CASTINE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Neal Gumpel was allegedly sexually assaulted by a priest at Maine Maritime Academy in 1974 -- it took him decades to open up about the incident, but now he is seeking justice and an advocacy group from New Jersey is helping.
”We're looking for more victims of a professor of Maine Maritime who abused children” Robert Hoatson said as he passed fliers out to everyone that walked and drove by him in downtown Castine. Hoatson is the president of Road to Recovery -- an organization dedicated to helping sexual assault victims seek justice and find peace. Now he is doing his part to help Neal Gumpel -- who says he was molested at Maine Maritime Academy 44 years ago. Those allegations are against Father Roy Drake.
"We're appealing to Maine Maritime and the Jesuits, especially of New England, to do something right for a change" Hoatson said.
Hoatson believes spreading the word -- even all these years later -- can motivate other victims to come forward. Gumpel was afraid to talk about his alleged assault for decades -- he stated it is the root of his depression and substance abuse problems. Now he protests in front of the Jesuit headquarters in New York and even hired a lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, a couple of years ago and met with Jesuit officials. Gumpel claims they refused to publicly apologize or settle with him. They have settled with another of Drake's victims.
"I'm turning 60 in a few months and for the last 43 years its been a living hell" Gumpel said. "If the Jesuits come together with the state of Maine and gave me 20 million dollars in a wheel barrow, I don't think its going to really change the dark thing that hangs over me".
However, any type of settlement would help Gumpel start the healing process -- something Hoatson says is crucial.
"That check says from Maritime Academy we believe you, hopefully we're sorry and we hope you can get on with your life" Hoatson said.
NEWS CENTER reached out to Maine Maritime for a comment -- this is what we received.
"More than two years ago the Academy received a letter alleging an assault that occurred over 4 decades ago. Those who wrote the letter offered little information about their allegation. The matter was referred to the Attorney General and we have not heard from Mr. Gumpel or his lawyer since October of 2014.
Any claim of this nature is troubling, and therefore, we looked into the complaint. The age of the allegation and lack of specifics severely limited our effort. We found some anecdotal information indicating that we employed a Roy Drake as a chemistry teacher but no evidence of a connection to a religious order. There were no documents and no knowledge among employees who might have known of him at the time that showed a claim or information that he may have posed a threat.
The Attorney General continues to be our point of contact regarding this matter"
An attorney for the Jesuits couldn't discuss Gumpel's case but say Drake was on a "leave of absence" at the time of the alleged abuse.