DANVERS (CBS) – St. John’s Prep has put Brother Robert “Bob” Flaherty on leave following accusations of child sexual abuse.

The alleged abuse did not happen in Massachusetts, nor does it involve anyone else connected to the St John’s Prep community, but Flaherty has served in Danvers for many years – in the classroom, on the athletic fields, and during summer programs.

“The challenge when you’re in leadership is you have to celebrate the good things, but you also have to own the challenges,” said Headmaster Dr. Edward Hardiman.

Flaherty has been placed on leave and is no longer on campus. He’s been a computer science teacher and coach there for 16 years, but the alleged abuse is said to have occurred in the mid-80s in Baltimore, Maryland.

Read: Xaverian Brothers Baltimore Statement (.pdf)

“We were committed, as soon as we found out, to make sure that our community was aware of what’s happening and also to take the necessary steps to remove brother from his time and service here and working with the Xaverian Brothers,” said Dr. Hardiman.

The allegation has been reported to Baltimore Police and that state attorney is now investigating. School leaders will update parents when it is complete.

“What’s important for us is to be up front about what did happen, and continue our commitment to educating ourselves and educating our faculty about what’s out there to help us prevent this type of abuse and misconduct from happening moving forward,” Dr. Hardiman said.

St. John’s Prep is an all-boys Catholic high school and middle school, with approximately 1,500 students in grades 6-12. School staff works with the firm Praesidium which uses research based strategies to prevent abuse and enhance safety.

In a letter to parents Tuesday evening, the school provided resources for how to talk about this with students.

Juli McDonald


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