Victims seek bishops’ help

  • Victims seek bishops’ help
  • Two predators worked at Catholic high school
  • And a deadline’s been set for victims to step forward
  • Religious order declared bankruptcy to “keep their secrets secret”


Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

-- disclose that two child molesting clerics worked at a Warwick school,

-- urge Rhode Island Catholic officials to aggressively seek out anyone who was hurt by them, and

-- explain how a Catholic institution declared bankruptcy to avoid embarrassing child sex abuse trials,


Outside the Catholic diocese headquarters, One Cathedral Square, Providence, RI


Wednesday, March 28 at 2:15 p.m.


Two to three victims of child sex abuse and their supporters who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a Missouri man who is the organization’s executive director and an official with a Boston-based Catholic lay reform group called Voice of the Faithful (


SNAP has learned that two credibly accused child molesting clerics worked at a Rhode Island Catholic school and a judge has set an August deadline for their victims to step forward and seek justice.

The two - Brother John Lawrence Heathwood and Brother John Matthew Walderman – both worked at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, RI and belong (or belonged) to the Irish Christian Brothers.

Last April, the Brothers, a New York-based Catholic religious order that runs dozens of schools in the US (including Hendricken) declared bankruptcy. SNAP believes its goal is to avoid embarrasing public child sex abuse and cover up trials. A New York judge just set a deadline of August 1, 2012 for victims hurt at Hendricken and other Christian Brothers facilities to come forward, expose abusers, and seek justice.

SNAP is urging all victims at the school to come forward and get help immediately.

Though the Christian Brothers are not formally under the direct supervision of Providence’s diocese, they have worked in the diocese with the local church hierarchy’s approval. So SNAP is urging Bishop Thomas Tobin to “aggressively seek out and comfort” others who may have been hurt by Christian Brothers and to “spread the word” about the August deadline. The group is also prodding all victims at the school to come forward, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing.”

Heathwood was named in a 2007 civil child sex abuse lawsuit as having sexually abused a teenage girl in the 1970s at Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, New York

Walderman is a former Hendricken principal who was arrested around 1984 when he solicited sex from a young male prostitute in the Providence, RI area. Despite being indicted for this crime, the charge was dropped in 1987 (;jsessionid=801FDB1ABD3E6DE4540EC8667C8E83BB

Before becoming Hendricken’s principal, Walderman worked at Blessed Sacrament High School in Rochelle, NY from 1971-1976, and then Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, NY. Since leaving Hendricken, Walderman has worked at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, NY. Walderman was later transferred out of the country and became principal at the Edmund Rice Institute in Australia. He was removed from that post after someone sent a letter to the Institute detailing Walderman’s 1984 arrest.

The Christian Brothers put Walderman at these schools despite his arrest and known predilection for young boys. In 2007, after returning to the US and becoming the Rice High School principal in Harlem, the NY Daily News ran an article detailing Walderman’s “good efforts” in which he was working closely with teenagers to keep a school in New York open. A survivor of Walderman who saw the article was outraged that this predator was still working around children and conceivably had the opportunity to abuse more children. His outrage led to removal of Walderman as principal, but the Christian Brothers have kept Walderman on staff to work with “evaluation committees” for other schools ( His current whereabouts are unknown.

Hendricksen High is at 2615 Warwick Avenue in Warwick (401 7393450 )

A photo of Walderman is available at

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director, 314-566-9790, [email protected], Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-503-0003, [email protected], Paul Kellen 781

526 5878.

Showing 1 comment

  • David Clohessy
    published this page in Media Events 2012-03-28 08:11:40 -0500

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant