Fr. John Leary – Diocese of San Jose

| Dec 20, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father John Leary

Diocese of San Jose (Jesuits)


Ordained: 1951

Died: 1993

Assignment History:

  • 1951-1952: Alma College (Alma, CA)
  • 1952-1954: Manresa Hall (Port Townsend, WA)
  • 1954-1955: Rome, Italy
  • 1955-1969: Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA)
  • 1969:  Cranwell Prep. School (Lenox, MA)
  • 1969-1970: Utah State University (Logan, UT)
  • 1970-1978: Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)
  • 1971:  New College of California (Sausalito, CA)
  • Unknown: New College of California (San Francisco, CA)
  • 1977:  Academic Year in New York (NY)
  • 1981-1985: Old College (Reno, NV)
  • 1985-1986: St. Joseph’s (New York, NY)
  • 1987-1988: Jesuit Seminary & Mission Bureau (Portland, OR)
  • 1988-1993: Jesuit Provincial Residence (Portland, OR)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father John Leary:

Fr. John Leary was ordained a priest in 1951 who served in multiple dioceses including in the Diocese of San Jose. According to media reports, he was president of Gonzaga University when allegations were made that he sexually abused a student. Although records show that reports were initially made beginning in 1966, the police weren’t notified until 1969. The Spokane police went to the Jesuits with an offer that Leary would be spared arrest if he left town within 24 hours. Leary was quietly sent away to a Jesuit boys’ school in Lenox, MA, to “recuperate.”

The Jesuit order has settled with two of Leary’s victims to date. One of his accusers said that Leary sexually abused him as a teenager in 1965. The alleged victim was a Gonzaga student and asked to drive the president to a speaking engagement. When he parked the car, Leary made an aggressive pass. The student was able to fend off Leary’s attempts at sex, but he was still subjected to abuse.

Over the course of his tenure, Leary lived and worked in Utah, California, New York, Nevada, and Oregon. In 2006, The Oregon Province Jesuits claimed they didn’t learn the details of allegations against Leary until 2006. Jesuit documents show Leary may have abused as many as 12 youths.

In 2018, Leary was included on the Jesuits West Province list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse. It noted reports in 2006 and 2009 of abuse that took place from 1965-1966.

He died in 1993.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of San Jose in California. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of San Jose now have legal options due to a voluntary compensation fund created by the Archdiocese of San Jose, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.