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August 28, 2008

The Office of Catholic Education Responds
to Charges Filed Against Teacher at Saint Monica School in Berwyn, Chester County

Today, we learned of the existence of an investigation that culminated in child pornography charges against one of our teachers, Mr. Jerome Bennett III. Ms. Mary E. Rochford, Superintendent for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said, "We are extremely upset and seriously disheartened by this situation. We take great pride in our protection efforts of young people and this is devastating. The school will inform parents today by e-mail of the investigation and arrest and will cooperate fully with authorities. In fact, the Pastor of Saint Monica Parish in Berwyn, Reverend William Trader, asked the FBI to immediately examine school computers as a precautionary measure. The safety and well-being of our students is our greatest concern. We work every day to provide the most complete spiritual, educational, nurturing and safe environment for the young people who attend our schools."

Mr. Bennett was the school technology teacher and the seventh and eighth grade science teacher at Saint Monica in Berwyn for the past nine years. He had the required criminal background checks and child abuse clearances. He also had attended the mandated Archdiocesan Safe Environment training. Prior to coming to Saint Monica in Berwyn, Mr. Bennett taught at Saint Bernadette Parish School in Drexel Hill, Delaware County (1993-1998). His contract will not be renewed at Saint Monica School in Berwyn nor will he ever be hired at any school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Saint Monica Parish School in Berwyn, Chester County is one of 182 elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This school and all of the schools of the Archdiocese are dedicated to improving efforts to protect young people.


Donna M. Farrell
Director of Communications

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