ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A man is suing the Diocese of Allentown and a Hellertown school and church over allegations that he was sexually assaulted by his teacher several decades ago.
Mark Beaky, who now lives in York, says he was 13 when Lawrence Haftle, his teacher at St. Theresa of the Child of Jesus Catholic School, abused him. Beaky attended the school from 1971-1975, and says the abuse occurred in 1974, when Haftle was his homeroom teacher.
It started with "off-campus car rides" during lunch, in which Haftle, who died in 2010, would offer Beaky marijuana, according to the lawsuit filed in Lehigh County court.
Beaky would return to school intoxicated, often missing other classes to stay in Haftle's room to sober up, the suit says.
Despite the lunch and recess rides being "open and obvious" almost every day, no one ever questioned or tried to stop the behavior, the lawsuit says.
Haftle also took Beaky on a weekend trip to Haftle's farm, which included other adults, teenagers and younger students. Drugs, including marijuana, opium and methamphetamines, and alcohol were "in abundance" and were offered to Beaky and other children, according to the lawsuit.
Haftle molested Beaky several times that weekend, the suit says, and Beaky was often "highly intoxicated" and had lapses in memory.
The sexual misconduct continued through the winter and spring of that school year, only stopping when Haftle was arrested and imprisoned on drug charges, the lawsuit says.
Beaky says the repeated sexual abuse and his exposure to alcohol and drugs led to issues resulting in a life of drug addiction and abuse, mental health struggles, homelessness and imprisonment.
He says the diocese and school knew or should have known of the abuse and failed to protect him. The suit cites the Pennsylvania grand jury report released in 2018.
69 News reached out to the diocese for comment and promptly received this statement:
“This is another lawsuit based on a case now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. These suits are based on a novel legal theory and have been filed regarding allegations of clergy abuse in many dioceses. Bishop Schlert has always been transparent about the issue of abuse of minors.”