5 Marianists accused of sexual abuse worked at former Hamilton high school

By Michael D. Clark And Josh Sweigart
June 26, 2020

[with video]

Five men appearing on a recently released list of Marianist priests and brothers who the order says sexually abused children were assigned to the former Hamilton Catholic High School at some time during their careers, according to a Journal-News review of the documents.Leaders of the Marianists, a Catholic religious order with a 170-year history in the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton region, released a list Wednesday of 46 priests and brothers they say were found to have abused children since 1950 in the United States.Marianist officials listed five men who spent some of their careers working at the former Hamilton Catholic High School under the category of “members found to have sexually abused a minor.”

The school, which was located at 533 Dayton Street, closed in 1966, and students transferred to the then-new Badin High School in west Hamilton.

The building has for years been the central office of the Hamilton public schools.

The five — Francis A. Russell, John J. Keegan, Julius F. May, Ralph A. Mravintz and Thomas J. Doyle — all spent some years of their careers working at the former Hamilton Catholic High School. The exact years of employment are not noted in the document.

They were among a list of 19 men with ties to the Dayton area and Marianist institutions such as the University of Dayton and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. Sixteen Marianists on the list served in the Province of Cincinnati, which was headquartered in Dayton until it merged with the other Marianist provinces in 2002.

All five are deceased.

A statement from Marianists officials noted all on the list were “found to have sexually abused a minor through physical contact and other incidents that do not fit that precise definition.”

Officials also noted “the known instance(s) of abuse did not necessarily occur in the context of his service at any or all of these ministries.”

Badin High School Principal Brian D. Pendergest told the Journal-News Thursday that “no one on the list … appears to have worked at Badin,” but deferred to officials at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which oversees the school.

Archdiocese officials also confirmed none of the five had worked at Badin High School.

Russell joined the order in 1939 and died in 1991, according to information released by the order. He worked at four schools in Ohio, including Hamilton Catholic and in Cincinnati.

Keegan, a 1948 University of Dayton graduate, left the order in 1962 and is reported by Marianist officials as having died in 2007.

According to a 2018 Dayton Daily News story, in the late 1950s Keegan worked at a school near Pittsburgh where he “sexually abused a male student, fondling him and offering to ‘examine’ the boy’s penis because of his masturbation habits,” according to allegations in a grand jury report. Keegan’s victim was the fourth of six adults in 2014 to accuse him of sexual abuse decades earlier.

May taught at nine schools, including Hamilton Catholic from 1929 to 1931.

Students at the University of Dayton from 1965 to 1974 were admitted to the university by Mravintz, the former admissions director who once touted the university to prospective students as “a good place to be — people can make mistakes here and learn from them.” He died in 2006.

Doyle, according to Marianist officials, was ordained in 1974 and died in 2007. He worked at four other high schools besides Hamilton Catholic during his career.

The Rev. Oscar Vasquez, provincial of the Marianist Province of the United States, released a statement along with the list saying, in part: “In publishing this list, we hope and pray that survivors will be validated in their experiences, and that our commitment to transparency will help rebuild trust.”

Dan Frondorf, local leader of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, called the order’s statement “troublesome, and very self serving to the order.”

“They take great effort to let us all know they have undertaken ‘special penances’ and prayed a lot about their abusive priests, but they don’t say how they’ve made actual, meaningful, affirmative, and effective atonement to the actual victims of the abuse for which they apologize,” he said.


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