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Jesuits in Northeast post list of priests accused of abuse; 16 with CT connections

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NEW YORK  — The governing body for the Jesuit order in the northeastern United States released a list Tuesday of 50 priests under its jurisdiction who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

All but 15 of the Roman Catholic priests on the list released by the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus are dead, and all of the alleged abuse all took place before 1997.

Two former priests are incarcerated, one for possession of child pornography and one for abuse charges.

“At the heart of this crisis is the painful, sinful and illegal harm done to children by those whom they should have been able to trust,” the Rev. John J. Cecero, the top official for the province, said in a statement, adding, “We did not know any best practices to handle these violations many decades ago and regrettably made mistakes along the way.”

The list includes priests who served in Jesuit high schools and colleges throughout New England, New York and northern New Jersey.

Priests who served or taught in Connecticut include:

Cahill, William B  Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1947 1949
  • Pomfret works Pomfret CT 1960 1962
  • Pomfret works Pomfret CT 1966 1967

Cornigans, Mr. Robert   Left SJ

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1979 1980

Cullen, William   Deceased

  • Fairfield University education Fairfield CT 1979 1988
  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1989 1990
  • St. Thomas More education Oakdale CT 2000 2005

Dooley, Joseph  Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1951 1954

Ennis, Francis   Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1965 1966

Fox, Joseph    Deceased

  • Manresa works Norwalk CT 1943 1945

Laughlin, Joseph  Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1951 1952

McCabe, George   Deceased

  • Fairfield University education Fairfield CT 1957 1960
  • Ridgefield retreats Ridgefield CT 1960 1965

McManus, Francis J  Deceased

  • St. Mary’s parish Milford CT 1976 1978
  • St. Bernard HS education Uncasville CT 1982 1983
  • Sts. Peter and Paul parish Norwich CT 1983 1991

Moriarity, Philip  Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1951 1953

O’Brien, Eugene  Impeded

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1983 1985

Owens, Joseph  Impeded

  • New Coalition works Middlefield CT 1978 1979

Pollard, Leo   Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1945 1950

Power, Edmund   Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1962 1965
  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1968 1976

Pratt, James  Impeded

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1981 1982

Sheehan, James T.  Deceased

  • Fairfield Prep education Fairfield CT 1953 1956

Leaders of several universities where accused priests have served released statements in response to the list.

“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,” said the Rev. Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University.

Linda LeMura, president of LeMoyne College in Syracuse, said, “We deeply regret any abuse that occurred on our campus. We encourage survivors and any member of our community to reach out to the resources available to you and to report sexual harassment, misconduct or abuse allegations to these resources and to law-enforcement agencies as appropriate.”

The list released Tuesday includes James Talbot, a former priest and high school teacher who pleaded guilty last year to charges that he sexually assaulted a boy in the 1990s in Freeport, Maine. Talbot’s accuser said in court in September, “To this day, I remember the steps leading inside the church as if they were guiding me to hell.”

Another former priest, James Kuntz, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in federal court in New Jersey in 2008.

The Rev. Keith Pecklers, a professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, is the only priest on the list still serving at a Jesuit-run institution. A New Jersey man testified in 2010 that he was abused by Pecklers when Pecklers was 17 and the victim was 14.

A Jesuit spokesman said Pecklers remains active because the alleged abuse happened in his teens before he was ordained. The spokesman said Pecklers is monitored in Rome and in not allowed access to minors.

The Jesuit provinces in the other four regions of the United States have previously released their lists of priests who have credibly been accused of abusing minors.

The disclosures by the Jesuits follow the release of lists of hundreds of priests accused of abuse by Catholic dioceses across the U.S.

“Releasing these names publicly is crucial not only for the healing of survivors, but also to encourage victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and to deter future clergy sex crimes and cover-ups,” said Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, in an email.

“Still,” he said, “the fact remains that this is a long-overdue move prompted only by pressure from prosecutors, parishioners and the public.”

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