|Statement from the Society of Jesus Regarding Fr. Louis Bonacci, S.J.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton
June 7, 2011
The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is issuing the following update to all dioceses and institutions where Louis A. Bonacci, S.J. worked. This notice is for distribution within those dioceses and institutions and to others who may have had contact with Fr. Lou Bonacci.
In April 2011, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus received an allegation against Fr. Louis Bonacci, S.J. dating from the period 1978-1982 that involved the improper touching of a minor in a family home. There had been no prior allegations against Fr. Bonacci.
Immediately upon receiving the allegation, the Society of Jesus reported it to the civil authorities; the Diocese of Scranton, where Fr. Bonacci was in ministry; and the Province Review Board. The Province leadership removed the priest from all ministry while the allegation was investigated.
The civil authorities in Maryland indicated they would not begin an investigation until the now-adult victim contacted them directly. However, the Province Review Board did undertake its own review. During this process, an allegation by a second individual was received by an investigator hired by the Review Board. This second allegation was reported to the civil authorities. The Province is committed to cooperating fully with the authorities during any investigation.
The Province is deeply concerned for those who have been harmed, and has reached out to both individuals who have come forward; they have been offered an apology and counseling, and have been encouraged to contact the civil authorities.
Following the recommendation of the Province Review Board, the provincial of the Maryland Province, Rev. James Shea, S.J., permanently removed Fr. Bonacci from all ministry. Anyone who has additional information involving Fr. Bonacci or who suspects abuse by any clergy or employee of the Jesuits is asked to contact local civil authorities, and Maureen Locher, special case coordinator for the Maryland Province, at 443-921-1326. Information on reporting and the Jesuits’ commitment to child protection is online at http://www.mdsj.org/children.html
Today, Fr. Bonacci resides in a monitored residence with his Jesuit community.
Fr. Bonacci entered the Jesuits in 1963 and was ordained in 1973. His ministerial assignments follow:
1968-1970: Teacher, St. Joseph Preparatory School, Philadelphia, PA
1970-1973: Student, Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, MA
1973-1974: Intern, Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, Wernersville, PA
1974-1978: Student, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
1978-1982: Assistant director of campus ministry, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
1982-1988: Catholic campus minister, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
1988-1994: Sabbatical and graduate studies at the International Marian Research Institute, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
1994-1999: Campus minister, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH
1999-2003: Campus minister and adjunct professor of theology, Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, WV
2003-2004: Campus minister, adjunct professor of theology and editor of Shepherds of Christ newsletter, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
2004: Adjunct professor of theology, Misericordia University, Dallas, PA
2005-2011: Coordinator of spiritual direction for priests and deacons, Diocese of Scranton, Scranton, PA
Diocese of Scranton Statement Regarding Fr. Louis Bonacci, S.J.
On April 8, 2011, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus informed officials of the Diocese of Scranton that it had received an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor against Fr. Louis Bonacci, S.J. Immediately, the Diocese of Scranton suspended Fr. Bonacci from employment and suspended his faculties to exercise priestly ministries within the Diocese of Scranton pending an investigation of the accusation by the Society of Jesus and civil authorities in Maryland, where the allegation occurred.
In July 2006, Bishop Martino retained Fr. Bonacci to serve as the Diocesan Coordinator of Spiritual Direction whereby he was available to provide spiritual direction for both priests and deacons of the Diocese of Scranton. Fr. Bonacci served in this capacity until his suspension. There had been no prior allegations against Fr. Bonacci. On June 3, 2011, upon being informed of the outcome of the investigation and the decision of the provincial of the Maryland Province, Rev. James Shea, S.J., to permanently remove Fr. Bonacci from all ministry, the Diocese of Scranton terminated his employment.
The Diocese of Scranton remains committed to cooperating with all civil authorities and in this instance, with the Society of Jesus, during the investigation and encourages anyone who suspects abuse by any clergy or employee of the Diocese to contact local civil authorities. The Diocese continues to pray for the victims of sexual abuse and asks the faithful of the Diocese to pray for the healing all those affected while working together to protect our children.
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