For Immediate Release
Faculty Member Suspended
Rochester, NY --November 15, 2003--McQuaid Jesuit High School has announced that Father John Costello, SJ, a member of the faculty, has been suspended by the Provincial of New York Province of Jesuits. The Province took this action after it was made aware of a credible allegation of past sexual abuse that allegedly took place almost 24 years ago in New York City.
McQuaid was notified of the allegation earlier this week by Father Gerald Chojnacki, SJ, Provincial of New York Jesuits. Subsequently on Thursday November 13, Fr. Chojnacki notified Fr. Costello that he would not be allowed to function as a priest or teacher and that he cannot work with children or young adults until such time when the allegation against him is resolved.
Fr. Costello worked at McQuaid over the course of the past 18 years in three different time periods and in various capacities. He was formerly Director of Admissions and most recently was chair of the Religion Department, and taught religion and English.
No allegations or complaints have been made by students or alumni against Father Costello during his tenure at McQuaid.
The allegation was brought to the attention of the Provincial of New York Jesuits in New York City by a former student at a New York City high school, where Fr. Costello was a priest in training. The accuser was a minor at the time.
"We are very saddened to learn of this allegation," said James E. Whelehan, President of McQuaid Jesuit High School. "We agree that the actions taken by the Provincial, though unfortunate, are necessary and timely, because Fr. Costello is a current faculty member, and because our overarching concern is always the safety of our young men/students."
"Although this incident did not take place at our school, I want to make it absolutely clear that McQuaid will not tolerate any improper conduct among adults and students," stated Whelehan. "In light of recent scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church, we have learned to become highly vigilant and act in the interests of child safety as quickly as possible. We will do everything in our power to provide a positive and caring environment for our students."
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who may have been the victim of abuse. We will also keep Fr. Costello in mind in view of the fact this accusation is at the present, unproven. We extend our appreciation to him for his service to the school and know that he will receive the necessary care and support he needs to deal with the situation."
The NY Province will continue to investigate this allegation. Its action
was made in accordance with provisions of the 2002 Bishops' Charter for
the Protection of Children and Young People.
McQuaid Jesuit, named for the first Catholic Bishop of Rochester, the Most Reverend Bernard J. McQuaid, is a private, Jesuit College preparatory school for young men in grades seven-12. It is committed to fostering the development of the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional and aesthetic talents of young men through personal concern for each student, competitive educational programs, a distinctive Jesuit spirit, and a formative sense of community.
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