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By MICHELE M. BETTI | b&a opinions | http://bettiandassociates.com

Brother Bernard Hartman, 75, a member of the Roman Catholic Marianist religious order, is the subject of credible allegations of child sexual abuse from when he taught at Pittsburgh’s North Catholic High School.  Brother Hartman taught science classes at North Catholic in 1961 and 1970, and then from 1986 to 1997.

North Catholic High School began as an all-boys school in 1939, founded by Bishop Hugh Charles Boyle of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Marianists.  It is a private Catholic high school located in Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.  Girls began enrolling in the school in 1973.  North Catholic has over 12,000 alumni.  North Catholic High School was renamed Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in the 2013-2014 school year.  He was arrested by Victoria Police almost 30 years after fleeing Australia in 1984 for his child sexual abuse there.

Brother Hartman is one of eight religious brothers accused of molesting 19 students at the school with more students coming forward.  A former student at the school, since renamed Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, came forward with a complaint against Hartman in March last year as the diocese was preparing a letter sent to North Catholic alumni to alert them to the Australian allegations.

The Marianist Province of the United States has acknowledged removing Hartman from the Pittsburgh school without publicly explaining why.  The Marianist religious order said he has since been given treatment and barred from teaching under a “safety plan,” during which he performed mostly clerical work, none of which involved children.  For most of that time he lived in Dayton, Ohio.  Still, the letter to North Catholic alumni last year prompted another 18 former students to level sex abuse allegations against another seven brothers who had worked or taught at North Catholic.  All but one of the former brothers is dead.

The head of the religious order that runs 19 high schools in the United States, Rev. Martin Solma, has apologized to the former students explaining Brother Hartman was sent to a secure New Orleans hospital facility in 1997, where he underwent a one-month psycho-sexual therapy program.  He was also required to sign a “safety plan,” and agree to not go anywhere alone.  Brother Hartman later attended Alcoholics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings.

With credible allegations of abuse against Brother Bernard Hartman, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and The Marianist Province of the United States, the victims are still left with no recourse as the statute of limitations for these victims precludes them from getting justice.

The Marianist website describes itself as a family made of Catholic brothers, priests, sisters and committed lay people around the world.  All Marianists look to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the model of discipleship.  They share in her mission of bringing the message of Jesus to the world.

The Society of Mary was founded in France in 1817 by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.  Almost 500 Marianist brothers and priests comprise the Province of the United States.  They serve in communities and ministries from Honolulu to Puerto Rico and in Eastern Africa, India, Ireland and Mexico.  In the United States, Marianists sponsor the University of Dayton in Ohio, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Chaminade University of Honolulu, 18 high schools (including North Catholic High School), seven parishes and four retreat centers.

If you have any information on Brother Bernard Hartman, or the other teachers at North Catholic High School regarding their sexual abuse of children at North Catholic, please contact us and your local law enforcement agency.

Copyright 2015, b&a opinions.

–Michele M. Betti of the Law Offices Of Betti & Associates is an advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.