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Catholic brother accused of abuse barred from ministry

August 22, 2018

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Roman Catholic brother accused of sexually abusing a youngster decades ago in Maryland has been barred from his religious order’s ministry and placed on administrative leave from a teaching job in Massachusetts while authorities investigate, officials said Wednesday.

The Xaverian Brothers, a lay religious order headquartered in Baltimore that sponsors about a dozen schools across the United States, has identified the accused man as Brother Robert Flaherty. They say Baltimore police recently informed them that Flaherty is being investigated for an allegation of sex abuse from the mid-1980s, a time that coincides with his tenure teaching at an all-boys Catholic school in Baltimore.

Flaherty worked at Baltimore’s Mount St. Joseph preparatory high school from 1980 to 1993, and again from 2008 to 2010, according to the religious order.

Brother Edward Driscoll, general superior of the religious order, said the Xaverian Brothers were cooperating fully with investigators from the State’s Attorney’s Office in Baltimore. He said they have removed Flaherty from ministry pending the investigation’s outcome.

Flaherty, who joined the Xaverians in 1979, has also been placed on administrative leave from his teaching job at an all-boys Catholic school in Massachusetts while Maryland authorities investigate the allegations. St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers announced Tuesday that Flaherty has been told to stay away from the campus.

Headmaster Edward Hardiman said in a statement there are no allegations of misconduct by Flaherty involving St. John’s students.

Flaherty has worked for years as a computer science teacher at the all-boys school in Massachusetts. He also previously taught at St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

Flaherty did not respond to an email for comment and it was not clear if he has a lawyer.

Melba Saunders, spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office in Baltimore, on Wednesday declined comment on the “open and pending matter.”

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Associated Press reporter Mark Pratt contributed to this report from Boston.

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