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Back-to-school legal troubles at 2 Catholic high schools

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This wasn’t a good-news month at two Catholic high schools in Bergen County.

Without admitting wrongdoing, officials of Bergen Catholic High School agreed to pay $1.9 million to 21 former students who alleged sexual abuse decades ago.  And Paramus Catholic High School was knocked down in court on its plea to deny a hearing to a teacher who was fired because she is in a same-sex marriage.

Mitchell Garabedian, attorney for seven people in the Bergen Catholic suit, said that between 1963 and 1978 students were subjected to routine sexual abuse by some of the Christian Brothers in charge of the school.  The students were between 13 and 17 years old at the time, he said, and had been taught to do whatever the brothers instructed, no matter how they felt about it.

The victims recalled being told to pull down their pants so they could be whipped with leather straps or pinched and groped by some instructors.  Others said they were punched or beaten for minor offenses, while some complained not about touching of any sort but having to remove their underwear to allow brothers simply to stare at them.

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The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

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