January 08, 2005

Cheverus president will resign

Portland Press Herald

By JOSHUA L. WEINSTEIN, Portland Press Herald Writer

The job description was unappealing: Fix a school that was a million dollars in debt, had tumbling enrollment and was in serious need of renovation.

The Rev. John Keegan took the job.

In the dozen years since the Jesuit priest became president of Cheverus High School for the second time, enrollment has more than doubled, the endowment has gone from $1.3 million to more than $2.5 million and, for the first time, the school has recorded a modest surplus.

Keegan, who officials announced Wednesday will resign at the end of this academic year, also presided over Cheverus' transition from an all-boys school to a coeducational one and a capital campaign that acquired three acres. Keegan first served as the school's president from 1980 to 1983. ...

The Rev. James Talbot, a teacher and soccer coach, was accused of sexually abusing several students at Boston College High School in the 1970s before his transfer to Cheverus and was removed from the priesthood in 1998 after being accused of sexually abusing a Cheverus student in the mid-1980s.

Cheverus' insurance carrier paid less than $300,000 of a $1.5 million settlement in that case.

Charles Malia, a former Cheverus teacher and track coach, acknowledged in 2000 that he had sexually abused students years earlier.

Some Cheverus graduates said Keegan did not handle the scandal appropriately.

Paul Kendrick, a Cheverus graduate and founder of Maine's Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic reform organization, said Keegan did not fully answer questions about the abuse.

Posted by kshaw at January 8, 2005 09:35 AM