FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
In This Issue
3 4-5 6 7 8 9 10 11
The Georgetown 14 DANIEL C.
Letter From the Editor Dear readers, The 14 priests named in this report lived and worked in all corners of our university — not lurking, but playing prominent roles in the academic, spiritual and moral development of thousands of Georgetown students. They were chaplains-in-residence and professors, friends and mentors, advisers and administrators: Their centrality to the Georgetown community cannot be overstated or forgotten. Stronger than the influence of these 14 priests, though, is a nationwide community dedicated to the support and protection of survivors — and to preventing clerical abuse in the future. In writing and editing this report, we spoke to activists, journalists, lawyers, clergy and other experts, every one of whom was generous with their time and wisdom, not to mention courageous in their lifelong work. Above all, those most worthy of our gratitude and praise are the thousands of survivors of sexual abuse in the church, the hundreds who have risked their livelihood to come forward and the many who trusted The Hoya to help tell their stories. In bringing to light the abuse they have suffered, these survivors have called on all of us to take better care of each other. We can only hope our work has properly reflected their strength and bravery. Today, this story has 20,000 words, with many more to come. Whether you are a student, professor, minister, parent or alumnus, we invite you to share your reflections and frustrations as we in the Georgetown community grapple with the role our university has in the abuse crisis. Thank you for your support in the past, present and future. And thank you for reading. Sincerely, Will Simon
WALSH THOMAS M.
GANNON PROFILES IN
Methodology All 14 priests named in this report were identified by cross-referencing Georgetown University’s archival material with publicly available information including media reporting, the August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report and recent reports by Catholic Church authorities disclosing priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. BishopAccountability.org, a survivors’ advocacy organization that compiles and categorizes records and articles connected to abusers, served as an effective database from which to find more information about each priest. While a great deal of the information presented in this report is in credit to its meticulous work, every detail found on the website was verified by another source. The report also draws from the accounts of national, regional, local and campus media outlets across the United States. News media were critical not only in providing detail about abusers’ prior work and the allegations against them, but also in creating a database of sources in the activist community. The catalogues and records of the Catholic Church and Jesuit order were invaluable in identifying the locations of priests during each year of their ministry, including delineating between priests associated with Georgetown University and with the Woodstock Theological Center. The university’s collections of the Official Catholic Directory and catalogues of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus were especially instructive. By studying telephone directories, yearbooks, alumni magazines, schedules of classes and other archival material, university archives staff in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections and the staff of Woodstock Library have worked tirelessly to ensure this report is accurate in its understanding of each abuser’s connection to Georgetown. Their persistent dedication to establishing the historical record was unmatched in both commitment and depth. Further questions regarding the methodology of the report should be directed to GUpriests@thehoya.com.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
In their own words. “He then instructed me to say a number of Our Fathers and Hail Marys and gave me absolution for the sexual conduct in which we had engaged.” – Brendan Lyons
“They’re in a control position and we in our families are raised to trust them.”
“He always had such a soft, trusting, smooth voice.”
“He would encourage me to come and play. … My family liked him.”
– Victoria Lansdale Long
He would give me candy or call me special – and then he would molest me. – Theo Lawrence
– Bridget Lyons
“He was a sick guy.” – Sam Terzich “I woke up on his bed as he was getting dressed.” – Jane Doe M.B.
“He tried to spank me, he tried to hug me, none of those things I was interested in.”
“We have had to pick up our shattered lives with the fact we are forever changed.” – Mary Therese Lansdale Williams
On-campus confidential resources include Health Education Services (202-687-8949), located in Poulton Hall on the corner of 37th and P streets, and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (202-687-7080), located behind Darnall Hall. Additional off-campus resources include the D.C. Rape Crisis Center (202-333-7273), the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673), the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (877-762-7432) and SNAP’s Washington, D.C. chapter (703-801-6044).
– Dorothea Skalicky
“He was that grandfather figure I thought I could trust and I couldn’t.”
If you or anyone you know would like to receive a sexual assault forensic examination or other medical care, including emergency contraception, call the Network for Victim Recovery of D.C. (202-742-1727). To report sexual misconduct to the university, you can contact Georgetown’s interim Title IX coordinator (202687-9183). For more information, visit sexualassault. georgetown.edu. If you have information to share with The Hoya regarding this investigation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 421 Leavey Center, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 20057.
– Alberta Sena
SPECIAL ISSUE CREDITS
“I also finally realized after all my years of mental anguish and suffering, that he was to be blamed for the molestations on me, not I.”
– Susan Lansdale Peters
Maya Gandhi, Editor-in-Chief CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Yasmine Salam, Executive Editor Will Cassou, Katherine DeMatteo, Cat Kendall, Managing Editor Myroslav Dobroshynskyi, Harrison Hurt, Anna Kovacevich, Samuel Nelson, Design Editor Emily Shambaugh, Design Editor Mason Mandell, Sarah Mendelsohn, Yumna Naqvi, Sana Susanna Blount, Copy Chief Rahman, Riley Rogerson, Katrina Amber Gillette, Photo Editor Schmidt, Adam Shaham, Cady Will Simon, Issue Editor Stanton, Amanda van Orden
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
Georgetown Connected to Abuse Crisis Administration has not publicly acknowledged 10 abusive priests with university ties ADAM SHAHAM, WILL SIMON AND WILL CASSOU
Special to The Hoya and Hoya Staff Writers
Since Georgetown University’s founding, its students have learned from, lived with and sought the guidance of religious leaders on campus. Of those leaders, 14 have been credibly or plausibly accused of sexual abuse, according to an investigation by The Hoya. Their names are Fr. Engelbert M. Axer, S.J.; Fr. Michael L. Barber, S.J.; H. Cornell Bradley; Fr. Neil Carr, S.J.; Fr. Martin J. Casey, S.J.; Fr. Augustine J. Ferretti, S.J.; Fr. Thomas M. Gannon, S.J.; Fr. Jack Kennington; Bernard Knoth; Fr. Anthony McGinley; Fr. Neil P. McLaughlin, S.J.; Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell, S.J.; Fr. William J. Walsh, S.J.; and Sr. Lisa Zuccarelli. The credibility of accusations against each priest is based on settled lawsuits, the review of Catholic Church authorities or admissions of guilt. Each priest’s affiliation with Georgetown was verified through media reporting, public church statements or university archival material. Georgetown confirmed all 14 priests were at some point affiliated with the university in a March 13 statement to The Hoya. Yet the university has publicly recognized abuse allegations against only four. One retained the title of professor emeritus at Georgetown until this week.
IDENTIFYING THE 14 Of the 14 priests with Georgetown affiliations credibly or plausibly accused of sexual abuse, the university has acknowledged four — Barber, Casey, Ferretti and Walsh — drawing this list solely from a December 2018 report issued by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. The full list of Georgetown-affiliated clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse, however, reaches far beyond the Maryland Province’s report. O’Connell, who was not acknowledged in University President John J. DeGioia’s December statement, was a professor
emeritus until Wednesday afternoon, according to Georgetown’s website. University officials were first notified of O’Connell’s abuse in 2009, according to a Georgetown University spokesperson. Zuccarelli and Knoth both worked as administrators within the last 25 years — Zuccarelli in the School of Nursing from 1998 until 2003, and Knoth in the College from 1991 until 1995. Georgetown was notified of a credible allegation of sexual abuse against Zuccarelli in November 2018, according to a university spokesperson. Knoth publicly resigned as president of Loyola University New Orleans in 2003 amid an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor deemed credible that year by the Chicago Province, now the Midwest Province. The university also failed to acknowledge two Georgetown-connected Jesuits listed in the Maryland Province’s report: Bradley, who worked as a campus minister on the main campus for a year, and McLaughlin, who worked summers at Georgetown University Hospital for 18 years, were both listed as priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. Neither Bradley’s nor McLaughlin’s assignments at the university appear in the report, though the province has previously documented both. In the last four months, the other four Jesuit Provinces in the United States — Midwest, Northeast, West, and Central and Southern — also released lists of credibly accused priests, which included four more Jesuits with Georgetown connections. The Midwest Province’s report, published in December 2018, named two former Georgetown Jesuits, Knoth and Gannon. Knoth, who said he was contacted for the Georgetown presidency in a 2000 statement to The Maroon, Loyola New Orleans’ student newspaper, was credibly accused of abusing a minor in 1986. Gannon, the director of the Woodstock Theological Center in Lauinger Library from 1983 until 1986, was credibly accused of four separate periods of abuse,
two while teaching in high schools and two while working as a minister. Georgetown has also failed to acknowledge Axer, who represented the university on multiple occasions in the 1950s and was named in the West Province’s report, or Carr, a former student who went on to abuse two minors, according to the Northeast Province. McGinley was named in a 2018 Penn-
The question then “becomes, ‘What should a reasonable university do to ensure that there are no perpetrators who are being invited or otherwise teaching at the university?’” REBECCA RANDLES sylvania grand jury report documenting a two-year investigation into methods used by archdioceses across the state to protect known abusers in the church. He was a professor of child psychology and orthodontics between 1977 and 1987, according to university archival material. Kennington, who worked at Woodstock from 1981 until 1983, was publicly accused in 2002 of sexually abusing two siblings and has faced multiple lawsuits, including one filed last month. Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged either McGinley’s or Kennington’s work at the university.
PRAY AND DELAY Georgetown’s response to the clerical abuse crisis has mirrored that of the church for nearly two decades, both in rhetoric and action — often in contradic-
tion to the efforts of student activists. In January 2002, a Boston Globe investigation revealed a coordinated effort among powerful Boston priests to hide known sexual abusers within the clergy by shuffling predatory priests between assignments after learning of their behavior. This system protected abusers from facing criminal charges and often helped maintain their powerful positions within the church. Georgetown formally responded to the Globe’s investigation three months later, in April 2002, with a Mass in Dahlgren Chapel to pray for the healing of survivors and abusers. In a discussion following the service, university chaplain Rev. Adam Bunnell called on the Georgetown community to recognize the immense scope of the crisis. “We planned this event to shed light on the truth,” Bunnell said in his sermon. Since 2002, the sexual abuse crisis has extended beyond Boston to hundreds of dioceses across the United States and the world, revealing similar patterns in which church officials silenced survivors while protecting their abusers in the clergy. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has counted 6,846 priests credibly accused of abuse and over 19,000 survivors, according to church watchdog Bishop Accountability. The FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime has documented a strategy throughout the Catholic Church to maintain the stature of abusers, including closed-door settlements, opaque disciplinary proceedings and the continuous transfer of “troubled” priests. As coverage of the crisis has developed since 2002, Georgetown’s response has stayed consistent. After the Pennsylvania grand jury report, DeGioia implored the university community to develop a safer environment for survivors of abuse. “The most vulnerable among us must be protected,” DeGioia wrote. “They deserve the very best work we are
William J. Walsh
William J. Walsh
1966 to 1967
1974 to 1976
H. Cornell Bradley Neil Carr 1937
Augustine J. Ferretti 1944 to 1947
Engelbert M. Axer
1946 to 1949
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
capable of providing.” The letter did not mention Theodore McCarrick, who was awarded an honorary degree in 2004, or Donald Wuerl, who was awarded one in 2014. Both were named in the grand jury report last year — McCarrick for incidents of abuse, and Wuerl for protecting McCarrick’s status in the church. Almost immediately, students called on the university to take accountability for its tangential involvement in the crisis. By Sept. 21, only 17 days after DeGioia’s message, 1,376 Georgetown students signed a petition calling for the revocation of McCarrick and Wuerl’s honorary degrees. The editorial boards of The Hoya and the Georgetown Voice wrote in support of the petition. But for months, Georgetown’s response focused on the future of the Catholic Church, rather than students’ calls for action. The university’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life convened three dialogues last fall, intended to outline paths forward for the Church to address the issues presented in the grand jury report. None of the events was oriented toward Georgetown’s involvement in the crisis. Similar to the 2002 Mass, panelists called on the Georgetown community to pray for both survivors and abusers, with frequent condemnations of the act of sexual abuse. While Georgetown invited panelists to discuss the abuse crisis, other Catholic universities that had previously bestowed honors upon McCarrick took action to condemn his behavior. The same month as the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, Fordham University and The Catholic University of America rescinded the honorary degrees they had awarded McCarrick. Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, recognized the trauma the university’s honorees had inflicted on survivors. “In taking these steps, we acknowledge the extraordinary and long-lasting harm done to children who were sexually abused by clergy members,” McShane wrote. “While we can never fully repair the sins of the past, we must respect the experience of abuse survivors.” Georgetown waited for the Vatican to strip McCarrick of his status as a mem-
Michael L. Barber 1976 to 1978
LIZZY MARCINKOWSKI, SAMUEL NELSON AND ELOISE OWEN/THE HOYA
ber of the clergy Feb. 19, seven months after the publication of the grand jury report, before revoking his degree.
TRUSTING THE CHURCH
Priests with records of abuse, including several Jesuits sent to Georgetown, have been transferred to Catholic and Jesuit universities without university officials being notified of the priest’s previous abuse. Though Georgetown’s hiring practices for Jesuits include criminal background checks, these checks do not list internal church settlements with survivors, leaving hiring committees in the dark when it comes to an abusive priest’s past transgressions. In hiring Jesuits, Georgetown must often rely on the honesty of senior officials within the order to disclose documentation of abusive priests. Standard protocol for transferring priests between dioceses and provinces requires the bishop who holds authority over the priest certify they are in good standing within their religious order. This certification is typically required before a priest is allowed to perform public ministry within a new diocese.
In many cases, however, bishops have failed to notify local clergy of an incoming priest’s past abuse, leaving Georgetown without access to records that a Jesuit residing on or near its campus may be facing credible allegations of sexual assault. Knoth, Gannon and O’Connell came to Georgetown following allegations of sexual assault that were not reported to university officials. Beyond letters certifying good standing that depend upon the honesty of bishops, who have significant autonomy under canon law, Georgetown has hardly any ability to obtain an incoming Jesuit’s full record, according to Fr. John Beal, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America. In addition to requiring criminal background checks, Georgetown also mandates any students, faculty, staff or Jesuits who interact with minors on campus or in university-affiliated programs abide by its protection of minors policy, according to a university spokesperson. The policy requires training to identify and prevent abuse of minors and mandates reporting of any suspect-
William J. Walsh
1981 to 1983
1996 to 1988
Thomas M. Gannon
1983 to 1986
1990 to 1995
Anthony McGinley 1977 to 1987
ed violations of the policy to the university. If church officials misrepresent a priest’s standing within his religious order or fail to disclose his record, a university would face minimal liability, according to Rebecca Randles, a lawyer who represented two survivors of O’Connell’s abuse. “If someone is intentionally hiding the fact that there have been allegations in the past, then the universities do, unbeknownst to them, accept these perpetrators,” Randles said in an interview with The Hoya. “The question then becomes, What should a reasonable university do to ensure that there are no perpetrators who are being invited or otherwise teaching at the university?’” Church officials cannot be depended on to hold abusive priests accountable, according to lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented over 1,000 survivors of clerical abuse. “History has taught us that the Catholic Church cannot self-police,” Garabedian said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “They create their own criteria for naming an abuser.”
*Colors serve only to exhibit differentiation between figures
Lisa Zuccarelli 1994 to 2003
Neil P. McLaughlin
1965 to 1983
1989 to 2019
Martin J. Casey 1973 to 2006 EMILY SHAMBAUGH/THE HOYA
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
Decade After Public Accusation, O’Connell Loses GU Title WILL CASSOU
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell, S.J., once a popular professor in the Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus, was removed from his position as president of St. Louis University in 1978 after an allegation of sexual abuse. His work at Jesuit universities, however, continued for another 20 years, bringing him to Loyola University Chicago and Georgetown University, which only began the process of revoking his title of professor emeritus of psychology this week. Though notified of credible allegations against O’Connell in 2009, Georgetown University did not decide to rescind O’Connell’s professor emeritus title until Wednesday, eight days after receiving questions from The Hoya for this story. Now 90, O’Connell served as a chaplain-inresidence in Harbin Hall and taught undergraduate psychology courses at Georgetown between 1989 and 1998, serving as chair of the psychology department for six of those years, according to university archival material. After leaving the university in 1998, he was granted professor emeritus status, a title he held for 16 years after his first legal settlement with a survivor of his abuse. Two women have settled cases with the Catholic Church regarding O’Connell’s sexual abuse, and a third has publicly accused him of sexual assault. Both cases have been acknowledged publicly by other Jesuit institutions where O’Connell worked — St. Louis University and Fordham University, the latter of which banned him from campus. O’Connell now lives in the St. Louis University Jesuit Community, according to current Jesuit catalogues. The university has not issued any public statement regarding O’Connell’s abuse since details of his first private settlement with a survivor of his abuse were made public in 2010.
While accompanying study abroad students on a weekend retreat to Rome in 1983, O’Connell offered a drink to a student from College of the Holy Cross. From that point forward, Jane Doe M.B. has no recollection of that evening until she regained consciousness on a bed the next morning to find O’Connell getting dressed beside her. After suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, she settled privately with the Catholic Church 20 years later, The New York Times reported in 2010 after she alleged O’Connell violated that settlement. The woman, referred to in the 2010 lawsuit as Jane Doe M.B., first brought her accusations to the Missouri Province in 2003. The province found Jane Doe M.B.’s allegations credible, and that year she settled for $181,000 with the Missouri Province, which has since been absorbed into the U.S. Central and Southern Province. O’Connell’s 1978 resignation from SLU was prompted by an allegation of sexual abuse, he said in a phone interview with The Hoya, his first interview since his two cases were settled. After his resignation, he was transferred to Loyola University Chicago. Jane Doe M.B. alleges she was abused while O’Connell was working on Loyola Chicago’s Rome campus. “There was an allegation of sexual abuse,” O’Connell said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “That was the allegation. So they removed me to avoid publicity.” When asked for a comment on allegations against him, O’Connell said “there’s no guilt involved” and laughed. Another survivor, referred to in a 2012 lawsuit as Jane Doe 929, accused O’Connell of sexually assaulting her in the 1960s while he was teaching at St. Louis University. Four years after filing suit, Jane Doe 929 reached a settlement for $200,000 in 2016, paid for by SLU and the Missouri Province. Both cases brought public attention to O’Connell’s abuse, including coverage from
Hoya Staff Writer
The New York Times in 2010 and the advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in 2016. Despite the high-profile nature of the cases, Georgetown allowed O’Connell to maintain his professor emeritus status, without acknowledging the settlements or media reporting, until March 2019. O’Connell has published research under Georgetown’s name as recently as 2016 and is currently working on a project for which he planned to credit the university as of his March 13 interview.
Jesuits — along with “ Catholic hierarchy — will talk about and expose the lies of others, but not look at their own actions unless they are caught and exposed.” JANE DOE M.B. “I always give the credit to Georgetown. Because my status is official emeritus from Georgetown University, so it has to be the official status that is noted for the author,” O’Connell said. “Right now we’re working on an article on dialogue and one on laughter, the nature of laughter.” O’Connell’s association with Georgetown after details of the settlement became publicly available is made more disturbing by his past work teaching students who may become therapists or psychologists, according to Rebecca Randles, who represented both Jane Doe M.B. and Jane Doe 929 in their suits against the Jesuits. “To maintain him as a professor emeritus at a university where you’re trying to teach students appropriate and ethical behaviors as a practicing therapist is beyond unbelievable,” Randles said in a phone interview with The Hoya.
‘THE LYING HAS TO STOP’
YE DOOMESDAY BOOK
Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell, S.J., worked at Georgetown University as a professor, chaplain-inresidence and department chair. He was a professor emeritus at Georgetown until Wednesday.
After learning O’Connell had been allowed to lecture at Georgetown and Fordham, as well as perform Mass in Germany and St. Louis, Jane Doe M.B. sued the Central and Southern Province. The 2010 lawsuit, settled in 2016, was the first ever breach of contract case related to the Catholic Church’s abuse crisis. In addition to restricting O’Connell’s ability to perform public ministry, Jane Doe M.B.’s settlement forbade him from entering environments in which he could establish an individual relationship with a woman. The Jesuits also permitted O’Connell to visit Georgetown and Fordham without informing the schools’ administrations of the credible allegation of abuse against him. The order has argued the lectures did not
violate the settlement because he would not have enough time to form a relationship with female students at the universities, according to Randles. The Central and Southern Province declined to comment to The Hoya. After discovering O’Connell’s campus lectures at Georgetown and Fordham, Jane Doe M.B. wrote letters to the presidents of both universities in 2009. Fordham responded by banning O’Connell from its campus, Fordham’s assistant vice president for communications Bob Howe wrote in an email to The Hoya. Georgetown received a notification in 2009 of allegations against O’Connell, a spokesperson confirmed in a March 13 email to The Hoya. Only one other suit for violations of private settlements over clerical abuse was filed in 2011. Breach of contract cases allow the usually private details of church settlements to be disclosed publicly. Beginning in 2009, Jane Doe M.B. documented her journey to court on a personal blog after her revelations about alleged violations of her settlement. The suit was not simply about personal healing, but larger systemic injustices within the church, Jane Doe M.B. wrote on her blog. “Jesuits — along with Catholic hierarchy — will talk about and expose the lies of others, but not look at their own actions unless they are caught and exposed,” Jane Doe M.B. wrote. “It’s no fun, any of this, and the cost on me is huge … but the lying has to stop, and I will make sure of that.”
PATTERNS OF ABUSE EMERGE Jane Doe 929, now nearly 70, filed her 2012 suit against the Missouri Province after reading details of Jane Doe M.B.’s lawsuit in a New York Times article, which triggered repressed memories of O’Connell’s abuse, according to Randles. During counselling sessions between 1967 and 1971, O’Connell, then an SLU professor, made Jane Doe 929 sit on his lap while he masturbated and said sex would bring her closer to God, according to the Riverfront Times, a St. Louis newspaper. Inspired by Christine Blasey Ford, who testified that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in a hearing for his confirmation to the Supreme Court, a third survivor brought another public allegation against O’Connell in October 2018. O’Connell recommended Virginia Boller, now 75, see him for one-on-one counselling in 1973 and during sessions invited her to sit on his lap while he rocked back and forth in a rocking chair. The abuse continued until he was named president of SLU in 1974. As a chaplain-in-residence and chair of the psychology department at Georgetown, O’Connell had regular access to students in search of counselling. Abusive priests often take advantage of those seeking their advice, according to David Pooler, a professor at Baylor University researching clerical abuse of adults. “In my research, about 60 percent of the time, this kind of abuse occurs in a counselling relationship,” Pooler said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “It’s these really highly intensive interactions with people where some of the leaders end up exploiting people.”
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, RIDAY, FEBRUARY 15,2019 2019
THE HOYA HOYA THE
‘Sick Pleasure’: GU Jesuit Abused Nieces for Decades RILEY ROGERSON Hoya Staff Writer
“We have a nightmarish fear that Father Walsh may sexually molest innocent female students, and little girls in the Georgetown area.” Sarah Lynne Landsdale was 5 years old when her uncle, Fr. William J. Walsh, S.J., first molested her while wearing his clerical clothing. Approximately 40 years later, in 1996, she and four of her sisters told the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus that Walsh had abused each of them hundreds of times. And two years later, in 1998, she and her sisters called a press conference to plead for their uncle’s removal from Georgetown University’s campus. Walsh, who served as a Georgetown professor during the 1966-67 school year and conducted research on campus from 1996 until 1998, sexually abused minors in at least four locations — including Washington, D.C. — over the course of four decades, according to a December 2018 report issued by the Maryland Province that deemed allegations against him credible. Among the survivors of Walsh’s sexual abuse are five of his nieces, who brought their allegations to the province in July 1996 while he was working in China. The province removed Walsh from the ministry that year, prohibiting him from saying Mass and transferred him to the Woodstock Theological Center, a Jesuitrun research facility in the basement of Georgetown’s Lauinger Library, where he worked until 1998. Woodstock was operated by the Maryland Province until its close in 2013. From the 1940s through the 1960s, Walsh, who died in December, abused each of the five sisters hundreds of times after their father passed away when they were between ages 6 and 14, according to public statements the sisters made in 1998. Walsh researched theology as an administrative assistant at Woodstock from 1996 to 1998. During this time period, he lived in the Woodstock Residential Community, two blocks from Georgetown’s front gates. Walsh also underwent a treatment program while working at Woodstock, according to a Maryland Province statement released in response to the the Landsdale sisters’ April 20, 1998 press conference. The program included attending weekly individual and group therapy, contacting a sponsor on a regular basis and spending one week at at treatment center in Silver Spring, Md., every year, according to the 1998 statement of Susan Landsdale Peters, one of Walsh’s nieces, based on her conversations with the Maryland Province. The university first learned of sexual abuse allegations against Walsh through news reports of the Landsdales’ press conferences, according to a March 13 email from a university spokesperson. Georgetown responded to the sisters’
statements in a memo released the same day, offering sympathy and clarifying that Walsh’s employment was not directly linked to the university. The statement did not address Walsh’s access to Georgetown students while he worked in the Woodstock Theological Center, Denis Ventriglia, the Landsdales’ lawyer at the time, said in a phone interview with The Hoya.
“ Father Walsh would
get me alone to take advantage of my innocence and molest me. I remember how he always had such a soft, trusting, smooth voice.” VICTORIA LANDSDALE LONG
“Georgetown University should be asked: What vetting of Father Walsh did Georgetown University perform prior to allowing him in the Woodstock Theological Center, located in the Lauinger Library?” Ventriglia said. Two decades later, the university declined to comment on any oversight of hiring at Woodstock at the time, saying only that the Maryland Province owned and operated the research center. The 1998 university statement also did not reference Walsh’s past work as a Georgetown professor. Decades earlier, Walsh taught “Christian Marriage,” an undergraduate theology class at Georgetown during the 196667 academic year. University President John J. DeGioia noted Walsh’s year teaching at Georgetown in a universitywide email following the release of the Maryland Province’s report. Walsh also lived in the Georgetown Jesuit Community from 1974 to 1976, an assignment undocumented by the Maryland Province but confirmed through the Official Catholic Directories from those years. Though there are no abuse accusations against Walsh from his time at Georgetown, the Maryland Province has documented credible allegations from the 1950s through the 1980s, including instances of abuse in Washington, D.C. Five of the Landsdale sisters were abused by Walsh, but for decades, each was unaware of their uncle’s abuse of the others. While assigned to Xiamen University in China in 1996, Walsh sent a letter to a family member describing his sexual fantasies about an orphaned 3-year-old
girl, according to Peters. “I felt nauseated when I thought about this poor defenseless Chinese child,” Peters said in her 1998 statement. “I also finally realized after all my years of mental anguish and suffering, that he was to be blamed for the molestations on me, not I.” In their 50s, five of the Landsdale sisters — Walsh’s nieces — realized they had all been molested by their uncle only after reading the letter. In July 1996, Peters contacted the Maryland Province in Baltimore to report the letter and their abuse as children, according to the Maryland Province’s 1998 statement. The Maryland Province did not remove Walsh from Woodstock until the sisters’ public statements two years later. At that point, he was sent to live in Ferdinand Wheeler House, a Jesuit residence in Baltimore, where his movement and actions were restricted by the Maryland Province. He was then transferred to Colombiere Jesuit Community in Baltimore, where he lived until his death. Fr. John Langan, S.J., a friend of Walsh’s who worked with him at Woodstock and lived with him at Colombiere, was surprised by the accusations against Walsh. Langan is a philosophy professor at Georgetown and serves as the university’s Cardinal Bernardin chair of Catholic social thought. “He was a very kind, helpful person, rather disciplined and dignified but also quite good humored, and he could be quite funny and had a great love of birds,” Langan said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “This was a situation which I think was bound to be puzzling because the general patterns of the man’s life were quite praiseworthy, and I don’t know that anybody would find it easy to fit the accusations into the general picture of how he lived and dealt with people.” Walsh previously had a “problem” with an individual and received three to four
months of psychiatric care before Peters reported her and her sisters’ abuse to the Jesuits in 1996, according to Peters’ statement. Walsh abused one of the sisters, Victoria Landsdale Long, over 200 times throughout her youth, usually while wearing his collar, according to Long’s 1998 statement. “Father Walsh would get me alone to take advantage of my innocence and molest me,” Long said. “I remember how he always had such a soft, trusting, smooth voice while his hands, trembling, did sinful outrageous acts to my young virginal body.” One of Long’s sisters, Mary Therese Landsdale Williams, recounted similar abusive encounters with Walsh, whom she referred to as “Uncle Billy,” in her 1998 statement, written with two of her sisters. “Father Walsh, also our Uncle Billy, took advantage of our youth and vulnerabilities for his own perverted sexual pleasure and left us with defective souls. It disgusts us to think that our childhood was sacrificed for his moments of sick pleasures,” Williams said. “We have had to pick up our shattered lives with the fact we are forever changed.” In 1997, Peters filed a criminal complaint against Walsh in Prince George’s County, Md., which was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. Before Walsh died at 95 in December, he lived comfortably at Colombiere Jesuit Community in Baltimore with Langan. “It is fairly new and it’s a quite pleasant, well-designed complex. It’s a good location; it’s within the city of Baltimore,” Langan said. “There are a lot of birds, a lot of trees and very pleasant to live in.” Colombiere, which opened in 2011, houses about 40 retired Jesuits. The community is within a 1-mile radius of four primary schools.
BISHOP’S LATIN SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Fr. William J. Walsh, S.J., was assigned to Woodstock Theological Center in 1996 when the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus was informed of sexual abuse allegations against him.
THE HOYA 15, 2019 B8 FEBRUARY RIDAY,
FRIDAY, MARCH 2019 THE HOYA 15,B7
Thomas M. Gannon He abused minors and adults across three institutions. Then he taught sociology at Georgetown. MYROSLAV DOBROSHYNSKYI Hoya Staff Writer
In 1983, Fr. Thomas M. Gannon, S.J., received the faculty member of the year award from Loyola University Chicago for his work as chair of the sociology department. The same year, Gannon left Loyola to become a professor at Georgetown University and the director of the Woodstock Theological Center in Lauinger Library — a move that came after Gannon sexually abused a minor at a church in Highland, Ind., that year. That accusation, deemed credible by the U.S. Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus in 2018, is one of several against Gannon, both before and after his time at Georgetown from 1983 to 1986. Gannon, who died in 2011, also sexually abused minors while teaching at an Ohio high school in the 1960s and at two parishes in the 1990s, according to the Midwest Province. While he was chair of the sociology department at Loyola, Gannon — who would later teach sociology to undergraduates at Georgetown — allegedly sexually assaulted and harassed at least two graduate students, allegations that were reported at the time to Loyola administrators in the Jesuit order, but were not public until now. Gannon taught Georgetown undergraduate classes on comparative social structures and the sociology of religion from 1983 until 1986, according to archives of class schedules from those years. During his time at Georgetown, Gannon lived in a Jesuit residence two blocks from the front gates and worked as the director of the Woodstock Theological Center, a research center located in the basement of Lauinger Library that was managed by the Maryland Province of the Jesuit order until the center closed in 2013. Georgetown, which first learned of the allegations against Gannon from the Midwest Province’s report Dec. 17, 2018, has not publicly acknowledged his past work on campus. As chair of Loyola’s sociology department from 1972 to 1983, Gannon advised graduate students on their research projects. Two graduate students studying in the department under Gannon were harassed by him in the 1970s, they said in interviews with The Hoya. They reported Gannon’s actions to Jesuit administrators, who dismissed the complaints, leading both students to leave the university. Gannon routinely invited one of those students, Sam Terzich, to his off-campus apartment while Terzich was conducting research in the early 1970s. During Terzich’s last visit, Gannon made unwelcome advances on him. Gannon’s harassment included a physical
attack where he attempted to unbuckle Terzich’s belt and pull down his pants. Gannon said he wanted to spank Terzich and pull him over his knee. Terzich resisted the attack, pushed Gannon to the floor and left the apartment. “He was a sick guy,” Terzich said in a phone interview with The Hoya. In the subsequent weeks, Gannon harassed Terzich, calling him repeatedly and showing up to his apartment. Terzich avoided Gannon, rejecting his calls and not answering the door at his apartment. Communicating through other students, Gannon threatened to revoke Terzich’s research assistant position if he did not meet with him. Terzich informed two professors and Fr. Robert McNamara, S.J., then Loyola’s vice chancellor, about the events and the continued harassment. McNamara did not offer support, though he was not surprised by the assertions of Gannon’s behavior, according to Terzich. McNamara, who died in 1985, supported Gannon, citing the latter’s esteemed status in both the university and the Chicago Province, which has since been combined with other regions to form the Midwest Province. Terzich left Loyola during his first year of graduate studies because of McNamara’s lack of support. After leaving school, Terzich moved, changed phone numbers and did not hear from Gannon. When Loyola contacted Terzich several months later regarding the status of his research, Terzich informed them of Gannon’s actions and the circumstances of his departure. The university never followed up. SAM TERZICH One of Terzich’s fellow graduate students at Loyola in the 1970s, referred to by the pseudonym Stephen, was also sexually harassed by Gannon, he said in a phone interview with The Hoya. Gannon invited Stephen to his apartment by passing messages through his receptionist, who warned students it was in their best interest to meet with Gannon, the chair of their department. After rejecting several attempts by Gannon to meet with him, Stephen went to the professor’s apartment, where Gannon tried to spank and hug him. Angered by these unwanted advances, the student pushed Gannon away. After this incident, Stephen informed an on-campus community of Jesuits and thenpresident of Loyola University Chicago, Fr. Raymond C. Baumhart, S.J., of Gannon’s predatory behavior. Baumhart sent an administrator to speak with the student, and contacted Gannon about the student’s complaint, according to Stephen. Stephen told the administrator that
“ He was a sick guy.”
WOODSTOCK LIBRARY ARCHIVES
Fr. Thomas M. Gannon, S.J., abused minors at four institutions, according to the Midwest Province. He also sexually harassed graduate students as a department chair at Loyola University Chicago. many male students were uncomfortable with Gannon’s behavior and said they were considering leaving the program because of him. After no disciplinary action was taken against Gannon, Stephen left the graduate program after one semester. On Baumhart’s behalf, Fr. Robert J. Scullin, S.J., the superior of the Jesuit Community in Michigan where Baumhart lives, declined to comment. In 1983, Gannon left Loyola and began his work at Georgetown, where he taught undergraduate students for three years. Gannon sexually abused minors at two institutions before coming to Georgetown and two more institutions after, according to a report by the Midwest Province released in December 2018 that deemed the allegations against Gannon credible. The first known abuse, committed between 1961 and 1966, was at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland where Gannon taught. Gannon went on to sexually abuse a minor in 1983 at St. James Church in Gary, Ind., before the province reassigned him to the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, where he served as director from 1983 to 1986. After leaving Georgetown, Gannon also sexually abused minors in the 1990s at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and Holy Family Church, both in Chicago. The Midwest Province, which was sent questions for this article on March 8, has not commented on when it received allegations against Gannon. Before 2002, when the Boston Globe’s Spotlight report revealed the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse cover-up, Woodstock did not commonly check for sexual
abuse allegations when hiring a Jesuit, according to Fr. John Langan, S.J., who was acting director of Woodstock after Gannon left in 1986 and worked as a senior fellow at the center from 1976 until 1995, according to archival records of the Maryland Province. “Woodstock is a research institution, and so it doesn’t have a well-defined clientele of students or faculty,” Langan said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “So there is not the kind of direct pastoral responsibility or the likelihood of situations that are focused on the discussions of the abuse of children. I think most of the time we didn’t think much about that.” Gannon was also the director of studies and religious formation for the Chicago Province of the Jesuits, now the Midwest Province, from 1970 to 1980. For six of those years, he was elected chairman of the national policy group for Jesuit training in the United States, where he also acted as a consultant to the Jesuit superior general in Rome. Gannon’s positions of power in the province and the university provided him access to students dependent on his advice and counsel. These types of relationships, in which a priest advises someone under their supervision, enable abusers to draw on their embedded power to take advantage of adults, according to David Pooler, a professor at Baylor University researching clerical abuse of adults. “When someone becomes 18, we make some assumptions that aren’t true, which is that they can provide consent,” Pooler said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “And they can’t when there’s that kind of power differential.”
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
Profiles in Brief: Abusive Priests on Campus
14 Catholic priests in Georgetown’s past have been accused of sexual abuse SPECIAL ISSUE STAFF See Credits on B3
ENGELBERT M. AXER In 1958, the University of Washington inaugurated Charles Odegaard as its 25th president. Representing Georgetown University among Odegaard’s guests was Fr. Engelbert M. Axer, S.J., a former professor of religion and doctoral student at Georgetown University. Axer, who died in 1989, sexually abused a boy during a summer ministry program two years prior to the inauguration, an allegation made public in 2006 and deemed credible by the Archdiocese of Seattle in March 2017. Two years after the allegation was deemed credible and 13 after it was made public, Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged its connections to Axer. MICHAEL L. BARBER Fr. Michael L. Barber, S.J. served as a chaplain at the Georgetown University Hospital from 1976 to 1978 in the department of pastoral care, where he assisted patients and staff in their religious life. In 1994, Barber, now 76, admitted to sexual abuse of a minor, according to a December 2018 disclosure by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. University President John J. DeGioia first acknowledged Barber’s time at Georgetown Hospital in a December 2018 email, 24 years after Barber was removed from ministry, stripping him of the ability to say Mass. H. CORNELL BRADLEY In between two periods of abusing minors as an administrator and a teacher at Gonzaga College High School in the 1960s and 1970s, former Jesuit priest H. Cornell Bradley worked as a campus minister at Georgetown. Neither the university nor the Maryland Province, which has deemed allegations against Bradley credible, has publicly acknowledged his time at Georgetown since his abuse was made public in 2006. Bradley, now 80, lived two blocks from the university’s front gates from 1972 until 1976, according to a December 2018 report issued by the Maryland Province.
NEIL CARR Before embarking on his path toward ordination as a Jesuit priest, Fr. Neil Carr, S.J., began his Jesuit education with a year at Georgetown. Carr, who died in 2013, enrolled at the university in 1937, according to media reports of his 1966 appointment to a top position in the Buffalo Province. Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged Carr’s time at the university since allegations against him from the 1970s and 1980s were reported to the Jesuit order and deemed credible in 2005, and first made public in September 2018. MARTIN J. CASEY During his storied career in Washington, D.C., Fr. Martin J. Casey, S.J., baptized the son of a president, held central roles in the Georgetown Jesuit Community and was buried on Georgetown’s campus. First, however, Casey was the pastor at Holy Trinity Church on N Street, less than a quarter-mile from Georgetown, where he faced an accusation of sexual abuse against a child, deemed plausible by the Maryland Province in a report issued December 2018. Casey lived in Wolfington Hall until his death in 2006, and his funeral was held in Dahlgren Chapel. DeGioia first acknowledged Casey’s allegation in a December 2018 email. AUGUSTINE J. FERRETTI Fr. Augustine J. Ferretti, S.J., began his career as a Jesuit priest at Georgetown. Though accusations of abuse would not emerge for six decades after he left the university, Ferretti would eventually become one of the church’s most serial abusers, with dozens of accusations spanning decades. Ferretti, who died in 1982, did not ultimately complete his planned doctorate in philosophy, but he studied at Georgetown from 1944 until 1947, according to Jesuit records. DeGioia first acknowledged Ferretti’s time at Georgetown in a December 2018 email, three years after church authorities in Helena, Mont., named Ferretti in a report on abusive priests. JACK KENNINGTON Christine Lyons saw Fr. Jack Kennington as a close family friend. Her neighbors in
Manhattan’s Lower East Side saw him as a proud advocate for people struggling with drug addiction and a popular priest in the community throughout the 1980s. All the while, Brendan and Bridget Lyons, Christine’s children, knew “Uncle Jack” as a sexual abuser. The abuse, which spanned from 1984 to 1987, began a year after Kennington finished his assignment at the Woodstock Theological Center, a research center operated in the basement of Lauinger Library at the time. Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged Kennington’s work on campus since the allegations against him were made public in 2002. BERNARD KNOTH Until a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor surfaced in 2003 from his time as principal of an Indianapolis high school, most who knew former Jesuit priest Bernard Knoth regarded him as affable and devoted. Knoth, who was removed from the priesthood in 2009 following multiple allegations, worked at Georgetown from 1990 to 1995 as an assistant dean in the College, a professor of education and a chaplain-in-residence for freshman students in Darnall Hall. Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged its connection to Knoth, now 70, since the allegations against him were made public. ANTHONY MCGINLEY Fr. Anthony McGinley, a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania, sexually abused young boys for 30 years, according to a 2018 report on clerical abuse
published by a Pennsylvania grand jury. For five of those years, he taught courses in child psychology at Georgetown University. Multiple young boys were sexually abused by McGinley between 1953 and 1982, according to the report, which documented priests in Pennsylvania whose accusations of sexual abuse were covered up by church officials in the state. Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged McGinley’s time teaching at the university from 1977 until 1981, which overlaps with his reported period of abuse. NEIL P. MCLAUGHLIN Fr. Neil McLaughlin, S.J., sexually abused two minors, including his niece, according to the Maryland Province. He then went on to work at Georgetown University Hospital for 18 years. McLaughlin, now 91, worked during summers as a member of the hospital’s pastoral care program from 1965 until 1983, according to a 2010 Maryland Province statement. Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged McLaughlin’s work at the hospital since allegations against him were made public in 1990 and first deemed credible in 2010. LISA ZUCCARELLI On Nov. 27, 2018, Georgetown was notified that Sr. Lisa Zuccarelli, a former associate dean, professor and chaplain-in-residence at the university, had been credibly accused of sexual abusing a minor 30 years earlier; Georgetown has not publicly acknowledged the allegation. In 1998, Zuccarelli was named director of academic enrichment and student life in the newly created Office of Student and Academic Affairs, a position she held until she left Georgetown in 2003. In her administrative role, Zuccarelli, now 65, often worked with students, according to Dorrie Fontaine, Zuccarelli’s supervisor at the time.
At least 14 priests with connections to Georgetown University have been credibly or plausibly accused of sexual abuse. Full profiles of each priest named in this report are available online at thehoya.com/TheGeorgetown14.
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FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
Silence Fails GU Community Reckoning With Jesuit Education Georgetown University has irrevocably harmed survivors and students by failing to identify and acknowledge former university priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. University President John J. DeGioia named four abusive priests in Georgetown’s history in a universitywide email Dec. 17. Since then, The Hoya has identified 10 more, including two associate deans from the last 25 years and Fr. Daniel O’Connell, S.J., who remained a professor emeritus until Wednesday afternoon. The abuse allegations against all 14 priests are a matter of public record, and most of their work at Georgetown can be found in the university’s own archives. Still, Georgetown has been willfully ignorant in recognizing the extent of its connection to the clerical abuse crisis. Georgetown can no longer hide from its disturbing past in the clergy sex abuse crisis. The university must publicly acknowledge and condemn the other 10 abusive priests to allow the campus to move forward and take accountability for its negligence. Four priests appeared in highly publicized reports from Jesuit provinces other than the Maryland province, one has received media attention, including for a suit filed against him last month, and two cases were brought directly to the office of the president — O’Connell in 2009, and Sr. Lisa Zuccarelli in November 2018. Though DeGioia informed students of four priests listed on a December 2018 report released by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, he failed to mention two other Georgetown-connected Jesuits on the same report: H. Cornell Bradley, a campus minister for a year, and Fr. Neil McLaughlin, S.J., who worked in Georgetown University Hospital for 18 years. Georgetown could have easily accessed all of this publicly available information. Yet, senior officials irresponsibly turned a blind eye to the university’s own history. This inexcusable negligence demonstrates a lack of interest in confronting Georgetown’s past with clerical abuse. Though the university was aware of allegations against O’Connell in 2009, he was still honored as a professor emeritus until March 13, eight days after The Hoya reached out for comment for this investigation. As a professor emeritus — and a known abuser — O’Connell published research under Georgetown’s name as recently as 2016. He also lectured at the university in a 2008 symposium, five years after allegations against him were first deemed credible in a settlement with the Missouri Province. Though Georgetown was not aware of the allegations when he lectured, the university has betrayed student trust by failing to remove O’Connell’s emeritus status before being reminded of the title by The Hoya. Only by actively addressing public allegations against Georgetown-connected priests can the university rebuild a modicum of student trust in this institution. Georgetown must also recognize that its failure to name and condemn abusive priests is inherently damaging and withholds justice from survivors. Though DeGioia touted a commitment to “creating a culture of safeguarding vulnerable people” in his December email, survivors of
O’Connell’s abuse watched their abuser benefit from his honored status at Georgetown. Moreover, survivors of abuse by Georgetownconnected priests — both those who have come forward and those have remained silent — have witnessed this institution ignore the brave voices making the allegations. By failing to acknowledge the names of these abusive priests, the university is complicit in diminishing the trauma of survivors and preventing any others from feeling safe enough to come forward. Thus far, the university has failed to lead by example on sexual abuse within the church. Georgetown rescinded the honorary degree of documented abuser and former cardinal Theodore McCarrick only after he was laicized Feb. 19, 2019, months after the Catholic University of America and Fordham University revoked the degrees of McCarrick and accused accomplice in abuse Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Instead, Georgetown has responded to the clergy sexual abuse crisis with lukewarm, broad community reflections on the Catholic Church rather than a critical self-examination of the university’s connection to it. The university should now amend its previous inaction and be a leader in reconciling with its connection to clerical abuse by addressing the once-trusted priests accused of such atrocious acts. The university’s failure to acknowledge these priests suggests an acceptance of such horrific behavior and an unwillingness to take responsibility for its past. Georgetown would prove no better than the Catholic Church — and its initial coverups of abuse before the 2002 Boston Globe Spotlight investigation — if it does not reconcile with this history. The 14 Georgetown-affiliated priests credibly accused of assault are ingrained in university history. These priests were community members and served as professors, associate deans, campus ministers, employees and students. Until their recognition, this campus will be unable to move forward. Ideally, in light of The Hoya’s investigation, Georgetown would actively contribute to reconciliation and student healing. Given the university’s track record in responding to sexual abuse in the church — Wuerl’s honorary degree has still not been revoked and O’Connell was an honoree of the university until Wednesday afternoon — Georgetown’s ability and willingness to be an active leader is doubtful. At bare minimum, the university must publicly recognize and condemn the 10 abusive priests. Until it does so, the university will remain complicit in benefitting abusers and silencing survivors.
Julie Bevilacqua & Grace Laria Our senior year began after the Pennsylvania grand jury report named 300 Catholic priests across the state who had sexually abused children over a span of 70 years. The sexual abuse crisis in the church has since permeated our ministry work on campus, which has spanned from organizing community reflections to pushing the university to revoke the honorary degrees of high-ranking clergy members accused of abuse and once lauded as members of the Georgetown family. As active members in Georgetown’s Catholic community, we have both long been aware of a systemic lack of transparency and pattern of abuse within the Catholic hierarchy that have allowed the sexual abuse crisis to continue to this day. News of Georgetown’s failure to publicly acknowledge at least seven Jesuit priests credibly accused of abuse who have had direct affiliations with this university, however, was a slap in the face. Georgetown’s demonstration of willful ignorance hits close to home because the Jesuit order has been essential to our academic and faith formation. This negligence is particularly hurtful because it is yet another example of Georgetown acting in a way that is directly antithetical to our Jesuit education, which emphasizes the protection of the vulnerable, critical thinking dedicated to “uncovering truth and discovering meaning” and a faith that does justice. Through our participation in Catholic faith communities, organizing faith-based service projects and serving as ESCAPE and La Storta retreat leaders, we have rooted our four years at Georgetown in Ignatian spirituality, which has emotionally, mentally and spiritually formed who we are as people and the way we see the world. Now, after learning about the seven abusive Jesuits and several other religious officials whom Georgetown has not acknowledged, we ask our university: How do we reconcile the spirit of Georgetown, a set of lessons that we believe is good and true, with this reality?
The Jesuits have always offered us a path forward through progressive and radical faith, facilitated specifically by clergy and staff members on this campus. The Jesuits, though obviously embedded within the Catholic Church, represented to us a critical tradition driven by a commitment to education, pushing us to challenge institutions and answer the call to justice. The teachings of the Jesuits seem irreconcilable with the order’s deep implication in the abuse crisis — and its immoral behavior in its wake. These actions and Georgetown’s failure to acknowledge them make us question how we can continue to operate in Catholic spaces when the order that fostered them has broken our trust. How do we reconcile participation in an institution that has silenced survivors and abused its power with our own commitment to seeking justice for survivors, both on campus and in the larger world? How do we reconcile the empowering and lifegiving encounter with faith and community that we’ve had at Georgetown with this reality, that the church, the Jesuit religious order and our own university are all interwoven in this crisis? What does complicity look like in this context and how, once we’ve graduated in May, will we struggle with these questions away from the reflective spaces we’ve found and forged on campus? Sometimes, answering these difficult questions means detaching ourselves from the hierarchy of the Church as an institution that has failed us and focus instead on our individual faith experiences. We wholeheartedly believe in the power of Ignatian contemplation, a faith that does justice and the rituals and relationships that we celebrate at mass. Yet when the only way to access the joys of Catholic community, prayer and ritual is through the very institution that has hurt and betrayed us, we struggle to detach from abusive power structures without losing these key aspects of our faith. Georgetown has repeatedly called for “cultural change” in response to the abuse crisis, but this change is impossible as long as the church, Jesuit leadership, and Georgetown itself lack transparency. From the Maryland Province’s practice of transferring abusive priests to this campus and Georgetown’s unwillingness to publicly acknowledge former community members credibly accused of abuse, Jesuit leadership and this university have not only failed to protect and support survivors, but also to live up to the moral standards of the Ignatian teachings they seek to impart. Only by reckoning with this history of abusive priests in our community can we begin to reconcile our faith — shaped by Jesuit values — with the actions of the institutions that profess them.
JULIE BEVILACQUA is a senior in the College. GRACE LARIA is a senior in the School
of Foreign Service. Both are members of the Catholic community.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
As Jesuits Report Abusers, Experts Doubt Completeness HARRISON HURT Hoya Staff Writer
In the midst of an abuse crisis within the Catholic Church, the five Jesuit provinces in the United States released lists in December and January of priests accused of child sexual abuse. Yet the incomplete nature of these lists has sparked even greater criticism from lawyers and advocates, including lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented over 2,000 survivors of clerical abuse. “The diocese and Jesuit Provinces want to appear as doing the right thing when they’re in fact doing the bare minimum,” Garabedian said in a phone interview with The Hoya. Two ordained Jesuits with previous Georgetown affiliations and credible abuse allegations — Fr. Thomas M. Gannon, S.J., and Bernard Knoth — served in the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus but did not appear in the province’s Dec. 17 report, even after another provAMBER GILLETTE/THE HOYA ince’s report revealed their time at Georgetown Lawyers and survivor advocates say the Jesuit order does not fully reveal the four days later. For two former Jesuits mentioned the report, extent of its knowledge regarding cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Fr. Neil McLaughlin, S.J., and H. Cornell BradJesuit and Catholic officials are generally un- McLaughlin’s 18 years at Georgetown Univerley, the province omitted time both priests had willing to name predatory priests, according to sity Hospital. spent on Georgetown’s campus. Bradley was ordained the year before he And while the Maryland Province report David Clohessy, former national director of the gained work at Georgetown. He was on camnamed priests credibly accused of abusing mi- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Typically the Jesuits or Catholic officials pus completing his theological studies, accordnors, it mentioned no priests accused of abusing young adults, such as former Georgetown release the absolute bare minimum that they ing to Gabriele. Technical differences provide the Jesuits an professor Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell, S.J., who set- have to,” Clohessy said in a phone interview excuse to withhold information, according to tled two cases in 2003 and 2016 with survivors with The Hoya. The Maryland Province failed to list both Clohessy. of his abuse. “In all provinces, there is a tremendous The Maryland Province affirmed its commit- Gannon and Knoth, both publicly named in ment to protecting both minors and adults the report by the Midwest Province. The Mary- amount of hairsplitting,” Clohessy said. land Province did not report Gannon or Knoth from clergy abuse. “The Jesuits are committed to the protection because it did not have information about EXPLOITING VULNERABILITY of minors and vulnerable adults in the conduct their abuse when it published its list, accordSome reports released by the five Jesuit provof our ministry, employing a strict zero-toler- ing to Mike Gabriele, a spokesperson for the inces delineated between priests with single ance policy and reporting to civil authorities all Maryland Province. or multiple allegations of abuse. However, the “The Maryland Province did not have in- scope of priests’ abuse is rarely limited to one accusations of sexual abuse involving a minor,” formation regard- incident, according to David Pooler, a Baylor a Maryland Province ing their alleged University professor who surveyed 280 adult spokesperson wrote abuse in its records survivors of clergy sexual abuse. in a statement to The The best way to hide a and was unaware of Hoya. “My research suggests that there aren’t that them at the time the many people out there doing these single Yet experts conJesuit is to hide them at a Maryland Province’s acts,” Pooler said in a phone interview with The tinue to criticize the Jesuit university, a Jesuit list was published,” Hoya. “This is a way of being, a way of exploitJesuits’ unwillingness Gabriele wrote in ing vulnerabilities and misusing power.” to reveal information institution.” a statement to The about cases of sexual Patrick Wall, a former priest, said he has nevHoya. misconduct. Lawyers er seen an abuser who harmed only one surviPATRICK WALL and advocates feel The Midwest Prov- vor in his 25 years of experience as a researcher Georgetown students ince published its and legal advocate against clergy abuse. and parents have a right to know more about reports Dec. 21, four days after the Maryland “Once you cross that boundary of behavior, potential abusers on campus and think that Province report. Gabriele said that the Mary- there’s never only one,” Wall said. “No one the Jesuits could be failing to disclose assaults of land Province would update its own list based who is a straight thinker or honest will tell you young adults — including college students. on information released by other provinces, differently.” but the province has not included Gannon or Seven of the nine Jesuits in the province reKnoth as of March 13. ports linked to Georgetown – excluding MarINCOMPLETE REPORTS The Maryland Province’s December report tin J. Casey and Michael L. Barber – had mulThe Jesuit lists followed an October invitation also named two Jesuit priests without listing tiple allegations of abuse. However, none of the to release names of priests by the Conference their affiliations with Georgetown: McLaugh- provincial reports indicated the exact number of Major Superiors of Men, a national organizalin and Bradley. McLaughlin worked summers of allegations against any priest with more tion representing the leadership of Catholic at Georgetown University Hospital between than one, which Clohessy felt was deceptive. male religious institutes and societies, includ“‘More than once’ could be 250 kids, but 1965 and 1983, while Bradley served for a year ing the Society of Jesus. they don’t tell you that,” Clohessy said. From Dec. 7 to Jan. 19, all five Jesuit provinces as a campus minister in 1970. The Maryland Province did not release the When asked about these two priests, Gapublished lists of abusive priests affiliated with their respective province. However, experts who briele said McLaughlin was never assigned to number of allegations out of concern for surtrack clergy abuse say the Jesuits have withheld the hospital and only came to work during vivors’ rights and other factors, according to dozens of names of priests credibly accused of the summers of the 1980s. However, a 2010 Gabriele. “Between victims’ rights and other things, sexual misconduct. statement from the Maryland Province noted
we just didn’t want to put details about the number of allegations,” Gabriele said. However, Clohessy felt that the Jesuits’ unwillingness to withhold details stemmed from a desire for self-preservation. “They release information in a way that is most minimizing and advantageous to themselves,” Clohessy said. “None of them, for example, provide photos and last known address of these guys.”
HOUSING PREDATORS Wall, an expert in canon law, believes the Jesuits are aware of more sexual abusers within the order than have been disclosed, citing a practice known as the manifestation of conscience, which is unique to the Society of Jesus: Jesuits are required to meet annually with the head of their province and tell them every sin they have ever committed. Wall feels it is irresponsible for the Jesuits to place priests with a history of abuse at universities given their knowledge through the manifestation of conscience. “That’s why it’s even more heinous when the Jesuits put their perpetrators right on campus at Georgetown,” Wall said. Priests with a history of abusing minors also pose a threat to college students, according to Pooler. “If someone has been accused of abusing a child or an adolescent, do I have concerns with them working on a university campus? Absolutely,” Pooler said. “I think that’s really, really concerning. Because what you see is the proclivity to misuse power, to exploit and take advantage of vulnerability.” Jesuit universities have played a role for housing priests accused with abuse, according to Wall. “The best way to hide a Jesuit is to hide them at a Jesuit university, a Jesuit institution,” Wall said. “There are a good dozen Jesuit universities in the United States where you simply put them in the local community.” Because the Maryland Province report did not include priests accused of abusing adults, Mike Reck, a lawyer who has worked on many cases of clerical abuse, felt strongly that the Jesuits could be concealing cases of sexual misconduct against young adults, including college students. “It’s a very reasonable assumption that the Jesuits are withholding information about sexual misconduct between its clerics and young adults who are under their control,” Reck said. When asked why the province report focused only on minors, Gabriele explained that the province followed the church’s broader emphasis on minors. “That is what the church in general, the Catholic Church, is dealing with right now; the people of God have demanded more transparency when it comes to the protection of minors,” Gabriele said. But Wall argued the Society of Jesus should be doing more to ensure that the Georgetown community is safe and informed about predatory priests. “Parents and students have a right to expect that they shouldn’t be sexually assaulted by a Jesuit in attending a Jesuit university,” Wall said.
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