Jesuit High School president: Release of clergy abuse list shows spirit of reconciliation, transparency
By Jonathan Bullington
November 02, 2018
|Jesuit High School president, the Rev. Christopher Fronk, S.J., pictured in a 2013 photo reading during a Mass for soldiers on the front lines of Afghanistan.|
The Archdiocese of New Orleans’ decision Friday (Nov. 2) to release a list of 57 area clergy members “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors was met with support from the leader of Jesuit High School, who said the release was done in the spirit of reconciliation and transparency.
Four people named on the list were at one time employed by the Mid-City high school, including a former president of the school.
“The horrible stories of abuse from the past have given us the task of reconciliation, which, though painful for members of our school community, is the only proper response for Christians,” said the school’s president, the Rev. Christopher S. Fronk, in a letter to the school community.
“We make these efforts with the archbishop in order to bring the truth of our past into the light,” he continued. “While we continue to pray for healing for all victims of abuse, we remain vigilant in creating the safest environment for our young people and the entire Jesuit community.”
The list of accused clergy includes the Rev. Donald Pearce, who led Jesuit High School from 1965 to 1968. According to the archdiocese, Pearce’s “estimated timeframe of abuse” was the 1960s. An allegation against Pearce was received in 2003 and the Jesuit order was notified in 2010, six years before Pearce’s death.
Also on the list from Jesuit High School is Claude Boudreaux, the school’s former religion and languages teacher, employed from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1980 to 2005 – the same year that, according to the archdiocese, the Jesuit order was notified of the allegation against him.
Charles Coyle taught English, Latin, history and religion from 1958 to 1961, the high school said in its letter. Jesuit and the archdiocese said the abuse allegation against Coyle occurred outside of the New Orleans archdiocese.
Read the full letter below:
Dear members of the Jesuit High School community,
In a spirit of reconciliation and transparency, we at Jesuit support the decision of New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond to release the names of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
In addition to the many steps we have taken to ensure the safety of today’s young people, Jesuit High School and the Jesuit province of which we are a part (the U.S. Central and Southern Province) have been pro-active in communication with the archbishop to ensure that the archdiocese’s list corresponds with records from the province. It is the province that makes assignments for its men and keeps their personnel records, not Jesuit High School.
We continue to make every effort to support victims and respect their requests for privacy. We are able to release information about clergy on the archdiocese’s list who were at some point assigned at Jesuit High School. Claude Boudreaux taught religion and a variety of languages (1976-1977; 1980-2005). Neil Carr was a religion teacher, chairman of religious affairs, and associate chaplain (1976-1980). Charles Coyle was a scholastic teaching English, Latin, history, and religion (1958-1961). J. Donald Pearce served as a Spanish teacher (1960-1961), prefect of discipline (1961-1965), and president (1965-1968).
The scope for the archdiocese’s list extends to clergy (priests and deacons) working in the archdiocese, which includes clergy from the Society of Jesus. Therefore, religious brothers and scholastics (seminarians) in the Society of Jesus, like Claude Ory and Donald Dickerson who were mentioned in recent media reports, are not listed. Charles Coyle was also a scholastic when he worked at Jesuit High School. He was included on the archdiocese’s list because his priestly faculties, which he received later, were restricted while he was living in New Orleans, even though the reported abuse occurred elsewhere.
The Central and Southern Province will be taking further steps for transparency and reconciliation and will announce those plans soon.
The horrible stories of abuse from the past have given us the task of reconciliation, which, though painful for members of our school community, is the only proper response for Christians. We make these efforts with the archbishop in order to bring the truth of our past into the light. While we continue to pray for healing for all victims of abuse, we remain vigilant in creating the safest environment for our young people and the entire Jesuit community.
Fr. Christopher S. Fronk, S.J.