Marin Priest Denies Molestation Allegations

October 25, 2005

(BCN) The Archdiocese of San Francisco said today that a Marin County priest "vigorously" denies a lawsuit's allegation that he sexually abused a minor in Oregon nearly 20 years ago.

In a statement, the archdiocese said that it was informed on Oct. 6 that a lawsuit had been filed against Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Ore., in which an anonymous individual identified only as "JT" alleges that he was abused as a minor sometime between 1986 and 1987 by Father John Schwartz.

Schwartz was a member of the Jesuit Province of Oregon and a teacher at Jesuit High School from 1981 to 1987. He served in parochial assignments in the Archdiocese of Portland after his tenure on the faculty.

Schwartz has been "ministering" in the Archdiocese of San Francisco for nearly four years, officials said. He currently is assistant pastor at St. Anselm Church in Ross, which serves Ross, San Anselmo and parts of Kentfield.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco said that according to reports, the attorney for Jesuit High School said the lawsuit was the first indication of a claim of inappropriate conduct by Father Schwartz, and the school said he had never previously been accused of wrongdoing.

There also have been no allegations of sexual misconduct during his time in San Francisco, the archdiocese said.

Jesuit High School and the Jesuit Province in Oregon are "thoroughly investigating" the claim, the archdiocese said.

Bishop Jon Wester, apostolic administrator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, contacted the Jesuit Province in Oregon, as well as the Archdiocese of Portland, and learned that no allegations of sexual misconduct had ever been made against Father Schwartz, according to the archdiocese.

The archdiocese, which serves San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, said, "Father Schwartz has vigorously denied the allegation."

The archdiocese said that if facts emerge which lend credibility to the allegations during the course of the Jesuit investigation and the civil lawsuit proceedings, Father Schwartz, in accordance with archdiocesan policy, will be placed on administrative leave while the case continues to be investigated.

The archdiocese said it "places the highest priority on the safety of children and young people."

The archdiocese said it is in full compliance with the U.S. Bishops "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," which mandates safe environments for children and youth, concern and support for abuse victims and cooperation with child protective services.

(Bay City News)


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