Former Loyola Ministry Director Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Don Markus
Baltimore Sun
June 9, 2011,0,5099245.story

A priest who once worked at Loyola University Maryland has been removed from his ministry duties in Pennsylvania after allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with two minors surfaced.

According to the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, the Rev. Louis Bonacci was involved in touching a minor at a Howard County residence while working as Loyola's assistant director of ministry from 1978 to 1982. He left there to become the Catholic campus minister at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and subsequently held similar positions at three other colleges.

Bonacci was working as the coordinator of spiritual direction for priests and deacons in Scranton, Pa., when he was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Maryland Province Review Board, according to its spokeswoman, Susan Gibbs. The Rev. James Shea, who permanently removed Bonacci from all ministry duties after the investigation, couldn't be reached for comment.

During an investigation by the Maryland Province Review Board, a second victim alleged similar sexual contact as a minor with Bonacci in Howard County, Gibbs said. The board reported the allegation to county police but was told that a police investigation could not be opened until at least one of the victims comes forward, she said.

No other allegations have been made against Bonacci, according to the Maryland Province.

"We hope that diocese officials will aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered sex crimes by Father Louis Bonacci," said Judy Jones, Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Nicholas Alexopulos, media relations manager for Loyola, said, "The University takes any allegations of the abuse of minors very seriously and joins the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in urging any person with information on this matter or any other involving suspected abuse by clergy or an employee of the Jesuits to contact local authorities as well as the local Province."

Bonacci could not be reached for comment.



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