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Catholic school covered up wrestling coaches’ sexual abuse in NJ: lawsuit

ORADELL, N.J. — A former wrestler has sued his Catholic high school, claiming the New Jersey school and church officials conspired to cover up sexual and verbal abuse in its nationally recognized wrestling program.

The suit filed Monday alleges Bergen Catholic High School wrestling coaches shared pornographic images with team members, watched wrestlers strip naked and sent athletes inappropriate text messages. It also claims school and Archdiocese of Newark officials worked to shield the coaches.

In a statement issued Monday, Brother Brian Walsh — president of the school in Oradell — said the suit was “based on allegations that are unfounded, frivolous and untrue.” He said the school would vigorously defend itself.

School and archdiocese officials say they reported the abuse allegations to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office when they learned about them.