SHREWSBURY, Mass. - Three brothers who attended Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury in the 1960s are alleging they were sexually abused by a former teacher at the school.

What You Need To Know

  • Three brothers who attended Saint John's High School in the 1960s allege to have been sexually abused by a former teacher

  • The teacher, Richard Doyle, was employed by the school until his death in 1976

  • The brothers spoke out publicly for the first time on Wednesday with their attorney Mitchell Garabedian

  • Garabedian is calling for changes to Massachusetts' statute of limitations laws 

Two of the brothers spoke out publicly for the first time about these claims on Wednesday, and are remaining anonymous.

“I want some validation from Saint John’s, and I want the truth,” one brother said.

The brothers allege Richard Doyle, a former teacher at Saint John’s who died in 1976, sexually abused them as students multiple times in the 1960s. They claim Doyle took advantage of the trusting friendship he shared with their father, sneaking down to their room during visits to the family home and sexually abusing them. They also said he routinely offered to give them rides to and from school.

One of the brothers described how he left Saint John’s before his sophomore year due to the alleged abuse.

“I told my parents ‘I’m not going back’, and I pretty much lived with that my whole life,” he said. “Telling people ‘You know, I dropped out of Saint John’s, I didn’t make the basketball team, so I didn’t want to go back there.’ But over these years, I never would tell anybody that this happened to me.”

Saint John’s confirmed in a statement to the school community that Doyle was the subject of the brothers’ allegations when they first contacted the school about him in 2019. The brothers say they’ve dealt with significant trauma in the years since.

According to their attorney Mitchell Garabedian, the three brothers reported Doyle’s alleged abuse to the police, but were told the statute of limitations prevents it from becoming a criminal legal matter at this stage.

Garabedian, who has been representing victims of sexual abuse worldwide for decades, is still fighting for some form of closure.

“This case is another example of why the statue limitations in Massachusetts needs to be changed so that childhood sexual abuse survivors can file civil actions in courts of law, so that justice can be obtained and so that they can try to heal and gain a degree of validation,” Garabedian said.

Robert Hoatson, co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, a nonprofit charity assisting victims of sexual abuse and their families, is himself a survivor of abuse. He said it can be frustrating dealing with a system which offers little recourse for allegations of abuse dating back decades.

“There is not a statute of limitations on murder of the body, why is there one on murder of the soul? It's practically the same,” Hoatson said. “In other words, people are almost killed when they're sexually abused as a child, because they don't know where their lives are going or what even their next thought was going to be.”

Saint John’s headmaster Alex Zequeira recently released a statement to the campus community, which can be read below in full:

Dear Saint John’s High School Community, 

On July 15, 2019, Saint John’s High School was contacted by an alumnus who said he had been abused by former lay faculty member, Richard Doyle, who served the school as a teacher from 1962 until his passing in 1976. 

Immediately upon receiving this information, the school’s headmaster reached out to the alumnus who communicated the allegation and began a dialogue of compassion and support that included the school’s strong recommendation that he reach out to the District Attorney and also facilitated a conversation with the Xaverian Brothers. Since then, the school’s attorney has remained in contact with his legal counsel on the matter.

At this time, we are not aware of any other allegations against Mr. Doyle. We encourage anyone with further information about Mr. Doyle -- or any instance of sexual misconduct or abuse -- to report it to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office at (508) 755-8601, or to the confidential reporting number for the Diocese of Worcester at (508) 726-2880, and to Headmaster Alex Zequeira if it involves a member of our community. 

We recognize this is difficult information to share, but we as a school community are committed to transparency as we believe it is the only way that survivors of abuse and the larger Catholic community can process and begin to heal from these egregious violations of a sacred trust.

Please know that we prize above all else the trust our community has placed in us to educate and protect our students. A vital component of our school’s mission is to help students grow to reach their God-given potential. Child abuse is in direct conflict with everything we stand for and believe, therefore Saint John’s takes allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, regardless of how long ago the incident may have occurred. We make every effort to treat the person making us aware of these allegations with sensitivity and compassion. 

The safety of the students in our school is paramount. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any kind of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse in our community.  As a result, we are committed to detecting and preventing any circumstance that could lead to sexual misconduct or abuse of any kind.  We comply with all legal reporting requirements, and we will cooperate at all times with legal authorities in connection with investigating such allegations.  Any allegations or information received by any member of the administration, staff, or faculty are investigated thoroughly and immediately.  Lastly, as a school, we have maintained a high level of transparency on all of these matters.  For more information on student and school safety at Saint John’s High School, click here.

If you have questions or concerns about the information shared above, we encourage you to call Headmaster Alex Zequeira at 508.842.8934 ext. 226 or email at so that he can arrange a time to talk further.

Thank you for your continued commitment to and trust in Saint John’s High School. Please know that we are working every day to ensure that we are living up to our mission and are worthy of that trust.  We ask that you keep all involved in this situation in your prayers.