For nearly two decades, the Legionaries of Christ brought children from all over the world to study at the all-boys Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Center Harbor. The disgraced Roman Catholic order publicly acknowledged the school was also home to two sexual abusers.

NH Reporter has learned there are several more.

In December 2019, five years after the school closed, the order released its own internal report on allegations of sexual abuse, claiming that, in close to 60 years, just four Legionaries members stationed in North America had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, meaning Center Harbor was home to half of all its abusers in the United States.

The Legionary commission’s report disclosed that Francisco Cardona and Fernando Cutanda both abused students at the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School. Both men were ordained by the order, but Cutanda has since been laicized. Cardona has since died.

At least four more abusers were recently reported by the Legionaries, or by the order’s representatives, to Center Harbor police for allegations going back decades. Two of the alleged abusers were priests at the time of the alleged abuse, and one was a man who was scheduled to be ordained a priest in 2004. Center Harbor police also received reports of students engaging in the sexual abuse of other students.

“We have probably gotten a dozen reports over the years,” said Center Harbor Police Chief Mark Chase.

NH Reporter is not disclosing the names of any of the accused men at this time.

Some of the reports were made to Center Harbor police as recently as August of 2020. NH Reporter has also obtained state documents detailing another allegation of abuse at the school that was investigated by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office in the early 2000s. In that case, the then-head of the order in North America, and the founder of the Center Harbor School, Fr. Anthony Bannon, did not disclose the abuse allegation to authorities until he became aware of press inquiries, according to copies of the Attorney General’s investigative report and emails obtained by NH Reporter.



The school’s Dane Road property, with views of Lake Winnipesaukee, is currently for sale with an estimated value of $8.9 million. The Legion bought the buildings and property in the 1980s from the La Salette order, which had operated the campus as a seminary. Bannon was among the Legion priests who formed the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School, according to records with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office.


The 1980s and 1990s were a time of massive growth for the Legion, which found favor with Pope John Paul II for their focus on vocations and Vatican II-style orthodoxy. Boys in grades 7 through 12 were brought in from all over the world to study at the school until its closure in 2015.

In 2017, a former student filed a federal lawsuit against the Legion for the abuse he allegedly suffered from Cutanda. The plaintiff said that, when he was a student at ICAS in Center Harbor, Fernando Cutanda, or “Brother Fernando,” a “supervisor, mentor, and spiritual leader” employed by theschool, repeatedly raped him in several locations on the school property.

The lawsuit states that, after feeling guilt and shame, the alleged victim told Legion priest Fr. O’Carroll what had been happening. O’Carroll, whom the legal documents describe as “in charge of ICAS at the time,” allegedly told the boy to say five rosaries “for his sins” and told him “God will take care of things.”

Fr. Fergus O’Carroll was head of the school during the timeframe mentioned in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, “Brother Fernando” allegedly raped the boy again after he reported the abuse to O’Carroll. The school’s corporate entity, which is owned by the Legion, was dismissed as a defendant in 2017, though the Legion itself remained as a defendant. The Legion settled with the victim in October of 2018.

Chase said several alleged victims stopped cooperating with police after they received financial settlements from the order.

“Do I blame any victim for settling that way? Not at all. They should do whatever is best for them and their situations,” Chase said.

The Legion functioned as a powerhouse fundraising outfit, and at the height of its powers had more than $1 billion in assets and an annual budget of $650 million, according to a report in the Irish Times. One former Legion priest told the Irish Times that that money allowed the order’s disgraced founder, Fr. Marcel Maciel Degollado, to keep the order going whenever there was an allegation of abuse. Fr. Maciel’s name is listed along with that of ICAS founder Fr. Bannon’s in a registry of Panamanian and other off-shore companies.

Maciel was known to make cash donations to key Vatican officials, and he reportedly always traveled with $10,000 in cash, according to court testimony.

Maciel was reportedly addicted to drugs, fathered several children with at least three different women, and sexually abused some of his own children and others. As outlined in Jason Berry’s reporting on the Legion for the National Catholic Reporter, Maciel got away with his crimes thanks to the wide-spread corruption inside the Vatican.

“For years Maciel had Legion priests dole out envelopes with cash and donate gifts to officials in the curia. In the days leading up to Christmas, Legion seminarians spent hours packaging the baskets with expensive bottles of wine, rare brandy, and cured Spanish hams that alone cost upward of $1,000 each. Priests involved in the gifts and larger cash exchanges say that in hindsight they view Maciel's strategy as akin to an insurance policy, to protect himself should he be exposed and to position the Legion as an elite presence in the workings of the Vatican,” Berry wrote.

The Vatican’s own assessment of Maciel, leveled in 2010, is devastating in its frankness about Maciel’s true nature.

“The very grave and objectively immoral actions of Father Maciel, confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies, in some cases constitute real crimes and manifest a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning. This life was unknown to the great majority of the Legionaries, above all because of the system of relationships constructed by Father Maciel, who was able skillfully to create alibis for himself, to obtain trust, confidence and silence from those around him, and to reinforce his personal role as a charismatic founder,” the Vatican statement reads. “Not infrequently a deplorable discrediting and distancing of those who entertained doubts as to the probity of his conduct, as well as a misguided concern to avoid damaging the good that the Legion was accomplishing, created around him a defense mechanism that for a long time rendered him unassailable, making it very difficult, as a result, to know the truth about his life.”

The 2019 report released by the Legion found that 175 minors were abused by 33 Legion priests world-wide. That figure includes 60 victims attributed solely to Maciel. However, none of the men named in the records obtained by NH Reporter are named in the Legion report. Three of those reports to Center Harbor police came in 2020. Gail Gore, a spokeswoman for the order, has yet to respond to numerous questions for this story, including whether the 2019 Legion’s self-report is accurate.


According to the Legion report, the vast majority of the victims were boys between the ages of 11 and 16, and of the 33 priests who have committed abuse, 14, more than 42 percent, were themselves victims of abuse in the Legionaries.

In the Legionaries minor seminaries, in addition to the victims of Maciel, 15 priests abused 65 victims, according to the report. Another 90 students were abused by 54 seminarians in formation, of whom 46 did not reach the priesthood, the report states.

Maciel died in disgrace in 2008, but Legion priests continued to celebrate his birthday as a holiday and members extolled Maciel as late as 2019. Under Pope Benedict XVI’s instructions, Vatican officials took over the order in 2010, and its constitution was reformed. Part of the reformation was the ending of the secret vows Legion priests took to never criticize the order or Maciel. Legion Priest Fr. John Connor is currently in charge of the North American branch of the order, and the Legion is once again allowed to operate under its own authority.

The Legion has instituted new procedures to deal with abuse allegations, and has published a new code of conduct for members. The order has made several reports to Center Harbor police since 2019, Chase said, though the information is usually not enough to bring a criminal charge.

“We're seeing that the Legion is meeting the letter of the law by passing on their information,” Chase said.

Most of the information now being shared with police concerns allegations of abuse that took place in the 1990s, Chase said.

“It was a sick period of time when these things were handled inappropriately,” Chase said.

In many cases, the Legion does not provide the names or contact information for the alleged victims, he said. When Chase’s investigators looked into some of the cases, they found the alleged abuser was nowhere to be found.

“It had clearly been the practice of the Legion to transfer abusers after allegations had been made,” Chase said. “In my opinion, people were sent out of the country for a reason."


Though some of the cases have been referred to the Belknap County Attorney for possible prosecution, Chase said these are difficult cases to pursue.

“To try and bring someone back into the country and try them 25 years later, that’s a tough case,” Chase said.

In the early 2000s, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office investigated the Roman Catholic Diocese, uncovering decades of abuse and coverup. Though the Legion is not part of the diocese, one Legion priest was investigated as part of the Attorney General's efforts.

According to the investigation, in 2003 Bannon, then head of the order, had been receiving anonymous emails from a former Center Harbor student who alleged he had been abused by a priest stationed at the school. That priest was removed from the school and sent to the Legion center in Connecticut before Bannon contacted police.

Bannon told state New Hampshire investigators the priest had denied the allegations, and he offered to make that priest available for interviews. It is not clear whether the priest was ever interviewed by New Hampshire investigators. Bannon also claimed the dorms at the school were constructed in such a way as to discourage abuse, though it is not clear what that means.

Bannon notified state investigators about the abuse allegations after he learned that journalists with ABC’s 20/20 were investigating the alleged abuse and talking to the victim. In an email to New Hampshire investigators, a Legion official, presumably Bannon, expressed dismay that the television program would hold on to the abuse allegation.

“If I may be allowed a purely personal comment, I am appalled and disturbed at the thought that ABC was in possession of important evidence, which if true could pose a potentially significant danger to minors, and nevertheless decided not to alert us and/or the authorities immediately,” the Legion official’s email states. “Apparently they still have not told us all they know.”

This comment is part of an email in which state investigators were forwarded a string of emails between Bannon and the alleged victim. The name of the sender is redacted, though the context makes it seem likely that Bannon made the comment.

The victim, in the emails with Bannon, describes being brainwashed at the school, which is similar to other accounts from former ICAS students. The boys were not allowed to speak to one another unless given permission. They were discouraged from making friends at the school, as Maciel was reportedly fearful of cliques and discouraged friendship among the members of the order, including the students. The students were discouraged from talking to their parents about what went on at the school, and their letters home were read by school officials.


It’s not clear why the order closed the school in Center Harbor. Rev. Georges de Laire, judicial vicar for the Manchester Diocese, said the sale of the multi-million property will require Vatican approval, as well as an official opinion from Manchester Diocese Bishop Peter Libasci.

The order no longer has any operating facilities in New Hampshire, and it is unclear if they will be granted permission to come back again. The Legion, like any recognized Catholic order in good standing, requires permission from the local bishop in order to be allowed to operate.

“It’s up to the bishop to accept or deny any group coming into his diocese,” de Laire said.


Read more about the way Legion priests shaded the truth when reporting abuse to police, with the victim saying they lied to law enforcement.



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All photos and video by Damien Fisher

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Updated: Feb 7

Judicial Vicar Rev. Georges de Laire filed a federal lawsuit against the far-right news outlet Church Militant this week, claiming the outlet published “recklessly false” statements about de Laire after a notorious radical sect was disciplined by the New Hampshire diocese.

Gary Michael Voris, who goes by Michael Voris in his internet videos, runs Church Militant, a website that reports on Catholic news and politics. Voris' outlet published videos and articles calling de Laire “emotionally unstable,” stating de Laire is incompetent, and implying he’s corrupt, according to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in Concord on Friday.


The lawsuit states that Voris started his campaign against de Laire in January of 2019 after the diocese barred the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from calling themselves Catholic and put the group under discipline.

The Slaves are considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


According to the lawsuit, de Laire suffered damage to his reputation once Church Militant started its reporting on him. He also received threats from people who believed the reporting, the lawsuit states.


"As a result of the January 2019 article, Father de Laire has suffered severe damage to his personal, professional and moral reputation. He has received numerous phone calls and emails from parishioners, churchmilitant.com readers, and members of the public who accepted Mr. Voris’s reporting as true. The emails and calls ranged from mere criticism to outright threats," the lawsuit states.

The Slaves appealed the discipline laid out in a Decree of Precepts of Prohibition written by de Laire, but the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome rejected that appeal last year because it was filed after the statute of limitations had run out. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, is the Vatican governing body that defends Catholic teaching from heresy and has previously dealt with the Slaves.

Voris and Church Militant started covering the issue after the precepts were published, and the diocese advised Catholics in good standing to stay away from the Slaves. Voris, who is based in Michigan, even traveled to New Hampshire to interview members of the Slaves at their compound in Richmond. Voris did not interview de Laire or any priest in the diocese as part of his reporting, according to the lawsuit.



“In an initial article, published in January of 2019, Mr. Voris published multiple knowingly and recklessly false statements concerning Father de Laire’s work performance, his fitness to serve as a member of the clergy, his ethics, and other personal matters. These statements were first published in January of 2019 with no attempt to first interview Father de Laire, with little or no investigation, and despite Defendants knowing that what they were publishing was not true,” the lawsuit states.

In subsequent videos and articles, Voris and Church Militant would claim de Laire is not trusted by other priests in the diocese, that he does not do his own work, and that there have been at least three complaints filed against him. The articles also claim de Laire in known to be incompetent by Catholic officials in the Vatican. According to the lawsuit, none of these assertions is true.

“As with all other of the statements in the article, Mr. Voris did not cite a source for this statement, and, upon information and belief, his allegation was fabricated and not corroborated by anyone in Rome, as Father de Laire has always completed all of his work with utmost competence, once again, as evidence by his reappointment to his roles as Judicial Vicar and Vicar for Canonical Affairs,” the lawsuit states.

As the Judicial Vicar and the Vicar for Canonical Affairs in Manchester, de Laire has been dealing with the Slaves for several years in an effort to bring them into compliance with Church teaching, according to the lawsuit. The Slaves manipulated de Laire’s efforts, according to the lawsuit. For example, the used the fact that Manchester allowed them to have a priest in good standing celebrate Mass in Richmond to make it appear they were an approved Catholic organization, according to the lawsuit, which they were not.

Voris’s company used to be known as Real Catholic T.V. until the archdiocese of Detroit ordered that he stop presenting his organization as Catholic. Voris engages in climate change denialism, and has been accused of anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia, according to the New York Times. Voris has claimed, for example, that Judaism as currently practiced is a man-made religion.

Voris did not respond to a request for comment. The lawsuit states that Voris likely got his false information about de Laire from the Slaves.

“Mr. Voris has a relationship with (Slaves leader) Brother Andre Marie, and had first-hand knowledge of the correspondence between the Saint Benedict Center and the Roman Catholic Church throughout said correspondence’s history,” the lawsuit states.

The Slaves in New Hampshire are an off-shoot of a controversial group started in Massachusetts by Fr. Leonard Feeney in the 1940’s. Feeney was expelled from the Jesuit order over his public speeches against the Jews, and was later excommunicated. The Massachusetts Slaves are currently in good standing with the Church after Feeney died reconciled to Rome.

The New Hampshire Slaves formed as a splinter group, and were required in 2009 by then-Bishop John McCormack to sign a letter of obedience and to renounce anti-Semitism.


The New Hampshire Slaves operate a website, a school, and other enterprises while holding beliefs that range from traditional to radical. The Slaves are currently led by Brother Andre Marie, also known as Luis Villarubia, who has a history of making anti-Semitic statements. In a 1998 speech, Villarubia said that Jews are the “worst enemy of the Church,” and called them “seed of the Devil,” among other similar statements.

The 2019 precepts of discipline from the diocese came after the Slaves continued their extremist interpretation of the Catholic teaching of “no salvation outside the Church,” in conflict with the instructions it received years ago from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The CDF’s Under Secretary, Monsignor Giacomo Morandi, wrote in a 2016 letter that the group’s theological position was “unacceptable,” and not subject to further discussion.

The Slaves’ interpretation does not allow for the possibility that non-Catholics can be saved through the grace of God, which goes against the full teaching of the Church, according to Morandi’s letter.

The Slaves are currently in talks with de Laire over their adherence to the 2019 Decree of Precepts, and de Laire has expressed optimism that Bishop Peter Libasci will find a way to serve them. Libasci currently sends a priest from Nashua to Winchester, close to Richmond, in order to celebrate a Mass in Latin.

The lawsuit is filed on de Laire’s behalf by Boston attorneys Howard Cooper, Joseph Cacace, and Suzanne Elovecky. They did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening. The Manchester diocese is not involved in the lawsuit, and it is being brought by de Laire personally.

The lawsuit claims that Voris also tried to imply de Laire improperly used Church funds when he bought a house in Amherst, which the lawsuit states is not true. Contacted Friday night, de Laire declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also mentions that family members of multiple women who moved to New Hampshire to live at the Richmond compound have expressed concerns that the women are being held against their will. New Hampshire State Police and agents with the FBI investigated one such accusation, and found the woman in question was not being held against her will, according to law enforcement documents obtained in the case.


Along with Voris and Church Militant, the lawsuit names Church Militant staff writer Anita Carey as a defendant. Carey alleged wrote one story that included many of the same accusations made previously by Voris. Carey does not appear to have any bylined stories published on the Church Militant in the past year, and it is not clear what her status is at the company.


The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and monetary damages against Church Militant, Voris, and Carey including punitive damages to be determined at trial.


UPDATE (2/6/2021 A.M.):

Church Militant published a response to news of the lawsuit on Saturday morning with a statement standing by the disputed reporting. The organization characterizes the lawsuit as a "crude attempt through a lawyer's missive to intimidate and shut down our continued accurate reporting of the news is shameful on the part of a clergyman."


UPDATE (2/6/2021 P.M.):

Additional details from the lawsuit were added to the body of the article.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. Send tips to nhreporter1@gmail.com. News outlets interested in republishing this article or photos are asked to contact Damien Fisher at nhreporter1@gmail.com.


Disclaimer: NHReporter’s Damien Fisher is married to writer, Simcha Fisher. Simcha Fisher writes for the New Hampshire diocesan magazine, Parable. Simcha Fisher is not involved in NHReporter, and had no part in the reporting and writing of this article.


Photo credits:

Michael Voris <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michael_Voris.png">Clarissa Swan</a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>, via Wikimedia Commons


Brother Andre Marie

Photo by Damien Fisher


Slaves Compound

Photo by Damien Fisher


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  • damientfisher

Stephan Condodemetraky, the owner of the now defunct classic car dealership Dusty Old Cars, is suing the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office in federal court claiming he was maliciously prosecuted for fraud.

“The AG’s office acted as the Judge, Jury and Executioner, taking away the rights of the small business owner, denying him the ability to work with his customers without any reliable evidence of wrongdoing,” Condodemetraky wrote in the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in Concord.

Condodemetraky is representing himself in the lawsuit, and he refused to answer questions submitted to him via email. Instead, he sent a long email to several newspaper editors not involved in the reporting of this story, accusing the NHReporter journalist of wrongdoing, and using years-old Twitter screenshots from a now disabled account as proof. He did not respond to a follow up email seeking clarification.

The lawsuit names Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, Department of Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn, and other states officials as defendants. Kate Giaquinto, director of communications for MacDonald, declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing the pending litigation.

Condodemetraky’s business empire, which he boasted as growing at 30 percent a year, began crumbling starting in 2015 as he was placed under investigation by the New Hampshire attorney General’s Office for allegedly defrauding consignment customers at his business.

In his lawsuit, Condodemetraky claims Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti of making up falsehoods in order to pursue the prosecution. At one point, Condodemetraky claims, Boffetti made up an active shooter report as part of his maneuvers against the car business. He also claims Boffetti wanted to hurt him and his family, according to his lawsuit.

Condodemetraky was indicted in three different superior courts on various theft and forgery charges and went to trial in Merrimack and Rockingham superior courts.

Dusty Old Cars customers started filing complaints with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office as far back as 2015, with more than 100 people eventually seeking redress from the state. The classic car dealership’s consignment customers alleged that Dusty Old Cars took their cars and charged them for bogus repair and other fraudulent fees, and sometimes did not pay at all when the consigned cars sold.



While there were numerous complaints, the state has not had much success in prosecuting Condodemetraky.

In March of 2019, he was found guilty of one count of theft in the Rockingham Superior Court, and sentenced to 48 hours in jail and barred from going into any other retail car businesses in New Hampshire. Condodemetraky appealed that conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, but the court affirmed the conviction in September without holding oral arguments.

According to court records, that theft case involves an old Buick consigned to Condodemtraky’s business. The allegations in this case are similar to the many other complaints filed with the New Hampshire Attorney General.

On July 13, 2015, the owner of a 1941 Buick car entered into a consignment agreement with the Condodemetraky’s company. Under the agreement, Condodemetraky agreed to provide the owner with the proceeds of the sale, less a 10 percent consignment fee and certain authorized expenses, together with a detailed invoice, “once the proceeds of the sale of the vehicle are received,” according to statement of facts included in the Supreme Court’s September order.

Condodemetraky sold the car for $21,000 and received payment in full in August of that year, but he did not provide the owner with an invoice until October 20, 2015, according to the court record. The invoice reportedly stated that the vehicle had sold for $20,500, and that the owner would receive $17,854.30, after deductions for the commission and certain repairs.

Instead, though, Condodemetraky sent the owner a check for $10,000, the record shows. Over the following several months, the owner’s son communicated with Condodemetraky regarding the remaining proceeds from the sale of the vehicle. On March 11, 2016, Condodemetraky sent the owner a second invoice, this time listing additional charges, including a $5,978.12 “marketing charge,” according to the statement of facts. The consignment agreement contained no language regarding a “marketing charge,” according to the court record. On March 11, 2016, the Condodemetraky reportedly sent the owner a check for $500.

He was found not guilty in November of 2019 on 20 charges in a fraud and forgery in Merrimack Superior Court following a trial involving allegations he forged titles on 10 cars. He also has pending criminal charges in the Hillsborough Superior Court-South. The state is seeking to have his federal lawsuit dismissed.

Condodemetraky filed for bankruptcy in 2017 as the criminal and civil cases were swirling his business. The court appointed a trustee to oversee liquidation of the business, Nashua-based attorney Michael Askenaizer. Askenaizer eventually filed a lawsuit against Condodemetraky on behalf of the creditors, accusing the former used car king of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Askenaizer states in his lawsuit filed in United States Bankruptcy Court that Condodemetraky took in money from loans and investors despite the fact Dusty Old Cars had been insolvent as a business as far back as 2013.


“Condodemetraky directed the operation of the business of Dusty Old Cars … and controlled and manipulated its books and records in such a way as to hide the losses incurred and to allow him to extract millions of dollars from creditors with no expectation, nor realistic way, of paying back that which was taken.”


At the same time, Condodemetraky was taking in money from investors in his businesses based on the false financials he kept, according to the lawsuit. Each new investor’s money was used to pay off previous investments, according to the lawsuit, while the business allegedly duped customers out of their cars.


“Mr. Condodemetraky knew, or should be treated as knowing, that the business model was defective, that the sole purpose of the business was to create a façade of success that he could use to induce customers and lenders to provide him with money or things of value on the promise of repayment with extraordinary returns, but with no actual prospect or intent of repaying them,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Condodemetraky used the flow of money and vehicles that came to him by virtue of the unrealistic promises of extraordinary returns or of a better price, to enrich himself through shareholder distributions, inflated salary, and the payment of household expenses by the company.”


Askenaizer eventually settled with Condodemetraky in the Bankruptcy Court in 2018 over the fraud lawsuit. Despite seeking close to $5 million in the case, the parties settled for $110,000.


The business started in Derry, but eventually moved to a larger facility in Nashua where Dusty Old Cars had a warehouse containing more than 400 classic cars, and 25 employees.


News outlets interested in republishing this work are asked to contact nhreporter1@gmail.com. Tips can also be sent to nhreporter1@gmail.com



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