Fr. Francis Landwermeyer
Archdiocese of New Orleans
- St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church (Charleston Heights, SC)
- Cardinal Newman High School (Columbia, SC)
- Mercy Cross Highschool (Biloxi, MS)
- Nouvel Central Highschool (Saginaw, MI)
- Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
- Jesuit College Preparatory School (Dallas, TX)
- Jesuit High School (Shreveport, LA)
- Loyola University (New Orleans, LA)
- Jesuit High School (New Orleans, LA)
- Central Catholic High (San Antonio, TX)
- Jesuit High School (Tampa, FL)
- Antonian High School (San Antonio, TX)
- St. Cecilia (San Antonio, TX)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Francis Landwermeyer
In December 2018, the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province publicly named Fr. Francis Landwermeyer on its list of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. According to the list, Fr. Landwermeyer allegedly abused minors in the 1960s and 1970s.
While the Jesuits have not stated any additional details about the scope and nature of the abuse, they have deemed the allegations credible. A credible allegation exists if the “provincial believes, with moral certitude, after careful investigation and review by professionals that an incident of sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult occurred . . . with the possibility that it did not occur being highly unlikely,” according to the Jesuits’ website.
While the Jesuits have publicly stated that credible allegations exist against Fr. Landwermeyer, his personnel file won’t be available until 2068—50 years after his death. Fr. Landwermeyer’s personnel file includes his pastoral assignments and his time at educational institutions.
Accordingly, there is not a complete record of Fr. Francis Landwermeyer’s assignment history. However, Fr. Landwermeyer’s alleged involvement in abuse against others is documented in articles, complaints, and in-court testimony.
Alleged Abuse and Involvement in Suicide of a Former Student
In April 1978, a student at Marquette University fell to his death at a resident hall. Notes from the investigation reveal Fr. Landwermeyer was the student’s academic advisor, and before his death, the student and Fr. Landwermeyer had spoken to each other.
Suspicion surrounding the relationship Fr. Landwermeyer had with the student arose during initial inquiries into the student’s death. In a memo written by the former vice president of student affairs at Marquette, Fr. Landwermeyer quickly cleaned clothes scattered in the student’s room after the student’s death.
Moreover, in a meeting with legal counsel, Fr. Landwermeyer revealed he used physical discipline on the student, which included an “arm lever.”
As the student’s family began inquiring more into his death, sources allege that Fr. Landwermeyer attempted to prevent further investigation. According to the former state’s attorney, Fr. Landwermeyer would “try to dissuade” him from conducting a police investigation. Sources say Fr. Landwermeyer even told the student’s family an investigation would be “prolonged and unhealthy.”
Soon after, Fr. Landwermeyer moved to Tampa, Florida, to start his position at Jesuit High School.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse at Jesuit High School
Fr. Francis Landwermeyer’s use of physical abuse against students would continue after he left Marquette in the late 1970s. According to a client Adam Horowitz represented in a lawsuit against the Society of Jesus, Fr. Landwermeyer called him into his office for disciplinary reasons “regularly.” Misconduct would then ensue, the client said.
Fr. Landwermeyer’s Confirmed Service in South Carolina
While there is not a complete record of Fr. Francis Landwermeyer’s assignment history, the Diocese of Charleston confirmed Fr. Landwermeyer served two locations in South Carolina: St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and the Cardinal Newman High School.
According to the diocese, “there is no record of allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor made against Father Landwermeyer while he was assigned at St. Thomas the Apostle or Cardinal Newman School.” There is also no record of Fr. Landwermeyer’s whereabouts from 1985-1988.
Fr. Landwermeyer’s 2010 Removal
Ordained in 1966, Fr. Francis Landwermeyer spent approximately 44 years in ministry, serving various parishes and schools. In 2010, the Jesuits learned of a credible allegation of abuse against Fr. Landwermeyer and removed him from public ministry. According to the Jesuits, he voluntarily left ministry a year later. His subsequent whereabouts are unknown.
Fr. Francis Landwermeyer died in September 2018.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Alexandria in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Alexandria may now have legal options, 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 Louisiana and nationwide. We can help.