Priest placed on leave when allegations surface after 40 years

Associated Press
May 21, 2002

Toledo, Ohio - A priest who is the academic dean at a high school has been placed on leave following allegations of sexual misconduct with a student nearly 40 years ago.

The Rev. Thomas O'Neill also taught mathematics at St. Francis de Sales High School.

"We have to act in these things. We are being very cautious," said the Rev. James Cryan, head of the Toledo-Detroit province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, the religious order which operates the school.

The allegations were made about 10 days ago by family members of the student, who said he was sexually abused nearly 40 years ago by O'Neill in Salt Lake City, Cryan said.

Messages requesting comment from O'Neill were not returned Tuesday.

No criminal charges or civil litigation have been filed. The family's allegations involve a single incident with a student in the 1960s, Cryan said.

O'Neill, 72, has been in Toledo for 23 years. He has been placed on leave but has not been reassigned, Cryan said.

Cryan and the school's principal, the Rev. Ronald Olszewski, met with faculty and students at the high school and informed them of the allegations and the investigation.


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