoll, in a letter provided by the Xaverian Brothers. "We humbly ask forgiveness for this unspeakable violation of trust.”
Morrissey, who joined the congregation in 1959, no longer lives locally. He "performed supervised office work" from 2002 to 2012 and before that had worked at the Xaverian Brothers Generalate in Baltimore.
In a letter to parents and the community Friday, St. John's Prep Headmaster Edward P. Hardiman addressed the list as well as two more recent allegations, one of whom was never charged with a crime and another whose allegations were unrelated to the school.
"As a school community, we humbly acknowledge the pain this information may cause for victims of abuse as well as for the larger Prep community as we continue to grapple with feelings of betrayal, anger, and grief about the suffering of victims of sexual abuse and the cover-up by members of the church hierarchy, clergy, and religious orders," Hardiman said in the letter. "We are grateful for the transparency and efforts to promote healing by the Xaverian Brothers."
Of the 12 brothers named, 10 are dead, and seven have allegations related to their time at the school, according to Hardiman's letter.
Morrissey is the only living, current brother on the list with a credible allegation of abuse during his time St. John's Prep.
The list, Hardiman said, was developed through the work of an outside investigator, who reviewed all Xaverian personnel files since the early 1900s.
Hardiman also addressed allegations of abuse by two other brothers who were not on the list.
In December 2003, the school "received an allegation of conduct violating professional boundaries" involving Brother George Donnelly dating back to 1993. The matter was reported to law enforcement and church officials, and Donnelly was not charged. The school informed parents and alumni of the allegation. A social studies teacher, school counselor and director of student activities, Donnelly served at the school from 1984 until his resignation in December 2003.
Also not on the list is Brother Robert Flaherty, a computer science teacher at the school from 1999 to 2007 and again from 2010 until August 2018. He also coached football and worked in a summer camp program.
"The reported abuse involving Brother Flaherty occurred in the 1980s," Hardiman said. "It did not involve anyone connected with the Prep or relate in any manner to his time here."
Hardiman said the matter is still under investigation by the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office. The school notified the Prep community when it was notified in August 2018.
Other brothers named
Of deceased or former brothers for whom there is a credible allegation, George Gardiner, whose religious name was Brother Barton, served at the school in 1958. The abuse, reported in 2013, allegedly took place at a Maryland summer camp in the mid-1960s.
Of those who have died whose allegations relate to the Prep, the list includes William Burns, who went by Brother Francis Jerome, and who died in 1974. Burns was at the school from 1932 to 1933, 1951 to 1953 and 1961. The alleged abuse took place in the 1950s and 1970s in Shrewsbury, Danvers, Malden, and Brooklyn, New York. The allegations were reported in 2003.
Thomas Harrison, who went by Brother Bosco and who the school lists as deceased, was associated with St. John's Prep from 1949 to 1956. The allegation of abuse, related to his service at the school, was reported in 2009 and dates back to the late 1950s.
The late Albert Kerressey, known as Brother Ricardo, died in 1997. Allegations of abuse were first reported in 1994, and they date back to the mid-to-late 1960s. He served at St. John's Prep from 1942 to 1945, and again from 1965 to 1971.
Five brothers who have since died are listed under a category for whom there is an allegation "but the individual is deceased and there is no way to investigate, but it is reasonable to assume the allegation is credible."
Of these brothers, two have allegations that relate to service at the school. John J. Sullivan, known as Brother John Augustine, had an allegation of abuse that was reported in 2002 dating back to 1938. Sullivan died in 1939. Thomas Holihan, known as Brother Rudolph, who served at the school from 1959 to 1991. The alleged abuse took place in the early 1960s and was reported in 2004. Holihan died in 1991.
Others in this category, but whose allegations do not relate to St. John's Prep, are Francis Dailey, who was known as Brother Cosmas and who served the school from 1922 to 1923 and again from 1948 to 1953. The allegations of abuse, reported in 1999, were unrelated to students in Xaverian schools and date back to 1951 to 1955 when he was retired and in Danvers. Dailey died in 1961.
Francis E. Dolan, Brother Fabian, served on the facility staff of St. John's Prep from 1965 to 1972, but the allegation against him dates back to 1945 in Baltimore and was reported in 1995. Dolan died in 1975.
Also on the list is Leroy Lamont, known as Brother Jerome, who worked in the Xaverian Brothers Auxiliary Office in Danvers from 1968 to 1978. The allegation against him was from a summer camp in New Hampshire in the late 1960s, which was reported in 2002. Lamont died in 1987.
Hardiman said the school remains "committed to transparency and to providing a safe environment for young people" and urged those who are aware of abuse by a Xaverian Brother or a member of the school's community to contact authorities, the headmaster or the Xaverian Brothers.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews.