Cover-Up at Gonzaga

By John Stucke and Benjamin Shors
Spokesman-Review [Spokane WA]
September 9, 2006

In 1969, amid fresh allegations that the president of Gonzaga University had sexually abused young boys, the university, the Spokane Police Department and Jesuit hierarchy orchestrated a stunning cover-up that preserved the reputation of the institution and a man revered as a leader in Spokane.

Spokane police ordered the Rev. John P. Leary to leave town within 24 hours or face arrest in April 1969. It was an offer that Leary's superiors at the time accepted.

"I can only surmise that fear of scandal and of harm to Gonzaga University gripped those Jesuits, and led them to accept the offer of civil authorities," the Rev. John D. Whitney, the Jesuits' current provincial superior based in Portland revealed Friday. "Fear, however, is not an adequate excuse and is not consistent with our faith and calling."


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