Scholarships Named for Jesuits with Mass. Ties Discontinued after Order Identifies Clergy Credibly Accused of Child Molestation
By Laura Crimaldi
January 16, 2019
Scholarships were given in their names, and Catholic institutions in Massachusetts tapped them as leaders.
But after the publication this week of the names of 50 Jesuit priests who were credibly accused of molesting children since 1950, organizations statewide have stripped the men of honors bestowed upon them years earlier. Twenty-two of the Jesuits had local ties, including five who are living.
On Wednesday, Boston College High School in Dorchester said it had discontinued a scholarship named for the late Rev. Leo Pollard, a German teacher and longtime hockey coach who molested children, according to the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus.
The scholarship was established in 1997, the 50th anniversary of Pollard’s ordination, she said.
He is among 16 Jesuits who worked at BC High who were identified by the order as having sexually abused children. Pollard died in 1999 at age 81.
The school on Tuesday said James Talbot, a defrocked priest jailed in Maine for sexually abusing a boy there during the 1990s, was the only living Jesuit on the list with ties to BC High.
Talbot pleaded guilty in 2005 to raping and sexually assaulting two students at BC High during the 1970s and was sentenced to five to seven years in prison.
On Wednesday, the school corrected its statement to include two more men identified by the Jesuits as abusers: John H. Acres and Robert Cornigans.
Both men are alive but are no longer Jesuits, the order said.
One man who said Pollard molested him at a camp in Lakeville said he was sickened to learn that a scholarship was named for Pollard.
Ron Casey, 74, a retired deputy labor commissioner in California, said Pollard sexually abused him from the time he was 11 years old until age 13.
As a result of the abuse, Casey said he struggled with alcohol, drugs, and intimacy.
“It really took a toll in my earlier life. I couldn’t connect deeply with other people,” said Casey, who grew up in South Boston and briefly attended BC High.
His lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said his efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Jesuits for Casey have stalled.
Garabedian said he has reached agreements in two cases involving Pollard.
One client said Pollard molested him between 1957 and 1959. At the time, Pollard was coaching youth hockey in Quincy.
The other case, settled in 2008, dealt with allegations that Pollard sexually abused a student at BC High between 1966 and 1967, Garabedian said.
Carter, the BC High spokeswoman, didn’t respond Wednesday to a question about why the scholarship remained in place after Garabedian accused Pollard of abuse.
In Fall River, a group said Wednesday it would no longer award a scholarship honoring the Rev. Richard Wolf, a deceased Jesuit who worked at Bishop Connolly High School from 1969 to 1986.
Jim Rogers, president of the Fall River Scholarship Foundation, said he wasn’t aware of abuse allegations against Wolf, who died in 1986.
“The Foundation members had no knowledge of Father Wolf’s personal conduct but only dealt with him in the capacity of fund-raising projects,” he said in an e-mail.
Wolf was accused in 2005 of sexually abusing a minor, according to the Jesuits, who found the allegation credible following an investigation. He is among six Jesuits who worked at the Fall River school who were included on the list.
All are dead except the Rev. Richard Roos, who was stripped of his ministerial duties this month after the province determined that he had admitted to abusing a minor.
He is listed as a member of the board of directors for the Campion Center, a Jesuit retreat in Weston, according to its website. A phone call and e-mails sent to employees there went unanswered Wednesday.
In 2001, the Jesuits restricted Roos’s ministerial duties after finding he crossed a boundary with an adult, said Mike Gabriele, a spokesman for the order.
While being treated for that misconduct, Roos admitted to sexually abusing a minor during the 1980s, Gabriele said. But the Jesuits didn’t take action against him for attacking the child until recently, when officials discovered a record of his admission, he said.
One Jesuit who has been accused of molesting a child in a federal civil lawsuit, but was not included on the list, is the Rev. Paul Carrier.
In 2014, a Haitian man sued Carrier and others in federal court in Connecticut over allegations that the priest molested him between 1999 and 2005 in Haiti. The alleged abuse began when the man was 11 years old and continued for about five years, the lawsuit said.
The case is pending. The Globe doesn’t publish the names of alleged sexual abuse victims without their consent.
Garabadien, who represents Carrier’s accuser, said he settled a separate case for $12 million in which Carrier, a former chaplain at Fairfield University in Connecticut, was accused of failing to supervise the founder of a residential school in Haiti.
The founder, Douglas Perlitz, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison in 2011 after acknowledging that he engaged in illicit sexual conduct with boys at the school.
Gabriele, the Jesuit spokesman, said Carrier is not in active ministry. The order plans to investigate the child molestation accusation once the civil litigation ends, he said.
Carrier’s lawyers didn’t respond Wednesday to an e-mail.
Laura Crimaldi can be reached at email@example.com . Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.