D.C. Jesuit Accused of Molestation
Walsh worked on Georgetown�s campus
By Garrett Therolf
April 23, 1998
Five sisters called on their uncle, William J. Walsh, S.J., to turn in his collar Monday, alleging the Georgetown priest molested them at least 40 years ago. They are publicly calling for expulsion from the priesthood, two years after they initially reported it to the Society of Jesus and became unsatisfied with its response. Walsh, who works in the Woodstock Theological Center on campus, is now in his 70's and has, since the accusations, gone into seclusion.
The university released a statement stressing that Walsh does not live in the Jesuit residence on campus, and that he has no interaction with students for his job here. The statement said he has gone on administrative leave since the public allegations surfaced. The Woodstock Theological Center that is based in the Lauinger Library and is operated by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.
Five of six sisters went public to say that Walsh molested them each individually over a period of time when they were in his care. At a press conference, one of the sisters said, "As best I can remember, Father Walsh sexually abused me more than 200 times, usually wearing his white collar. I can still see his hands trembling as he was touching me. Somehow I felt it was my fault."
It was not until two years ago that the women discovered they had a shared past, when a relative shared with them a letter from Walsh. Walsh had been teaching in China at the time and said he had befriended a 3-year-old girl. Until then, each of the sisters thought she was Walsh's only victim. The women reported their allegations to the Maryland province of the Society of Jesus. They say he was then assigned to his job on Georgetown's campus.
Walsh entered a treatment program for the abuse. A statement released by the Jesuits said Walsh has complied with the program, has been under supervision and has done what he could to reconcile with his family.
WRC-TV reported that the Jesuits proposed last year to reimburse the women for the psychological therapy they underwent for the abuse. All five of the sisters rejected the offer.
Neither the Woodstock residence on 35th Street where he officially lives or his order in Maryland could say where Walsh had gone since the allegations surfaced and he was placed on administrative leave. A member of his residence said in a phone interview that he was not there. WTTG reported that Walsh is in Alaska.
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