Supreme Court: Bishop Guertin High School Can Be Sued for Sex Abuse

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Bishop Guertin High School


NASHUA – A woman who was sexually assaulted by a teacher known to be a sex offender by Bishop Guertin High School before he was hired can sue the school, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled.

Larissa Troy’s lawsuit against the Nashua private school was dismissed last year when Hillsborough Superior Court — South Judge Charles Temple ruled that the statute of limitations for Troy had expired in 2007. She first filed her lawsuit in 2018, claiming actions taken by school officials led to her being abused.

“I am grateful to the New Hampshire Supreme Court for allowing this case to move forward,” Troy said in a statement read by her attorney, Paul Mones.

Bishop Guertin lawyers argued in court the statute of limitations for Troy ended in 2007, 12 years after her 18th birthday. However, Mones maintains the statute of limitations for Troy should not have started counting down until 2017, when Troy first learned that school officials knew her abuser was already a convicted sex offender when he was hired. 

The statute of limitations law under which Troy is suing also gives people three years to bring a lawsuit after they discover negligent actions that result in abuse. Her lawsuit alleged negligence against Bishop Guertin for hiring McEnany, and for failing to protect her from McEnany.

The school is owned and operated by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart Order, and not part officially of the New Hampshire Roman Catholic Diocese. The school has claimed that Troy’s three-year window ended as well since she should have known that she had been abused in her teens, and she should have known that McEnany had been employed by the school.

What Troy claims she did not know until 2017, however, is that former headmaster Brother Leo Labbe knew McEnany was an abuser when he hired him in 1990. Troy attended Bishop Guertin from 1992 to 1996, and her lawsuit alleged she was abused starting in 1995.

McEnany was convicted in 1998 for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in Maine at another Sacred Heart school. Labbe reportedly did not consider McEnany a danger to students, and did not take any precautions.

“Leo Labbe, the official responsible for the hiring, ‘believed that it was safe’ to hire McEnany ‘because (Bishop Guertin) was, at the time, an all-boys school.’ Prior to hiring McEnany, Labbe did not consult with a psychological or mental health professional as to whether McEnany would pose a risk to female students,” the ruling states.

Troy was among the first female students to attend the school in 1992.  In November of 1995, when she was a senior, McEnany allegedly forced himself on her in a classroom, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges at least one other incident of sexual assault.

After she was assaulted, Troy went to the school’s Dean of Students Susan Mansor, according to court records. Mansor accused Troy of making up the abuse.

“Ms. Mansor warned the plaintiff that she ‘would be in a lot of trouble at home and at school’ if she continued to repeat the ‘story,’” court records state.

McEnany was arrested by Nashua Police in 1997 for failing to register as a sex offender and being a teacher despite being a sex offender, which is illegal in New Hampshire. After that arrest, Labbe then finally conceded to students and families that McEnany had a record of abuse in two separate letters, according to the ruling.

“The second letter acknowledged BGHS’s prior knowledge of McEnany’s conviction when it hired him, but explained that Labbe personally believed that McEnany had been rehabilitated such that he could return to teaching,” the ruling states.

McEnany died in 2017.

The case returns to Judge Temple’s court, and Mones is looking forward to having the case fully heard, though he is cautious.

“I have no knowledge of what the next steps are,” Mones said.

Several brothers with Sacred Heart involved with Bishop Guertin were accused of abuse in the early 2000s, including Labbe. A class action lawsuit resulted in numerous settlements with purported victims. Sacred Heart settled child sexual abuse claims in June 2004 concerning accusations against brothers Guy Beaulieu, Roger Argencourt, Leon Cyr, Alfred Laflamme, and Labbe. 

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