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Father Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.,
The recent acknowledgment of credible allegations of sexual predation by Neil McLaughlin, S.J., a Jesuit with ties to the University of Scranton, is tragic for his victims as well as the University of Scranton. It is conceivable that his victims could include members of the University of Scranton community.
As President of the University of Scranton, you have an opportunity to use this tragic news to educate the university community, as well as surrounding communities, on the epidemic of sexual crimes committed against children in our society. You can show your commitment to the truth and rise above diocesan rhetoric of denial and re-victimization to open a meaningful dialogue with the survivor community.
I hope you use this moment in the University’s history to openly discuss the problems of sexual crimes committed by clergy in the Catholic Church. Such a discussion could bring together survivors, civil authorities, church representatives and the Catholic Community to openly address the crisis. As the President of a prestigious Catholic University you have the opportunity and the obligation to further discuss the crisis, especially in light of the revelation that a credibly accused predator once enjoyed a position of trust and respect at the University of Scranton.
I hope you don’t add your name to the long list of people who issue a statement and then never acknowledge the crisis again. I would like to think that the University of Scranton is still a place where real issues are discussed openly and all voices are heard. Prayer is good, especially when it accompanies action.
Class of 1982
How long are we going to have to deal with these “revelations” dribbling out of the various religious orders or diocese across the country. It seems that there is no end to new reports of past abuse. At some point, can we actually get a District Attorney, Commonwealth Attorney or a Federal Prosecutor to start a comprehensive review of what was known by the religious orders and diocese?
An article in the Scranton Times-Tribune and a notice from the President of the University of Scranton have revealed yet another predator priest who once operated in the Diocese of Scranton at a number of churches and at the University of Scranton.
The text of the announcement of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) reads:
An Announcement from the Maryland Province
The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is seeking information about possible abuse of minors by one of its members, Neil McLaughlin, S.J., during his ministry in Scranton, Pa. This inquiry results from recent information about possible victims in the Scranton area and a credible allegation from an adult female who contacted the Jesuits in 2008 regarding an abusive incident she suffered as a young girl in Scranton in 1963. People who believe that they are victims of abuse by McLaughlin should contact their local civil authorities and then call the Maryland Province Jesuits at 443-921-1326.
When the allegation was made in 2008, McLaughlin had already been removed from ministry by the Province. That action was taken in 2006 when the Province re-examined an allegation that had been made against McLaughlin in 1990 and recognized the steps taken at that time were inadequate under the policies adopted in 2004 with regard to allegations of abuse against members.
Today McLaughlin resides in a Jesuit community where he has limited access to members of the public and his actions are monitored. He has disclosed that there may be other victims of similar sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Scranton.
The Province is informing all of the dioceses and institutions where McLaughlin served to alert the Catholic public about these reports. The locations where McLaughlin was in ministry follow:
1953-1954. Prior to ordination, while a Jesuit scholastic, he taught at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia.
1954-1956. He taught at Loyola Blakefield High School in Baltimore.
1959. He was ordained to the priesthood.
1961-1983 and 1985-1986. He taught at Scranton Preparatory School.
1964-1965. He resided in and assisted at St. Paul of the Apostle Parish, Highland Park, N.J.
1965-1983. He worked part-time as a chaplain at Georgetown University Hospital during the summer.
1971-1995. He celebrated weekend masses at St John Bosco Church, Conyngham, PA.
1985-1986. He served as the Assistant Director of Campus Ministries at The University of Scranton.
1985-2006. He held various administrative jobs with the Alumni Association at The University of Scranton, including Alumni Chaplain from 2002-2006.
1990’s. He celebrated weekend masses at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Scranton.
1996-2006. He ministered part-time at St. Thomas More Church, Lake Ariel, PA.
The President of the University of Scranton issued a statement to the University Community on the University’s website
Members of the University Community,
The University has been informed that the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is seeking information about possible abuse of minors by one of its members, Neil McLaughlin, S.J., during his ministry in Scranton, Pa. We have been told that this inquiry results from recent information about possible victims in the Scranton area and a credible allegation from an adult female who contacted the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 2008 regarding an abusive incident she suffered as a young girl in Scranton in 1963.
The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus and the Diocese of Scranton are working together to ensure that communication is made to all the parishes and institutions where Neil McLaughlin served. Notice of this situation will be posted in The Catholic Light, the newspaper of the Diocese of Scranton, and in parish bulletins throughout the Diocese. I am writing to the University community and posting this information to the University’s website in order to share the information that we have received. The Province is asking people who believe that they were victims of abuse by Neil McLaughlin to contact their local civil authorities and then call the Maryland Province at 443-921-1326.
I ask you to join me in praying for all those who may have been affected.
Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.