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Iona Prep President Calls Accusations Of Sexual Abuse By Former Faculty Members Disturbing

Iona Prep
Iona Prep Photo Credit: Iona Prep/Facebook

News reports of several well-known Christian Brothers as being part of a sexual abuse scandal are not new claims, according to the president of Iona Prep.

The reports included information that Brother Robert Pavlica, Brother John Justin O’Connor and Brother Charles Irwin of Iona Prep and Brother Michael John of the Blessed Sacrament High School abused students at both schools.

"In fact, these claims are not new," said Brother Thomas R. Leto, president of Iona Prep. "They were among claims filed as part of the Chapter 11 reorganization of two Christian Brother corporations in 2011."

The allegations involve Christian Brothers serving at schools other than Iona Prep, with the exception of the allegation against Robert Pavlica, which dates back to 1968, he added.

The school said the allegations made against O’Connor and Irwin involve schools other than Iona Prep.

Pavlica, who died in 2007, is famous among academics as being the creator of the Authentic Science Research Program, the model used for science research programs in New York and across the country.

"Like you, I find these allegations deeply disturbing and upsetting, no matter how long ago they were made, and no matter when or where they were alleged to have occurred," Leto added.

After leaving the Irish Christian Brothers, Pavlica went on to teach science at Byram Hills High School in Armonk in 1970. While there he created the program and it was named in his honor. The school has little to say about the matter or what would be done with the name of the program, said

Leto said that Iona Prep, like other Catholic high schools, has implemented protocols and procedures that are aimed at preventing abuse and misconduct of any kind.

"The Iona Preparatory Administration is deeply committed to creating and maintaining an environment that protects and safeguards all our students," he said. "Our policies apply to all religious, laity, volunteers and others who work or serve at Iona Prep.

"Our child protection policy is aimed at preventing child abuse and responding swiftly and openly if misconduct is reported. Accused individuals are immediately removed from their ministry and/or position, followed by an independent investigation and full disclosure and cooperation with the appropriate authorities, to ensure complete transparency and objectivity."

Since the start of the suit, more than 430 people have come forward claiming abuse by the Brothers.

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