|Child Molesting Priest Headed Local High School
February 11, 2009
Jesuits Paid a Secret Settlement To At Least One of His Victims
But Officials Let Him Live/Work Secretly Around Teenagers for Years
Two Groups Blast Catholic Institutions for “Their Recklessness and Deceit”
They Want School And Church Staff to Seek Out & Help Others Who Were Hurt
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims & advocates will harshly criticize four Catholic institutions (including Fairfield University) for
- keeping secret about credible child sex abuse allegations against a high profile ex-high school principal, and
- not aggressively reaching out to find and help his victims
They will also
- provide copies of a long-secret sex abuse settlement signed by one of the cleric's victims, and
- call on church and school officials to explain and apologize for their “secrecy and recklessness”
Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 1:30 p.m.
At the main entrance to Fairfield University on North Benson Road in Fairfield CT
Four-five men/women who were victimized by Catholic clergy (including one man who this priest tried to assault), along with representatives of two national groups: BishopAccountability.org and SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
Last fall, for the first time, SNAP exposed a former Fairfield College Preparatory High School principal, Fr. Eugene J. O’Brien, as a credibly accused child molester. In the 1970s, he abused a teenaged student at Fordham Prep in New York. Years later, in 1997, church officials quietly paid that victim $25,000. The secret settlement included a ‘gag order’ forcing the victim to say nothing about O'Brien's crimes. That victim, however, is violating the gag order and disclosing his abuse and a copy of the settlement deal.
For more than a decade, church and university officials have let O’Brien live among Fordham’s college and high school students and present himself as a priest around the world without warning parents, students, staff or the public about his crimes.
O’Brien headed Fairfield prep from 1983 to 1985. From 1960-1979, he was Fordham Prep’s headmaster and is a member of its Hall of Honor. From 1995-2002, as president of the Gregorian University Foundation, O'Brien did fundraising for the Vatican acoss the country. He also worked at St. Peter’s prep school in Jersey City, NJ.
SNAP is calling on the Bridgeport diocese, the NY archdiocese, the Jesuits, Fairfield University, Fordham University and Fordham Prep to publicize any other settlements involving O'Brien (or others who work or work at these institutions) disclose where the predators are living, alert their neighbors, and work hard to find and help their victims.
O’Brien apparently has not been sued and doesn’t face criminal charges. He is now retired and believed too be living at a Jesuit facility in mid-town Manhattan.
Contact: David Clohessy of St. Louis MO, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790
Terry McKiernan of Boston MA, Co-Director, BishopAccountability.org (508) 479-9304
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis MO, SNAP Outreach Director (314) 862-7688
Rich Cerick of New Caanan CT (abused by a Jesuit) (646) 262-9847 cell, (212) 672-5567 work
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