SEXUAL ABUSE Reported At Rhode Island Catholic School

Credit: Morgue File

A 15-page report has been released apologizing to victims of sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic boarding school, Portsmouth Abbey School.

Father Bede Gorman and Father Geoffrey Chase abused their victims between 1959 and the early 1980s, according to the report.

The letter from leaders from the school stated that their “hearts break” for the victims. 

“We stand by those who were wronged, and are committed to helping past victims, providing therapy for them as needed. Our hearts break for these victims and their families. Their trust and faith in the sacred mission of Portsmouth was violated,” it reads.

“On behalf of the Portsmouth Abbey School and Monastery, we apologize. And we honor and thank the survivors of sexual abuse who came forward. By sharing your stories, you have helped ensure that the past will not be repeated; the Portsmouth community is deeply in your debt,” it added.

The report went on to further state that Gorman died in 1985 and Chase, who left the school in 2002, is in his 80s and very sick.

Abbot Caedmon Holme, who is chancellor of the school resigned last year suddenly. This sparked the school to hire a law firm to investigate. 

The firm found he did nothing illegal, but responses to the report brought forward  allegations against two other monks, who had already been accused of abuse.

Allegations of corporal punishment in the 1960s and 1970s have also been reported. The letter stated the punishment were not uncommon, but were unacceptable. 

“While not uncommon at the time, this form of discipline is entirely unacceptable today and would not be tolerated. We recognize that some alumni still carry emotional scars from these punishments. To them and to others who came forward and shared difficult experiences, we also offer the School and Monastery’s sincere apology,” said the leaders through the letter.

Gorman’s and Chase’s names have been removed from “any school honorarium”.

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