The Archdiocese of Seattle and O'Dea High School officials said Thursday that a court gag order prevented them from informing students and parents that Principal Karl Walzcak was recalled after allegations of sexual abuse surfaced.
But critics charged that the school was covering up the reason for Walczak's sudden departure in August. At the time, the school said Walczak was being recalled by the Christian Brothers Order to help with a bankruptcy proceeding.
"If you cover it up, you get fired. If you cover it up, you get prosecuted. If you molest children, it all comes out in light and you go to prison. what the Catholic Church has done and continues to do is lie and cover it up," said Scott Abraham, a member of SNAP who was protesting across the street from O'Dea on Thursday.
But the Archdiocese insists the gag order was real.
"They don't know what they're talking about, either that or they misunderstood the judicial process in the bankrupcty proceeding," said Greg mignoni, a spokesman for the Archdiocese.
The allegations against Walczak date back to the 1970s, according to O'Dea officials. And the alleged abuse did not occur while Walczak was working at O'Dea.
The Archdiocese said it knows of no other incidents tied to Walczak.
A Seattle attorney representing some of the alleged victims in the Christian Brothers bankruptcy proceeding said there are 17 claims against the order and O'Dea High School dating back to the 1970s.