Sexual Abuse Allegations Levied against Priest

By Erin L. Nissley
Citizens Voice
June 8, 2011

For the second time in six months, Jesuit authorities in Maryland are investigating allegations that a priest with ties to Scranton may have sexually abused a minor.

The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus received information last month that the Rev. Louis A. Bonacci, S.J., may have inappropriately touched a minor in a family home between 1978 and 1982. During that time frame, Father Bonacci was serving as the assistant director of campus ministry at Loyola College in Baltimore.

Father Bonacci served in the Scranton area, holding positions as a campus minister and adjunct professor of theology at the University of Scranton from 2003 to 2004and an adjunct professor at Misericordia University in Dallas in 2004. Starting in 2006, he served as the coordinator of spiritual direction for priests and deacons for the Diocese of Scranton, according to a statement released by the diocese.

After being notified of the allegations against Father Bonacci on April 8, the Diocese of Scranton terminated his employment, according to a brief statement posted on the diocese's website. Diocese spokesman William Genello could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Investigators with the province are asking anyone with additional information about Father Bonacci or who suspect abuse by him or any other clergy or employee of the Jesuits to call their local police department and the Maryland Province at 433-921-1326.

Father Bonacci is the second priest with local ties to be investigated by the Maryland Province authorities for suspected sexual abuse of minors.

In December, the province announced an investigation into possible abuses of minors by the Rev. Neil McLaughlin while he served in Scranton starting in 1961.

Father McLaughlin served as the head of Scranton Preparatory School's physics department for 22 years, where he taught science to seniors and freshmen. He was removed from ministry by the Jesuits in 2006 following allegations of misconduct, according to Times-Shamrock archives.

In an e-mail sent Tuesday, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests spokeswoman Judy Jones said the group hopes "diocese officials will aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected, or suffered sex crimes by (Father) Louis Bonacci" and urged anyone with information about the allegations against him to call police.



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