Message from the President
Office of the President
January 15, 2019
Dear Cheverus Community:
Today, Fr. John Cecero, S.J., Provincial of the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus, released the names of all current and former Jesuits in the Northeast Province with credible allegations of sexual abuse of any minor as of 1950 or later. You may read the full statement here. The list includes some Jesuits with connections to Cheverus. No Jesuits with credible allegations against them currently serve in active ministry. Below is a list of Jesuits who have served at Cheverus. Five of the Jesuits listed below are deceased.
- William B. Cahill served at Cheverus from 1950-1960. He died in 1986. The allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during the time frame of 1955-56 were found credible after investigation. The report was made in 2002.
- Stephen Dawber served at Cheverus from 1978-1984. He died in 2010. The allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during the time frame of 1970-76 were found credible after investigation. The report was made in 2002.
- Joseph Dooley served at Cheverus from 1954-1958. He died in 1983. The allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in 1965 were found credible after investigation. The report was made in 2000.
- Eugene Orteneau served at Cheverus from 1978-1979. He left the Jesuits in 2003 and died in 2009. The allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during the time frame of 1992-95 were found credible after investigation. The report was made in 2005.
- Richard Roos served at Cheverus from 1974-1978 and from 1979-1980. He admitted to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor from the 1980s. The report was made in 2001. He was restricted in 2001 and impeded in 2019.
- James Talbot served at Cheverus from 1980-1998. The allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during the time frame of1970s – 1990s were found credible after investigation. Reports were made from 1990s on. He was laicized in 2013 and incarcerated in 2018.
- James P. Walsh served at Cheverus from 1970-1972 and from 1977-1979. He died in 2009. The allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during the time frame of1984-1985 were found credible after investigation. Reports were made in 2002 and 2004.
These are difficult times for the Catholic Church. Nationally, recent revelations exposed an even greater depth and breadth of the sexual abuse crisis within our Church and triggered intense and raw emotions.
We may never realize the full impact that this abuse crisis has had on individuals, families, or communities. Lives have been impacted in profound emotional and psychological ways. The decision by the Northeast Province to face this shameful part of our history and release this list of names is a necessary step towards healing.
The USA Northeast Province implemented stringent policies regarding inappropriate conduct between a Jesuit and a minor fifteen years ago. The Province is committed to ensuring that the long formation program for young Jesuits fosters a healthy development for both spiritual and mental health.
Cheverus High School has a zero-tolerance policy regarding abuse and we work vigorously to maintain a safe environment for all students, faculty, and staff. We have in place rigorous screenings and criminal background checks, state-mandated Maine Department of Education fingerprinting, mandatory and ongoing sexual abuse prevention training, a code of conduct for all employees, and a protocol for both employees and students to report allegations.
The safeguards enacted by the Province and Cheverus, coupled with the societal awareness of abuse, form the deep, collective commitment to prevent such horrible acts in the future. While we cannot erase the pain and suffering experienced by any victim/survivor of clerical sexual abuse, I ask that you join me in praying for and with them. I believe the Gospel message that light will conquer darkness. Together as a community, let us offer support and space for healing as we seek God’s light.
Fr. Robert J. Pecoraro, S.J.