New York, Special Reports

Haitian-American Sues Cardinal Hayes High School, Alleging Catholic Priest Abused Him In 1980s

Lawyer Patrick Noaker speaking in front of a New York City courthouse with sexual abuse survivors last month. (Credit: Jonathan Greig)

He was just 15 when husky friar Brother John Justin O’Connor angrily forced him to come to his office for showing up to school late one morning in 1986. 

O’Connor proceeded to stuff his hand down the 15-year-old’s pants and fondled him, setting off a lifetime of anxiety, depression and alcoholism.

“I was stunned by it because when you grew up in the Catholic religion, you respect the priest,” said TC, a Haitian-American New Yorker who filed a lawsuit against Cardinal Hayes High School and the Archdiocese of New York two weeks ago. 

“In Haitian culture, you just have that respect for everyone so I was taken aback and stunned. I pushed his hand away and said, ‘What are you doing?’” 

He spoke to The Haitian Times on condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation from the church and backlash from his community.

TC said because of what he went through with O’Connor, he has spent decades suffering from anxiety and depression. He has been wracked with guilt over what happened to him and many of his romantic relationships have suffered because of it.

“It affects you mentally, it really does. So sometimes you get depressed, anxiety. And internally, you try to deal with it the best you can. I’m sure a lot of survivors have dealt with this,” TC said.


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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a journalist based in New York City working as a contributing writer for CBS Interactive. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.
Jonathan Greig
Sep. 29, 2019