Josephinum Proposes Admission Changes after Former Seminarian Child Sex Crime Charges

By Olivia Fecteau
March 21, 2016

[with copy of the proposals]

[with video]

Safe inside her home in Columbus, Carol Zamonski can talk freely about what happened more than 40 years ago.

Zamonski said she was abused by a priest in Athens, Ohio from ages three to seven.

“I didn’t remember the abuse until I was 30,” Zamonski said. “So all that time I knew it was happening, I just sort of thought my parents knew what was happening. Right? I was little.”

The allegations against Joel Wright, a former student at the Pontifical College Josephinum, dredge up memories of her own abuse. Wright was arrested in San Diego in late January after investigators said he planned to travel to Mexico to adopt a child for sex.

On Monday, the Pontifical College Josephinum announced proposals to change its admission process in response to the situation with Joel Wright. The changes were outlined Monday in a letter from Monsignor Christopher Schreck to the Board of Trustees, archbishops and bishops, members of the admissions committee and school officials.

In his letter, Monsignor Schreck proposed creating a national database for applicants to seminaries and dioceses, so schools can more easily find out if an applicant was rejected or deferred from another institution.

He also proposed using an independent report by private investigators to vet an applicant’s background, as well as requiring applicants to complete an in-person interview with the admissions committee and with a psychologist.

Zamonski said the changes could help but said they will not be a foolproof solution.

“I think definitely this should happen,” Zamonski said. “But I think also that people should not be lulled into a false sense of security by them.”

She said she didn’t think her abuser would have been caught by the changes the Josephinum has proposed

“I think that most abusers will slide through this process without being detected,” Zamonski said.

In his letter, Schreck said the Josephinum did complete psychological testing and background checks in Joel Wright’s case, but that these proposed changes would strengthen the process.

The Josephinum has scheduled a press conference to discuss the proposed changes Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The changes will be presented to the full Board at a meeting on April 19.








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