Just over two weeks after reaching out to more than 1600 students who attended about allegations of sexual abuse at the school, the order which runs the Creve Coeur school announced Monday that it believed those allegations to be credible.
In a statement, Reverend Martin Solma, a Marianist Provincial, said he met recently with a former Chaminade student from the 1970s to discuss the allegations. That man also asked that the order contact students who attended the school at the same time as the two fomer teachers, both of whom are now deceased. Solma's statement said 15 alums reported "experiencing or witnessing abusive behavior, sexual as well as other abusive behavors."
One of those accused died in 1990, the other left the Marianist order in 1977 and has also died, according to the statement.
"Sexual abuse is a grave evil, and we grieve the pain and suffering of those who have been harmed by any Marianist brother or priest. We are committed to the safety of those we serve and work to prevent any type of abuse in the ministries we sponsor," Rev. Solma said. He added that there are policies in place to lay out consequences for such behavior and that support services are available for victims.
The statement does not identify the specifics which led to the determination that the allegations were credible, but said it was based on the meeting with the accuser, along with some 75 responses to the order's letter to alumni.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) was critical of the Marianist reponse Monday night, saying the order knew of credible allegations against one of the men for years but kept silent.
"We're disappointed school and Catholic officials aren't prodding victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact police," SNAP Director David Clohessy said via email to Patch Monday night.