Photo courtesy of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas via Facebook.

Brendan Higgins, a former NBC5 and Channel 11 anchor, is one of nine Jesuit Preparatory School of Dallas alumni alleging priest sex abuse in a lawsuit.

Higgins and the alumni are suing the school, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and the Society of Jesus’ New Orleans province. The suit began in 2019 after dioceses and religious institutions released the names of priests “credibly accused” of committing sexual abuse, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The Rev. Patrick Koch, a friend of the Higgins family and a teacher at Jesuit, sexually abused Higgins, he told the News. Koch, who died in 2006, wasn’t named on the December 2018 list released by the Jesuits but was included on the Catholic Diocese of Dallas’ January 2019 list.

Higgins joined the lawsuit in May 2020 but has remained anonymous until now, when his two sons are adults.

“I feel anger. And I don’t have enough respect for the Jesuits to feel betrayal,” he told the News. “I just feel like they’re criminals.”

Higgins hopes that by giving up anonymity, he and the other plaintiffs will convince Jesuit leaders to address the issue.

The Advocate reached out to Jesuit Dallas for a statement and has not received a response. The school declined to comment on the News article but a spokesperson for the school, James Kramer, said, “We have no comment on your story beyond offering our most heartfelt sympathy for all victims of abuse.”

Higgins told the News that Koch was often invited to his home and asked Higgins into his office at school. Koch knew about Higgins’ fear of abandonment.

At first, Koch’s behavior toward Higgins included complimenting his looks and then touching his face. Later, the contact grew more sexual. During one summer, Koch received permission from Higgins’ parents to take him to the World’s Fair in New Orleans. Koch abused him there, too, and when they returned to Dallas, Koch told Higgins’ adopted mother, Sheila Higgins — the co-founder of Dallas’ Right to Life Committee — that Higgins had acted distant. Sheila scolded Higgins for being rude and impolite.

Higgins’ grades suffered afterward, and he was miserable at Jesuit. The school called him and his parents in for a meeting before Christmas break of his junior year. Higgins refused to return to the school and enrolled at public school.


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