It is with great sorrow that we come together today with the departure of our president and dear friend, Fr. Julio Giulietti, S.J. We have all come here to seek the truth, and to know and understand what has happened within the university walls and what has become of the reputation of WJU. In this light, please invite anyone to read the blog and feel free to comment as you wish.

Any posts with profanity are not welcome, otherwise, please speak your mind. You are a part of this university and we want to hear your voice!

Friday, October 16, 2009

WJU Board Member Under Fire

October 14, 2009

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Wheeling Jesuit University on Wednesday refused demands from a clergy-abuse survivors' group to suspend a member of the Board of Directors and investigate past claims of sexual harassment.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, was organizing a protest in downtown Wheeling to pressure the school and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to take some action against Father Thomas Gleeson.

J. Davitt McAteer, Wheeling Jesuit's interim president, said the university is aware of the allegations and sees no further need to investigate. Gleeson has served the school since 2004.

"We at Wheeling Jesuit University, and I personally, am happy to have Father Gleeson serving as a valuable member of our Board of Trustees and Board of Directors," he said in a prepared statement. "We have no plans to suspend Father Gleeson, nor conduct any investigation."

Wheeling Jesuit is currently seeking a new president. It fired Julio Giulietti Aug. 6 after two years on the job, citing a lack of confidence in his leadership.

Gleeson and two other priests were sued in the 1990s over alleged sexual harassment at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif. Seminarian John Bollard said priests pressured him for sex and Gleeson - then president of the seminary - propositioned him twice.

Bollard claimed a dozen priests subjected him to unwelcome advances in the 5½ years before he left the seminary. His lawsuit was settled out of court in 2000 with no admission of wrongdoing.

But Judy Jones, SNAP's regional director for the Ohio Valley, said American bishops adopted a sexual misconduct policy in 2002 that promised openness in such cases, and suspensions and investigations when credible accusations arise.

She believes that policy obligates Wheeling Jesuit and the diocese to be cautious, suspend Gleeson and investigate the initial claims.

The diocese, however, said it has no authority to either appoint or remove leaders at Wheeling Jesuit. Gleeson is not a resident of West Virginia, does not reside at Wheeling Jesuit and is not an active cleric for the diocese.

"The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston adheres to the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People," its statement read, "and the Diocese continues to comply with and exceed national standards for maintaining a safe environment in the Catholic community."

- by Vicki Smith, Associate Press Writer, as published at Charleston Daily Mail

1 comment:

  1. Isn't this Gleeson guy a member of the WJU board for so long now? It's about time for restructuring!