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2 Former Students Accuse Priest of Molestation

Nov 19, 2003 | AP

Two former students of a Roman Catholic school have filed suit against a priest who taught there and the school's religious order, alleging he abused them.

The unidentified men are 24 now but were 13 when the Rev. Terence O'Donnell is accused of molesting them at Mary Help of Christians Catholic School, according to court records.

The former boarding school, now a 120-student coed middle school, is owned by the Salesians of Don Bosco, a worldwide Roman Catholic order with U.S. headquarters in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The lawsuit filed Monday seeks more than $15,000 in damages and alleges a conspiracy and negligence on the church's part for knowing about but failing to act upon O'Donnell's "pedophile impulses and behavior."

O'Donnell was a dormitory monitor and teacher at the school in the early 1990s, records show. After the boys' parents reported the alleged abuse to the school, he was reassigned to the Salesian Boys and Girls Club in Boston and the Salesian Provincial House in New Rochelle.

The religious order issued a statement saying O'Donnell has been removed from public ministry pending review of the allegations by a provincial board.

The office said O'Donnell was investigated in 1993 by state child-protection workers for the same allegations and no charges were filed.

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