Former Judge to Head School's Investigation of Its President

The Associated Press, carried in NEPA News [Pennsylvania]
November 10, 2004

A former state police investigator and a retired judge will investigate allegations that the longtime president of Mercyhurst College had improper sexual contact with minors.


Michael M. Palmisano, who retired as an Erie County judge in 1999, and Bernie Teodorski, who retired from the state police in 1993, will hear accusations that William Garvey had improper sexual contact with six men when they were minors, mostly during the time Garvey was coaching basketball at a Roman Catholic high school.

The Erie Times-News reported the allegations in October. Shortly after the article was published, Mercyhurst's board of trustees called for its own investigation.

The board hired Palmisano on Friday and he in turn called Teodorski because of his "criminal investigation background," Palmisano said.

Garvey, 68, who has been president at Mercyhurst since 1980, has said he is "profoundly saddened and shocked" by accusations that have been lodged against him.

One of the accusers, Chuck Rosenthal, first raised allegations against Garvey in a June 2002 column in the Los Angeles Times and in his memoir "Never Let Me Go." Rosenthal said he was abused by Garvey when Garvey coached basketball for St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Erie.

Three other men said they were abused by Garvey while he was a coach. The two other men also told the newspaper Garvey paid them for sexual acts when they were minors in the mid-1980s.

Mercyhurst College is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college that was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1926. It has an enrollment of about 3,100 students.


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