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Xaverian Brothers say 34 Catholic brothers accused of abuse include former Mount Saint Joseph staff

Xaverian Brothers say 34 Catholic brothers accused of abuse include former Mount Saint Joseph staff
The campus of Mount Saint Joseph High School in Southwest Baltimore. The Xaverian Brothers announced Friday that at least one former Mount Saint Joseph staff member was accused of sexually abusing a minor while assigned to the school. (Jerry Jackson)

The Baltimore-based Xaverian Brothers released Friday a list of 34 members who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

The list includes two men “with a credible or established offense against a minor” who are currently members of the religious order, according to documents released on the order’s website. The order also identified 18 other deceased or former Xaverian Brothers with a “credible or established offense.”

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Nine brothers identified by the order were at some point assigned to Mount Saint Joseph High School in Southwest Baltimore. One of the brothers, Joseph A. Cuthbert, C.F.X., has been credibly accused of sexual abuse during his tenure at Mount Saint Joseph during 1958-1961, the document stated. Cuthbert died in 1971.

School spokesperson Joseph Schuberth confirmed Friday afternoon that Cuthbert has been credibly accused of sexual abuse occurring during his tenure at the Baltimore school for boys.

The other eight individuals included on the Xaverian Brothers’ lists were involved in incidents that did not occur during their time at Mount Saint Joseph, Schuberth said.

Fourteen other deceased or former Xaverian Brothers were also identified. Those allegations “could not be fully investigated to determine credibility,” the document stated, but there is a “reasonable possibility” the alleged offense occurred, the document stated. Some reasons a full investigation would not be possible included that the allegation was brought forward after the death or departure of the brother or that historic information on the allegation is incomplete, the document stated.

“We understand that the information we are releasing today cannot undo the damage caused by some of our brothers, but we hope this confession, our repentance and our apology will provide some peace for survivors of abuse and allow our community to begin to heal," Brother Edward Driscoll, the order’s general superior, said in a statement. “We humbly ask forgiveness for this unspeakable violation of trust.”

Driscoll said that the order has added strong protections to prevent abuse and that allegations are reported to civil authorities. The order released the list of brothers to “ensure accountability.”

“Xaverian Brothers are educators. The crime of child abuse is in direct conflict with everything we stand for and believe," Driscoll wrote. “We will take every action necessary to ensure children are protected. And we will continue to make caring for survivors of abuse a central concern of our order.”

Although the Xaverian Brothers are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, the order is a separate entity and not part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The brothers are a worldwide consecrated lay order, inspired by their patron, St. Francis Xavier, that sponsors schools across the country, including Mount Saint Joseph High School.

The latest release from the brothers comes a year after the order removed Brother Robert Flaherty from ministry amid an investigation by the state’s attorney’s office for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor in the mid-1980s. Flaherty was a teacher at Mount Saint Joseph from 1972 to 1993 and from 2008 to 2010. Flaherty was not included in the July 12 list because the investigation into those accusations is ongoing.

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