January 28, 2005

An ungodly legacy of pain

San Francisco Chronicle

Katherine Seligman, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, January 28, 2005

Soon after they met as freshmen at De La Salle High School in Concord, Chris Barbour and Will Lopes became the kind of friends who expected to know each other forever.

Barbour was a driven student who dreamed of being a pilot. Lopes was the homecoming king and the starting quarterback on the football team. The two former altar boys were popular, good-looking, well-liked by teachers.

But the two shared something else -- something that would derail their friendship and their lives, and, ultimately, embarrass the Roman Catholic order whose San Francisco district runs the prestigious school and at least 15 others in the region.

In 1980, both boys went to see a counselor they called Brother Joe, a member of the Christian Brothers order who sexually abused them, according to interviews, lawsuits and government documents.

What they didn't know was that Brother Joseph Jesse Gutierrez had been transferred by the Christian Brothers to Concord from Berkeley, where he'd had relationships with students that had "sexual overtones." That much was made public last month after the Christian Brothers paid Barbour $4 million -- one of the largest payments so far in the nationwide surge of lawsuits against the Catholic Church -- to settle a lawsuit.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2005 08:36 AM