New Revelations About Predatory Jesuit Priests in the US

| Apr 26, 2022 | Catholic Church

At first glance, there’s really nothing all that shocking about this headline “An investigation by The Dallas Morning News reveals that accusations against priests dating back to the 1960s were ignored, and predatory Jesuit priests were relocated to conceal allegations.”

Except perhaps when it was written. It wasn’t in the 1980s or 1990s or 2000s, or 2010s. It was last month. That’s right. Just last month, we learned that “14 priests who were stationed at Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas are credibly accused of sexually abusing children at some point in their careers.”

This would not be particularly noteworthy if not for a few inconvenient facts.

  • The Jesuits posture as the ‘cream of the crop’ among Catholics. They are usually among the very most well-educated and well-connected Catholic clergy.
  • They run dozens and dozens of schools. So, if ever there were a Catholic entity that should bend over backward to be honest and transparent about abuse and cover-ups, it’s the Jesuits.

But sadly, they don’t. And sadly, there’s plenty of blame to go around here. Besides the Jesuits, several diocesan bishops are doing little or nothing to help protect the vulnerable or help the wounded heal from these child molesting clerics. For example, Bishop Gregory Parkes of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Diocese. At least seven newly-identified clerics were (and who knows, one or more of them may still be) in his diocese. They include:

    • Fr. Thomas J. Naughton, Fr. Francis M. Landwermeyer, Fr. Vincent A. Orlando, Fr. Claude P. Boudreaux, all of whom worked at Jesuit High School in Tampa.
    • Fr. Patrick H. Koch worked at Sacred Heart Academy in Tampa.
    • Fr. Norman J. Rogge and Fr. Thomas J. Hidding, both of whom worked at Jesuit High School and Sacred Heart Church, both in Tampa.

But Parkes is not alone. Besides heading a Catholic diocese and sharing a title, what do the following prelates have in common?

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Orange California Bishop Kevin Vann, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Shreveport Bishop Francis Malone, Houston Archbishop Daniel DiNardo, Dallas Bishop Edward Burns, Corpus Christi Bishop William Mulvey, Mobile Archbishop Thomas Rodi, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, and El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz.

Due to a recent settlement, each of these prelates now knows that one or more child molesting Jesuit clerics are in their dioceses, and each is doing little or nothing to tell their flocks about these offenders.

The recent Jesuits settlement was made and publicized in Texas. It, of course, made the news across the state. But sadly, we at Horowitz Law have seen little if any attention in the news in California, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland, Massachusetts, or Georgia, where many of these 14 predators lived or worked.

Why is it so important that each of these bishops do more to alert the public and parishioners about these abusive Jesuits? In part because an investigation by The Dallas Morning News reveals that accusations against priests dating back to the 1960s were ignored, and predatory priests were relocated to conceal allegations.

In other words, past and current church officials have practiced self-serving secrecy and recklessness for decades. If that is ever to change, current church officials must act radically different. Warning citizens and congregants of the names and work histories of known molesters is the place to start doing this. In 2020, a news article came out titled, “Despite revelations of clergy sex abuse and promises of transparency, a prominent Jesuit university does little to punish priests who cross the line.” Nothing has changed.

Here are just some of the places where these 14 abusers have worked:

    • Miami: Fr. Thomas J. Hiding worked at Gesù Parish.
    • El Paso: Fr. Thomas J. Naughton, Fr. Patrick Walsh, and Fr. Benjamin Wren worked at Jesuit High School.
    • Shreveport: Fr. Naughton worked at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Fr. Donald Dickerson worked at St. John Berchman parish, Br. Claude L. Ory was at St. John’s parish, and three priests – Fr. Claude P. Boudreaux, Fr. Charles G. Coyle, and Fr. Francis M. Landwermeyer – all worked at Jesuit High School, all in Shreveport.
    • Houston: Fr. Coyle, Fr. Naughton, Fr. Walsh, Fr. Benjamin Smylie, and Fr. Vincent A. Orlando worked at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.
    • Dallas: Fr. Coyle, Fr. Dickerson, Fr. Orlando, Fr. Wren, Fr. Boudreaux, and Fr. Walsh all worked at Jesuit College Preparatory School and/or Jesuit High.
    • Corpus Christi: Fr. Patrick H. Koch and Fr. Walsh worked at Corpus Christi Minor Seminary, and Walsh also worked at Jesuit High School, both in Mulvey’s diocese.)
    • New Orleans: Fr. Coyle, Fr. Landwermeyer, Fr. Dickerson, Fr. Harding and Fr. Koch, Fr. Walsh, Fr. Boudreaux, Fr. Naughton, Fr. Wren and Br. Ory often moved between Jesuit High School, Holy Cross High School, Tulane University, and Loyola University. (Fr. Boudreaux also worked at Immaculate Conception parish, and Fr. Hiding also worked at Holy Name of Jesus parish.)
    • Mobile: Br. Ory worked at Spring Hill College in Alabama.
    • Atlanta: Fr. Coyle worked at the Ignatius House Retreat Center in Georgia.
    • Boston: Fr. Coyle worked at Newton High School in Boston.
    • Baltimore: Fr. Coyle worked at Woodstock College in Maryland.
    • Orange CA: Fr. Naughton worked at St. Killian parish in Mission Viejo.
    • Sri Lanka: Fr. Boudreaux worked in Batticaloa.
    • Italy: Fr. Boudreaux also worked at the Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome.

If past and present church officials have practiced self-serving secrecy and recklessness for decades, then radical change must occur now. Church officials need to be completely transparent with their members and citizens. Everyone deserves to know the truth about sexual predators. It must start now!

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergies nationwide. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. We can help.