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#84223 - 05/03/02 11:33 PM not just priest, but everywhere (overwhelming)
orodo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
Today's Stories
For Friday, May 3, 2002
These are some of the stories you will find in the most recent issue of the Journal Tribune. These will be updated each day, Monday through Friday, by 6 p.m. Saturday's stories will be updated by 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Previous 5 Days Stories


Scandal touches St. James School
Teacher resigns after N.J. allegation

From staff and wire reports

BIDDEFORD - A teacher at St. James School has resigned after administrators confronted him about allegations of sexual abuse while he was a teacher's aide at a New Jersey boarding school 30 years ago.

William Sargent of Kennebunk, who had been teaching seventh grade since last fall, resigned Monday after being apprised of a New York Times article about sexual abuse allegations at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J., said Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

St. James School front office workers directed all questions to the Chancellery in Portland.

The April 16 article said a dozen alumni from the 1960s to 1980s described a pattern of sex abuse at the New Jersey school by staff members, including Sargent. A former student was quoted as saying Sargent abused him in the 1970s.

Bernard said Sargent resigned immediately Monday afternoon after being shown the article. Sargent could not be reached for comment.

On Tuesday, the Rev. Renald Labarre, who oversees the school as pastor of St. Joseph Church, sent parents a two-sentence letter saying Sargent had resigned and been replaced by another teacher.

Labarre was overseeing funeral services this morning, and could not be contacted.

Brian Denger of Biddeford, whose daughter Rachel had Sargent as an English teacher, said he didn't know about the allegations against Sargent until two days after Labarre sent home the letter.

"I guess I am shocked, but not surprised, given what's happening with the Catholic church these days," Denger said.

Another parent, Christopher Robinson, said the first he heard about Sargent's resignation was on a television news broadcast Thursday night.

"There hasn't been any communication to parents about that yet," Robinson said.

Bernard said the diocese would send another notice today to parents of St. James students with more details of Sargent's resignation "so they can talk to their children if they deem it necessary."

Over 430 students in grades kindergarten through eighth attend Biddeford's only parochial grammar school.

Bernard said the school has notified the state Department of Human Services and York County District Attorney Michael Cantara about Sargent's resignation and the reasons surrounding it.

"We have given the information to them in case they need it," Bernard said.

Return to This Date's Local News Index

_________________________
It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

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#84224 - 05/04/02 12:28 AM Re: not just priest, but everywhere (overwhelming)
orodo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
This gives more detail...

Friday, May 3, 2002

Teacher quits St. James post


By TED COHEN, Portland Press Herald Writer

Copyright 2002 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

BIDDEFORD A teacher at St. James School resigned this week after school administrators confronted him with a recent New York Times story about allegations of sexual abuse at a New Jersey school where he was once a teacher's aide, officials said Thursday. William Sargent of Kennebunk, who had been teaching seventh grade here since last fall, stepped down on Monday "after being apprised of the newspaper article," said Sue Bernard, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

The diocese "is not aware of any reports of misconduct during his tenure at St. James," Bernard said.

Sargent couldn't be reached for comment Thursday night.

Bernard said school officials received a copy of the Times article in the mail from an unknown source a week ago today.

A story April 16 in the Times detailed a history of alleged abuse of students by nine staff members at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J.

The Times said that a dozen alumni from the 1960s to 1980s described a pattern of sex abuse at the nonsectarian boarding school by staff members, including Sargent.

Bythema Bagley, the school's headmaster, declined immediate comment when reached at her home in Princeton Thursday night. She referred questions to another school official, Donald Edwards, who couldn't be reached.

The Times article quoted Robert Byrens, a star soloist for American Boychoir School who once sang for Pope Paul VI. Byrens said he joined the choir in 1972, and was given a private room near Sargent's, according to the Times.

Byrens was quoted as saying that Sargent invited him to sleep one night on his foldout couch and began abusing him after he fell asleep. The Times reported that "Mr. Sargent then became a constant presence, . . . often taking the boy away from his friends for sex. When he tried to stop him, Mr. Byrens said, the teacher's aide wept and threatened to flunk him."

The paper said the American Boychoir School has been a target of a number of lawsuits stemming from claims of sexual abuse of students. There is no indication that Byrens was among those who sued.

Bernard said Sargent "was shown the article" Monday afternoon. "Then he offered to resign." His resignation was immediate.

On Tuesday, the Rev. Renald Labarre, who oversees the school as pastor of St. Joseph Church, sent parents a two-sentence letter saying Sargent had resigned and been replaced by Gordon Workman.

Brian Denger of Biddeford, whose daughter Rachel had Sargent as an English teacher, said he didn't know about the allegations against Sargent until he was asked Thursday night to comment for this story.

"I guess I am shocked, but not surprised, given what's happening with the Catholic Church these days," Denger said, explaining the conflicting emotions upon hearing of the alleged problems with Sargent.

"The question my wife and I had when we received the letter from Father Labarre is why they would let a man out of a contract so quickly." Now, he said, he understands.

Rachel Denger, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, said Sargent "was an OK teacher. He made us read lots of stories."

Her father said Sargent apparently lived in England for awhile and often told the students about life in England versus life in the United States.

Bernard said the diocese would send another, more-detailed notice home today to parents of St. James students "so they can talk to their children if they deem it necessary."

Chauda Labbe, chairman of the St. James board, declined comment Thursday night, referring questions to the diocese.

Bernard said officials with the state Department of Human Services and York County District Attorney Michael Cantara have been notified of Sargent's resignation and the reasons surrounding it. "We have given the information to them in case they need it," Bernard said.


Staff Writer Ted Cohen can be contacted at 282-8225 or at:

tcohen@pressherald.com

_________________________
It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

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