Contact: Patrick Noaker, Cell (612) 839-1080 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Sexual abuse lawsuit filed in Hudson County Superior Court involving sexual abuse at Marist High School in Bayonne, NJ by Brother Damian Victor a/k/a Br. Damian Galligan. John Doe HF is available for interview on the condition that he remain anonymous as John Doe HF.
According to a Complaint filed in Hudson County Superior Court, a former Marist High School student filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against Marist High School in Bayonne, N.J. and the Marist Brothers religious order for sexual abuse by teacher, Brother Damian Victor, from 1965 – 1967. Even though Br. Damian Victor/Galligan has been identified as a sexual abuser in later assignments (see below) this is the first lawsuit involving sexual abuse at Marist High School.
Br. Damian Victor is a religious Brother with the Marist Brothers who was given teaching assignments in New York/New Jersey, at Mount St. Michael Academy, Bronx, N.Y. (1953 – 1954), St. Joseph Academy, Laredo, Texas (1959 – 1964), Marist H. S., Bayonne, N.J. (1965 – 1967). Between 1967 and 1977, Br. Damian Victor changed his name to Br. Damian Galligan, and began teaching at Church of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady parish and school in Bronx N.Y. (1977 – 1987), where he continued to abuse children.
According to Doe HF’s Minneapolis-based attorney Patrick Noaker, “this case is an unfortunate example of how religious order priests and brothers can be quickly moved across the country when they are caught abusing children because a religious order does not have the same geographic boundaries as a diocese. This leaves students at the new locations completely unaware of the history of the sexual abuse. This is even more true here, where Br. Victor went so far as to change his name to avoid detection.”
Br. Victor/Galligan has been identified by at least three boys as a sexual abuser. In 2018, two boys filed sexual abuse lawsuits involving Br. Damian Victor/Galligan while he was assigned to the Church of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady, Bronx. In 2009, another man also filed a sexual abuse lawsuit involving Br. Victor/Galligan (See Elliot v Archdiocese of New York, https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1637981/elliott-v-the-marist-bros-of-the-schools-inc/ ) when he was a teacher at the Church of the Nativity of our Blessed Lady. In that case, Victor/Galligan admitted to sexually abusing the Plaintiff. The case ultimately resulted in a $2.4M verdict against Victor/Galligan (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2013/11_12/2013_11_18_OSullivan_DelawareJury.htm )
New York City-based Attorney Matthew Lombardi added “Br. Damian was very sophisticated when he groomed and ultimately sexually abused his victims. It is unfortunate that the Marist Brothers moved him from school-to-school, and even across the country in order to avoid public scrutiny. This put the students at these well-regarded Catholic prep schools at risk for abuse. In 2007, the Marists finally forced Br. Damian into the Vianney Treatment Center for pedophiles with no access to children, where the Marist Brothers should have put him years ago.” Br. Victor/Galligan resided at the Vianney Center in Dittmer, Missouri from 2007 through his death in 2015.
The case is filed under the New Jersey Child Victims Act, which allows survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits for damages, no matter when the abuse occurred. Idaho Attorney Craig Vernon, who also represents the man, reported that “This case is being filed under the New Jersey Child Victims Act, which opened the courtroom doors to victims of sexual abuse. This law is especially important in child sexual abuse cases where the victims are children who can’t understand the impact of the abuse until well into adulthood.”
Marist H.S. ceased operation earlier this year.