Today’s news:

Prep grad identified in sex suit vs. school

A former St. Francis Prep student is one three plaintiffs in a $17 million sex-abuse lawsuit against the school.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A St. Francis Preparatory School graduate has revealed her name to the public in the midst of a $17 million sexual abuse lawsuit against her former school.

Felicia Mooradian, 21, graduated from the Fresh Meadows school in 2009 and had kept her identity private since accusing a Franciscan brother at the school of sexual harassment in Brooklyn federal court in June. She revealed her name to the New York Post over the weekend, saying she wanted to be the face for other victims to come forward.

“It should be called St. Francis ‘Predatory’ School,” she told the Post. “The Christian thing would be to admit your mistakes, not hide them.”

Attorneys on the school’s side contended from the beginning that she had no legal reasons to remain anonymous. She had previously been referred to in court documents only as Jane Doe.

She, another former student and a former teacher filed the suit against St. Francis Prep, Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn and various members of the school’s board of trustees.

“While it is true that in certain circumstances, the interests of justice are better served by anonymity, that is not so under these circumstances,” said Philip Semprevivo Jr., who represents St. Francis Prep and the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, in a letter to the judge. “Jane Doe’s right to privacy does not outweigh the customary presumption of openness in judicial proceedings, especially in light of the fact that upon information and belief, she made public statements about this case on the Internet.”

According to her civil suit, Mooradian said the problem began at age 14 during her 2006 freshman year at the school, when longtime Spanish teacher, Brother Ben O’Reilly, 69, allegedly started flirting with her in class. The student said she reported these incidents to the school, and the lawsuit showed O’Reilly, who was 62 at the time, was subsequently evaluated by a psychologist and found unfit to work with children. He was not removed from the school, however.

The school denied the suit’s accusations, Semprevivo said in a letter to Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Sterling Johnson.

The two other plaintiffs in the suit, former student Mark Evangelista and former teacher Elizabeth Cucinotta Sorvilla, used their real names in the initial court filings.

The case also included accusations from Evangelista that the school ignored claims of sexual abuse by Assistant Football Coach Robert Stenger.

The lawsuit said Evangelista initially refrained from filing any lawsuit against the school because he had not heard of complaints that Stenger was accused of physically assaulting or sexually abusing innocent boys prior to his own alleged physical assault.

Sorvillo’s role in the case centered around a website she launched to help students vent class troubles with school staffers, known as “Burn and Rot in Hell,” on which she allegedly collected countless complaints about teachers there.

The school only demanded she take the site down once complaints about inappropriate conduct started surfacing there, according to court documents.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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Reader Feedback

Lou from Bayside says:
A fine catholic education for all the cafones that don't want their kids going to school with Asians and blacks. St Francis prep seems to be spiraling out of control!
Sept. 26, 2013, 2:57 pm
A. Resident from Whitestone says:
Centola, at least they don't have a problem, like Whitestones video perv taping kids on the bus coming home from school. Right, Al
Sept. 26, 2013, 4:20 pm
Judy Jones says:
It takes a lot of courage to come forward and take action to expose the truth about being sexually abused, and it is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many. Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever. So let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Br Ben O’Reilly and/or Robert Stenger or anyone at St. Francis Preparatory School, will find the courage and strength to speak up and contact law enforcement, no matter how long ago it happened. Do not report your abuse to the church or school officials, they are not the proper officials to be investigating child sex crimes.

Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
"SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
Sept. 26, 2013, 8 pm
Jane S. from Bayside says:
I think the way the young lady has been treated is disgraceful. How could they allow someone who was found unfit to work with children to continue living in the building? I am glad she decided to go public. My prayers are with her. I would hope those responsible for this would resign promptly.
Sept. 27, 2013, 11:40 pm
Mary C. from Woodside says:
I am extremely disappointed in what used to be a fine school. I hope that anyone who has been hurt by a teacher at St. Francis Prep has the courage to come forward and seek justice, and that those in charge have the decency to resign.
Sept. 29, 2013, 11:43 pm
Tony from Flushing says:
St. Francis Prep has really taken a turn for the worse in the past decade. The behavior and academics have taken a hit as the school still will accept anyone to keep their enrollment numbers high.
Nov. 10, 2013, 1:13 am

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