Seminary probe finds inappropriate conduct, no criminality

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BOSTON — An investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse at a seminary run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston did find some “inappropriate” sexual conduct but no evidence of criminal behavior or sexual activity between seminarians and faculty members.

The investigation was launched in August 2018 when two seminarians said in social media posts that St. John’s Seminary in Brighton tolerated illicit sexual behavior and excessive alcohol consumption.

Former U.S. Attorney Donald Stern led the investigation.

The archdiocese said in a statement Friday the investigation also found inadequate and sometimes absent leadership and oversight, which contributed to a lack of robust financial controls and a low tolerance for dissenting views.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley in a statement said many of the recommendations in the final report have already been implemented.

“I am grateful for the thoughtful and comprehensive efforts of Mr. Stern and his team, their candor throughout the process and time given by all who participated in the interviews. I am especially grateful to St. John’s Seminary’s leadership, faculty, staff and students who have remained diligent and focused on academic life and priestly formation during the inquiry,” O’Malley said.

“The inquiry has presented issues that require remedial action and oversight for ongoing compliance. I am confident that the facts brought forth by this report and the actions being taken to address those issues unite us in the commitment to ensure that St. John’s Seminary maintains a standard of excellence for the formation of men discerning the vocation of a life of service to the Church,” he continued.

O’Malley said he’ll share the recommendations with the archdiocese’s two other seminaries.

O’Malley is Pope Francis’s top adviser on sex abuse. Boston was the epicenter of the priest abuse scandal in 2001.

Crux staff contributed to this report.


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