A math teacher has been accused of filming an 11-year-old boy in a bathroom stall and sexually abusing him at Regis High School, a private, all-boys Jesuit school located at 55 East 84th Street, between Park and Madison avenues.
Olaya Lopez said her son (identified as “JC” in the lawsuit) was molested by 29-year-old Matthew Chicas when he was attending Regis’ REACH program, the New York Post reported. Regis describes REACH as “a transformative middle school program [which] empowers high-achieving young men from underserved communities as Catholic leaders committed to faith, scholarship, and service.”
Chicas was a teacher at Xavier High School in Chelsea when he participated in the REACH program. He was arrested in April and charged with attempted unlawful surveillance and endangering the welfare of a child following the April 15 incident.
Lopez also claims the distinguished prep school attempted to suppress the accusation. According to the court filing, Lopez’s son reported the alleged abuse to another teacher.
Regis High School Director of Communications Joe DeLessio refuted this claim, telling The Post that the school suspended Chicas from REACH, notified parents and the NYPD and is cooperating with the investigation. “We are deeply distressed that a REACH teacher may have violated the high standards that we expect our faculty and staff to uphold in their interaction with our students,” said DeLessio. “We have no greater commitment to our community than the safety and protection of every student in our care.”
Howard Shafan, Lopez’s attorney, told The Post, “It’s no secret that there has been a culture of abuse which has been cultivated at this institution. It goes back many years.” Shafran pointed to April 2021, when Regis High School fired its headmaster, Rev. Daniel Lahart, for sexual misconduct charges. Regis High School’s board of trustees concluded that Lahart “engaged in inappropriate and unwelcome verbal communications and physical conduct, all of a sexual nature, with adult members of the Regis community, including subordinates.”
Chicas declined to comment on the allegations. Xavier High School didn’t respond to requests for comment.