Fourth Alleged Victim Sues TX Jesuit Prep

News: US News
by Anita Carey  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 28, 2019   

Lawsuit seeks to expose system that enabled nine predator priests

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DALLAS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A fourth man is suing a Texas Jesuit high school in the hopes of ending the Church's cover-up of abuse and "to maintain the integrity of the Church."

Believing his silence was contributing to the Church's cover-up of clerical sex abuse, a former Jesuit College Preparatory School (Jesuit Prep) student has joined a lawsuit that is demanding a jury trial to expose the system that enabled his abuse.

Filed under the pseudonym "Richard Roe," the suit alleges that Fr. Peter Callery, a former teacher and wrestling coach at Jesuit Prep in Dallas "still has access to young boys." Roe alleges that Fr. Callery assaulted him in a hotel room they shared during an out-of-town wrestling tournament.

Roe alleges that Fr. Callery assaulted him in a hotel room.

Roe also accuses Fr. Patrick Koch, then president of Jesuit Prep, of assaulting him in the confessional.

"With everything that had gone on in the Church, I really started to feel my silence was making me complicit in the cover-up of sex abuse," Roe told The Dallas Morning News. "There has never been an honest resolution that solved the problem."

Father Callery is currently living at the Jesuit's Manresa House of Retreats, in Convent, Louisiana and is listed as an associate director at Manresa.

The Dallas Morning News uncovered evidence that, despite Manresa's claim that it is reserved only for adults, high school students from multiple Catholic schools send students there. Students at Jesuit AMDG in New Orleans attend a day-long silent retreat during their sophomore year, and St. Charles High School students attend a day of prayer at the Jesuit retreat house.

After first denying that students attended retreats at Manresa, Therese Meyerhoff, spokeswoman for the Jesuits of the U.S. Central and Southern Province, told Dallas Morning News, "These groups are always accompanied by chaperones."

Meyerhoff declined to comment about the specific allegations against Fr. Callery but did say, "I want to be clear that the province has never before received an allegation against Fr. Peter Callery."

In response to Church Militant's query, she responded in an email, "In accordance with province policies, until this matter is resolved, Fr. Callery will not engage in public ministry."

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Roe decided to file suit after other Jesuit Prep students came forward, joining another lawsuit filed in August by a former student who used the pseudonym "John Doe."
In September, after Koch's family began a campaign to clear his name, Doe revealed his identity as Mike Pedevilla to prevent Koch's name from being cleared and to live up to the Jesuit Prep motto, which is to be "men for others."

"That was the primary reason for coming even forward, originally under John Doe, was, I was not going to let him get his name cleared," Pedevilla said.

Speaking to The Dallas Morning News, he explained:

I am going to be a man for others, again, for the voices that can't stand up for themselves, but also for the voices yet to even walk through the doors of Jesuit, and in a bigger way, the Diocese of Dallas. Because it's in that vein that I want to make the change.

Pedevilla alleges in his suit that he was molested by Koch in his office when he was a sophomore but explained that the grooming began within the first year he attended school.

Pedevilla's suit names eight Jesuit priests who worked at the school that have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Roe's allegation against Fr. Callery brings that number to nine.

In addition to Koch, the lawsuit names Thomas Naughton, Don Dickerson, Vincent Malatesta, Vincent Orlando, Claude Ory, Ben Smylie and Thomas Haller. Dickerson was accused in a lawsuit filed in March of plying a minor with alcohol before raping him.

Both Pedevilla and Doe hope the courts will put an end to the "systemic cover-up."

"Through discovery, this lawsuit will expose what the School and the Diocese knew — answers which to this point have been hidden from the public and John Doe," the suit states.

He let me know he had complete control over my future.

Roe's suit outlines allegations against both Fr. Callery during his sophomore year and Koch during his senior year.

Explaining he was athletic but small for his age, he joined the wrestling team Fr. Callery coached. Roe said Fr. Callery would alternate from being extremely complimentary to being enraged.

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Fr. Peter Callery

"After one tournament, he was so irate at me after I lost a match he pulled me into a side room and just went after me," Roe said. "I was just crying and crying and crying, and then he would build me up."

When Roe was 15 years old, he qualified for a wrestling championship in El Paso, and he was told by Fr. Callery that they had to share a hotel room. During the trip, he and a friend snuck down to play video games in the hotel bar.

The night following the tournament, Fr. Callery, disappointed by Roe's losses, sexually assaulted him while he was sleeping. Roe attempted to struggle and escape, but Callery was bigger and he couldn't fend off the assault.

He used the video game incident against Roe, telling him he would be expelled from school when they got home: The priest promised that if the boy wouldn't speak out about the sexual assault, he would consider not informing the school about the video games.

He "let me know he had complete control over my future," Roe said. "I became grateful to him, as time went by, that I hadn't been expelled." Roe never told anyone, including his parents, about the assault.

Roe explained he has "fond memories" of his time at Jesuit Prep and of his classmates: "I have made a distinction between the Catholic Church — which is its people and the sacraments — and the institutions and the hierarchy of the Church."

"The church is the people I sit next to on Sunday," he added. "They are innocent. They have done nothing wrong. In order to maintain the integrity of the church, something has to be done."

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