WTVG [Toledo OH]
October 31, 2023
By WTVG staff
A former priest at St. John’s Jesuit High School has been added to a list of those with established allegations of sexual abuse toward minors.
According to a statement from SJJ, Father Francis Canfield died in May of 2023. He was a faculty member at St. John’s from 1990 to 2005.
The school said in a statement that a former student told the Church in 2002 about alleged sexual abuse that occurred during the 1999-2000 school year. The claim was investigated by the Church and determined to be “established”.
The full list kept by the Jesuit Midwest Province can be found here. Read the full statement from the school leadership below:
St. John’s Jesuit High School has been notified by the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus that Fr. Francis E. Canfield, SJ has been placed on the public list of Jesuits with an established allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor. Fr. Canfield, who passed away on May 6, 2023, served as a faculty member at St. John’s from 1990 to 2005. An established allegation is based on the facts and circumstances of each case wherein there is a reasonable certainty that the sexual abuse of a minor occurred. An established allegation leads to a Jesuit’s permanent removal from public ministry. The names on the Midwest Province’s list are based on a process of consultation, and do not represent a legal judgement. The Jesuit public list is available at www.midwestjesuits.org.
In 2022, a former student of St. John’s Jesuit came forward to the Catholic Church with an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor against Fr. Francis Canfield. The sexual abuse allegedly occurred during the 1999-2000 school year. During the investigation, the appropriate civil authorities were notified, however no criminal charges arose. St. John’s Jesuit fully cooperated with authorities in the spirit of complete honesty and transparency. Following required ecclesiastical procedures, the Midwest Jesuits engaged the services of an independent firm to investigate the allegation. After receiving the completed independent investigation report, and consulting with the Province’s Review Board, the Provincial of the Midwest Province determined the allegation to be “established”.
No matter the length of time, anyone who has been the victim of abuse by an employee or member of our staff while at St. John’s Jesuit is asked to report the incident to the Toledo Diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator at (419) 244-6711, the St. John’s Jesuit President’s Office, or to local law enforcement. If the abuse or inappropriate behavior involved a Jesuit priest, you are urged to contact Ms. Marjorie O’Dea, Director of the Office of Safe Environment, for the Midwest Province of Jesuits at 773-975-6876 or at UMISafeMinistry@Jesuits.org. All questions regarding Fr. Canfield should be directed to Quentin Maguire, Director of Communications for the Midwest Province of Jesuits, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. John’s Jesuit is committed to the highest standards of safety for our students and employees. In accordance with the Diocese of Toledo, all employees, including priests, faculty, staff, and coaches, must undergo FBI and BCI background checks, as well as Protecting Youth and Vulnerable Adults safety training. Further, we have in place a vigorously enforced zero-tolerance policy regarding inappropriate, physical, sexual, or emotionally abusive interaction between our students, faculty, coaches, and staff. Our commitment to providing a safe and nurturing environment remains paramount.