Both Cheverus High School in Portland and Scranton Prep in Pennsylvania, two relatively obscure Jesuit schools, served to house predatory men, as many as five at a time. When the Jesuits published the names, I knew several, including some who had been guests at my home.

Bill Nemitz illustrates this point in his Jan. 20 column, “Dangerous times at Cheverus High.” Indeed, the men of the class of 1979 would have been easy targets. Back in the day, I was a target, too, but somehow avoided such a fate.

When the grand jury impaneled by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office released the data on clergy abuse in the Catholic Church, I found the name that had been missing from the website As the grand jury’s report states, the Rev. Joseph F. Houston and “a minor female” – my sister – were seen leaving a motel late at night on several occasions in 1971, as reported to Bishop J. Carroll McCormick.

The common thread is of crimes committed and then covered up, followed by heartfelt apologies and prayers. Another priest, Francis Kulig, taught me at Bishop Hannan High School in Scranton the same year he admitted to molesting a 12-year-old boy. Al Liberatore, a classmate from Bishop Hannan and a rising star of the Scranton Diocese, pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges, and the church paid a $3 million settlement.

To the alumni of Cheverus who have found themselves reliving their trauma: I’m sorry. You aren’t alone, whether you have shared your story or not. The simple truth is that places like Cheverus and Scranton Prep were used to house problem priests away, and more innocent lives were destroyed. The church failed and continues to fail. The motto of Cheverus – “To the greater glory of God” – rings false.

Rachel Powers

South Portland

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