Alleged Abuse Victim Protests, Two More Contact Lawyer

By Laura Sanicola

This story is breaking and will be updated.


A local policeman showed support to Neal Gumpel on Thursday afternoon. Gumpel is an alleged victim of sexual clergy abuse. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

Two more individuals have made allegations about former Fordham Prep teacher Fernand Beck and have contacted Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer specializing in sexual assault cases made against the Catholic Church. Their claims are currently being investigated, according to the lawyer.

Beck was accused of rape by former student Michael Meenan. Fordham Prep launched an investigation, found the claims to be credible, alerted the Fordham Prep community and announced that Beck would not be returning to the school in early August. More information can be found here.

On Thursday afternoon, a small group of protesters gathered outside of Fordham University gates passing out pamphlets to pedestrians and drivers and holding signs that said that Jesuits were unresponsive to allegations of sexual assault. The protesters included Neal Gumpel, who said he was sexually assaulted by Rev. Roy Drake in the 1970s.  Robert Hoatson, a former priest and alleged victim of priest of abuse who now is  co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, a New Jersey based nonprofit that assists victims of sexual abuse by priests, also attended. Gumpel was not a student at Fordham Prep.

Drake was a priest who resided for several years on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus and briefly worked as a teacher at Fordham Prep. Gumpel’s wife Helen also attended the protest. Drake had left Fordham Prep and was employed by the Maine Maritime Academy at the time of the alleged assault.

Gumpel is a former screenwriter who made his complaints against Drake public two years ago.

“When you used to Google my name two years ago, a profile of my work would come up. Now when you do it all you read about is me that a 59 year old assault victim of a priest,” Gumpel said. “It’s humiliating, but I need to be out here. I need to tell what happened.”

Gumpel said he would like a public apology from Fordham, who he said has privately apologized to him, as well as some form compensation.

“This has taken years from my life,” he said.

The protesters used to gather around once a month outside of Fordham Prep. Since the allegations made against Beck, Gumpel, Hoatson and Gumpel’s wife say they will be making more appearances.

A Fordham Prep spokesperson has been contacted for comment.

This article was updated on 8/18/16 at 1:52 p.m. with clarifying language.

There are 3 comments

  1. snapjudy

    Let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by anyone at Fordham College, will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened. Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others
    Judy Jones, 636-433-2511.
    SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

  2. Robert Hoatson

    Kudos to Neal Gumple and Michael Meenan for their courage in uncovering sexual abuse by Jesuits and/or lay persons associated with Jesuit institutions. Evidently, they have become the inspiration for others who have come forward to report that they, too, were sexually abused. Bravo!
    This story is far from over, and I hope the Jesuits finally realize that their moral and ethical obligation is to provide necessary and ongoing resources to help victim/survivors like Neal and Michael heal. These men’s lives were severely disrupted and they are trying to heal. “Restorative justice” must be practiced by the Jesuits. It’s about time!

  3. Ralph

    It was only a matter of time for something like this to rear it’s head. What is a university doing with a high school on it’s campus is the bigger question.


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