ORADELL, N.J. — A Catholic school in New Jersey has settled allegations of child sexual abuse for $1.9 million.
The agreement between Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell and 21 former students who said they were sexually abused by staff at the all-boys school between 1963 and 1978 was reached in November, but advocates for victims of sexual abuse held a news conference outside the school on Monday.
“These are Christ’s representatives on earth,” a former student, Peter Alrutz, was quoted by the Bergen County record as saying he was told when he attended the school in the early 1960s.
“You’re taught to do whatever they tell you. And then all of a sudden the people who are supposed to be protecting you are abusing you,” Alrutz said.
The attorney for the former students said that at the time of the alleged abuse between 1963 and 1978, his clients were between 13 and 17 years old. Now between 53 and 68, the former students said they had suffered abuse at the hands of members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, a Catholic order that runs the school
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian released a copy of the settlement in which the school did not admit any wrongdoing, guilt or liability. The school says the money does not “relate or correlate” to the merits of the allegations.
The former students, who are now 53 to 68 years old, will receive from $65,000 to $115,000.
According to a report in The Record, payments are to be disbursed by early December, with each award. An arbitrator is to decide how much each alleged victim will receive by weighing “the nature of the abuse suffered,” “the duration and frequency of the abuse,” “the extent of injuries suffered” and “whether the claim is within the New Jersey statute of limitations.”