Man sues Iona Prep over alleged sexual abuse by teacher 40 years ago

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NEW ROCHELLE -

A man is suing Iona Prep in New Rochelle claiming he was abused by a brother and teacher from the school about 40 years ago.

Richard Cardillo tells News 12 that he was sexually abused when he was 17 years old by Iona Prep teacher Brother Tony Ferro.

He now claims, 43 years later, that the Irish Christian Brothers and the school knew Ferro had done this before.
           
"There were rumors all around him. Stay away from Brother Ferro. Brother Ferro is dangerous, be careful,” says Cardillo.

During his junior year, Brother Ferro allegedly invited Cardillo and two other students to an overnight trip to Rochester to see a musical. Later that night in their hotel room, Cardillo says the respected religious teacher tried to molest him as he went to sleep.

"He started rubbing me from the bottom up, he went to the front as well, he went to my genitals,” says Cardillo.

Cardillo says he was shocked and full of fear, and told him he would sleep on the ground. He says Ferro tried to touch him again at school – that’s when he claims he told school leaders, but says those complaints weren’t listened to.

Cardillo is one of at least 400 people who have come forward with similar allegations against the Irish Christian Brothers.  He received a settlement in 2011 when the congregation filed for bankruptcy. But with the recent passing of the Child Victims Act, which created a controversial one-year window for civil lawsuits, his lawyers are preparing to file suit again – this time against Iona Prep.

Cardillo says as a result of Brother Ferro’s relations with students, he was transferred to Staten Island and later Paramus, New Jersey. He is still a brother.

The Christian Brothers, in a written statement issued through a spokesman, said, "The design of the bankruptcy process was not to test the validity of any of the claims, but rather to establish a compensation fund for the claimants. In terms of the claimant's alleged conversation more than 40 years ago with the then-provincial leader, the province cannot test the validity of this conversation because the brother is deceased."

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