NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A New Orleans area man who grew up in the neighborhood around Jesuit High School, filed a lawsuit Friday accusing a former janitor’s assistant of sexually abusing him.
The alleged victim came forward after seeing a FOX 8 report detailing similar allegations last year.
“Over time he began to show more and more interest,” Brad Dupree said.
He says when he was ten years old, former Jesuit High School janitor Pete Modica groomed then lured him onto campus. That’s where Dupree says Modica sexually abused him several times over a two year period.
“He would always come out in the yard, he gave kids sodas, he’s invite us into the building,” Dupree said. “I lived around the corner. He came to my house and met my mother and exchanged phone numbers. Most of the abuse occurred in his office, the chemistry lab and changing shower area.”
Dupree, who adds Modica introduced him to an assistant janitor named Gary Sanchez, alleges Sanchez also molested him at Sanchez’s apartment, at City Park and raped him in a janitorial closet on the third floor of Jesuit High School.
“Gary Sanchez told me when I objected that if you tell anybody they will make fun of you," Dupree said.
Dupree’s attorney says the allegations are especially horrific, since both Modica and Sanchez had been convicted of other child crimes.
“Modica was convicted of performing oral sex on two boys at a Metairie playground and Jesuit hires him as a director of custodial services, shocking,” attorney Roger Stetter said.
For years, Dupree said he kept his nightmare secret due to a condition which court experts call “repressed memory."
“I started blacking it out as soon as I went on to junior high school,” Dupree said.
But Dupree said it all came flooding back when he saw the details of a 2018 FOX 8 story detailing the claims from another victim.
Last year, Richard Windmann, another boy who grew up in the neighborhood around Jesuit claimed Modica abused him around the same time frame.
Jesuit paid Windmann a $450,000 settlement.
Dupree said he came forward after seeing the interview with Windmann who now heads up the Louisiana Chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or SNAP.
“Seeing some of the similarities of the things that happened to me, these memories started trickling back,” Dupree said.
“I’m proud of them. When I came forward it was a hard decision to make,” Windmann said.
The timing of the new lawsuit is critical.
“You have one year from the date that you remember the abuse, and that clock started running about three weeks after the Windmann article came out,” Stetter said.
Dupree claims because of the abuse, he’s had difficulties with drugs and relationships. Problems he hopes to address.
“It think these people need to be held accountable," he said.
For it’s part, Jesuit said it’s saddened by any stories of abuse and is “unable to comment on prospective litigation.” Jesuit’s statement went on to say, “We have a process in place for people to come forward to tell their story and we’re committed to that process.”
It is not clear if this case will ever go to trial. Dupree’s attorney says mediation with Jesuit over an appropriate settlement will likely take place by the end of the year.
Peter Modica died in 1993.
Sanchez was convicted of sex crimes on several occasions and is currently incarcerated at Avoyelles Correctional Center until 2032.