McShane, Daleo Respond to Credible Accusations of Abuse Against Jesuits Connected to Fordham

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McShane, Daleo Respond to Credible Accusations of Abuse Against Jesuits Connected to Fordham

With about 130 members, the Jesuit communities at Fordham University make up the largest group of Jesuits within the New York Province; Murray-Weigel Hall hosts the New York Province's infirmary and retirement residences (VIA WIKIMEDIA).

With about 130 members, the Jesuit communities at Fordham University make up the largest group of Jesuits within the New York Province; Murray-Weigel Hall hosts the New York Province's infirmary and retirement residences (VIA WIKIMEDIA).

With about 130 members, the Jesuit communities at Fordham University make up the largest group of Jesuits within the New York Province; Murray-Weigel Hall hosts the New York Province's infirmary and retirement residences (VIA WIKIMEDIA).

With about 130 members, the Jesuit communities at Fordham University make up the largest group of Jesuits within the New York Province; Murray-Weigel Hall hosts the New York Province's infirmary and retirement residences (VIA WIKIMEDIA).

By Courtney Brogle, Online Editor

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Early in the morning on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the Jesuit USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus released a comprehensive list of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual assault upon minors. Among those on the list were five priests within the Fordham community.

The list named Jesuits who span over six decades in the history of Fordham University and Fordham Preparatory School. From 1950 until 1992, five priests were employed within the Fordham community for at least two years.

Four other Jesuits with connections to Fordham were named on additional lists prepared by four American Provinces.

In a statement by Fordham President Joseph M. McShane and Board of Trustees Chairman Robert D. Daleo, they announced the formation of an independent Advisory Committee of lay trustees to review the allegations of Jesuits employed by or associated with the university.

“The sexual abuse of a minor or other vulnerable person by someone in a position of privilege and authority is an unspeakable violation of human decency and completely antithetical to the mission and ethos of our University,” McShane and Daleo said. “While none of the accused priests are involved in Fordham University’s student life or operations today, we are horrified that some of these alleged crimes were committed when the perpetrators were associated with the University or were otherwise in close proximity to students.”

Fordham Jesuits in Question

From the official Jesuit USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus list

J. Peter Conroy, S.J., at Fordham from 1972 to 1979;
Roy Drake, S.J., at Fordham from 1965 to 1968;
John McCarthy, S.J., at Fordham from 1956 to 1992;
Eugene O’Brien, S.J., at Fordham Prep from 1950 to 1953 and 1960 to 1980, and later the University from 1986 to 1991; and
William Scanlon, S.J., at Fordham from 1972 to 1974.

From the additional American Provinces list

John Bellwoar, S.J., at Fordham Prep from 1936 to 1938;
Maurice Meyers, S.J., at Fordham from 1951 to 1959 and 1973 to 1974;
Francis X. Nawn, at Fordham from 1980 to 1981; and
Philip Sunseri, S.J., who lived in the University dormitories from 1983 to 1986.

Read the full statement from McShane and Daleo here:

Dear Members of the Fordham Family:

Earlier today, the Jesuit USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus released a list of Jesuits against whom there are credible allegations of sexual abuse committed against minors. Among those accused are five Jesuits who, over the past six or more decades, were assigned by the Province to serve at Fordham University or Fordham Preparatory School, which separated from the University in 1970. The USA Northeast Province includes the former New York, Buffalo and New England Provinces.

As the sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church unfolds, it is incumbent on all of us who are leaders at affected institutions to support the survivors and to acknowledge the inalterable harm that was inflicted on these brave survivors and their families. They are and will remain the University’s first and central concern. We must also ensure that policies and procedures are in place to prevent this from ever happening again. To that end, the Board of Trustees has created an independent Advisory Committee of lay trustees – excluding Jesuit members of the Board or management at Fordham – to review allegations of sexual misconduct against Jesuits. In particular, the Advisory Committee has been tasked with reviewing and analyzing allegations of abuse by Jesuits who were employed by or otherwise associated with the University at the time the alleged misconduct was committed, overseeing the management of claims concerning such abuse, and examining any appropriate preventative and remedial measures to address allegations of such abuse.

In connection with the University’s efforts in this regard, and following the Northeast Province’s release of its list of credibly accused Jesuits, we are also releasing a list that includes four additional names of priests who have been identified by other Jesuit Provinces as having similarly credible allegations against them, and who were associated with the University or Fordham Prep prior to its separation from the University in 1970. We also note that some of the names identified on the Northeast Province’s list are of priests who were not associated with the University or Fordham Prep prior to 1970 but who resided at Murray-Weigel Hall, a Jesuit nursing home that is owned and operated by the Northeast Province and is located on property adjacent to the University’s Rose Hill Campus. Fordham University has not historically been empowered to decide who is assigned to reside at Murray-Weigel Hall. Nonetheless, at Fordham’s insistence, the Northeast Province has recently removed all men with known credible accusations against them from Murray-Weigel Hall. In addition, some names on the Province’s list may include individuals who were associated with Fordham Prep after its separation from the University in 1970.

The sexual abuse of a minor or other vulnerable person by someone in a position of privilege and authority is an unspeakable violation of human decency and completely antithetical to the mission and ethos of our University. While none of the accused priests are involved in Fordham University’s student life or operations today, we are horrified that some of these alleged crimes were committed when the perpetrators were associated with the University or were otherwise in close proximity to our students.

Our insistence that alleged offenders be removed from Murray-Weigel is just one aspect of Fordham University’s commitment to protecting our students from potential harm. In addition to the work of the Advisory Committee and the protocols that it is developing, Fordham will report any accusation of sexual abuse of a minor by any member of our community to law enforcement, regardless of its date of occurrence, and immediately remove the offender from any Fordham position they occupy pending the outcome of an investigation. If the allegations are deemed credible, the perpetrator will be banned from campus and from any contact with students.

There are a number of resources at Fordham and in the broader community designed to support survivors of sexual abuse or misconduct. Fordham University’s website and Student Handbook include detailed procedures for reporting sexual misconduct, assault or other acts of violence either confidentially to a counselor, internally to Fordham administrators, or externally to the New York City or Harrison, N.Y. Police Departments. If you have experienced or observed sexual or other misconduct, including unwanted sexual contact, you are encouraged to contact Kareem Peat, Fordham’s Title IX Coordinator, at (718) 817-3112 or [email protected] and/or the Province’s Victims’ Coordinator, Kristin Austin, at (443) 370-6357 or [email protected]

We are heartsick that the shadow of the crisis within the larger Catholic community has been cast upon our University, and deeply troubled by the very real possibility that there are still survivors whose accounts of abuse we have not yet heard. Know, however, that Fordham will take all actions necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of its students – past and present – faculty, and staff, and of course to be responsive to the concerns of parents, alumni and other members of our community.

With deepest sorrow for the past and hope for the future,

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
President, Fordham University

Robert D. Daleo
Chairman of the Board, Fordham University Board of Trustees

Attachment:

From the Northeast Province:

J. Peter Conroy, S.J. At Fordham from 1972 to 1979
Roy Drake, S.J. At Fordham from 1965 to 1968
John McCarthy, S.J. At Fordham from 1956 to 1992
Eugene O’Brien, S.J. At Fordham Prep from 1950 to 1953 and 1960 to 1980, and at the University from 1986 to 1991
William Scanlon, S.J. At Fordham from 1972 to 1974

Those on the lists prepared by the four other American Provinces with connections to Fordham are the following:

John Bellwoar, S.J. (Maryland Province) At Fordham Prep from 1936 to 1938
Maurice Meyers, S.J. (Midwest Province) At Fordham from 1951 to 1959 and 1973 to 1974
Francis X. Nawn, S.J. (West Province) At Fordham from 1980 to 1981
Philip Sunseri, S.J. (West Province) Lived in University Residence Halls from 1983 to 1986

*This is a developing story. Story to come.*