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Former St. Charles Student Speaks Out About Alleged Sexual Abuse

St. Charles Preparatory School

A former St. Charles Preparatory School student who filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Columbus is speaking out about alleged sexual abuse he experienced as a student.

According to his attorney Konrad Kircher, the anonymous man was known as Kevin Heidtman while he was a student. He's since changed his name.

The man, who's now 30 and lives on the West Coast, spoke to reporters on a Wednesday conference call.

He says he never had Monsignor Thomas Bennett as a teacher, but he served detentions supervised by Bennett when he was a freshman at St. Charles in the early 2000s. It was there he alleges Bennett, who died in 2008, started to leave a lingering hand on his shoulder.

“Eventually as things progressed, I had a couple of detentions with him alone. That’s when things got more physical,” the man said. "Originally just over clothing but then eventually underneath.”

The man says he eventually failed out of St. Charles and became addicted to methamphetamines following the incidents.

“Happened a couple of times, and there was always a real strong message from him that it wasn’t to be discussed,” the man said. “In a fairly Catholic community, it wasn’t something we talked about.”

The lawsuit filed in Franklin County last month also says officials at St. Charles and the Catholic Diocese of Columbus became aware of Bennett's alleged molestation, but failed to take any action. Both the school and diocese have declined comment on the lawsuit that seeks several million dollars in damages from each defendant.

The man's lawyer says he was contacted by four former students who corroborated parts of Kevin’s story. Two will reportedly speak to the media at an unknown time in the future.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.