Rev. Bradley M. Schaeffer, S.J., a member of the Boston College Board of Trustees, has come under fire for allegedly covering up sexual abuse as the leader of the Jesuits in Chicago more than 10 years ago.
In an article published in The Boston Globe this past Sunday, Schaeffer is alleged to have been aware of sexual abuse committed by one of his most famous priests, but reportedly did not contact the police or other authorities.
The article claimed that Donald J. McGuire, an associate of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and a world-traveling retreat leader, sexually assaulted multiple young boys over the course of more than a decade. McGuire, who was expelled from the Jesuit order in 2007 and is now serving 25 years in a federal prison for child sex abuse, supposedly traveled the world with young boys, who were frequently victims of inappropriate massages and sexual contact.
McGuire’s superiors were made aware of his transgressions, and he was sent to rehabilitation for treatment of a sexual disorder, but dropped out quickly. Jesuit superiors also ordered that McGuire not travel with boys under the age of 18, but the rule was weakly enforced. The article claims that McGuire continued to sexually abuse boys until as late as 2003.
“McGuire molested dozens of boys over decades,” Julie B. Porter, the assistant United States attorney who led McGuire’s federal prosecution, told The Boston Globe. “It wasn’t until the very end, when McGuire was almost 80 years old, that a victim came forward to law-enforcement officials.”
The Jesuits are currently facing a lawsuit for failing to protect the young boys who traveled with McGuire.
“Schaeffer, now 62 and planning to retire from BC later this year, declined to answer questions from a Globe reporter outside his office in February,” the article read. “But he issued a statement through the Jesuits’ Chicago Province expressing contrition for the role he played in mismanaging complaints against McGuire. ‘I deeply regret that my actions were not enough to prevent him from engaging in these horrific crimes,’ he said.”
As a Jesuit-Catholic University, BC has attempted to respond to the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal of the last decade, most prominently with the establishment of the Church in the 21st Century Program (C21). The program analyzes the difficulties the church is facing in the 21st century, and works to bring back confidence in the institution.
“The Globe article on the reprehensible conduct of former Jesuit Don Maguire is a painful reminder of the evil of sexual abuse and its effect on innocent victims,” said University Spokesman Jack Dunn.
“Clearly, these revelations demonstrate that there was a series of mistakes made and a failure of leadership in the Chicago Province regarding the supervision of Don Maguire.”
“Fr. Brad Schaeffer, S.J., has served as a trustee of Boston College since 2004. In accordance with the Trustee Bylaws, decisions regarding board membership rest with the Board of Trustees and its individual members.”
“The Board is reviewing these revelations and is in discussions regarding an appropriate response.”
At BC, Schaeffer serves as rector of the Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community at the School of Theology and Ministry. In August 2012, he will be succeeded by Rev. James Gartland, S.J. In his post, Schaeffer also supervises a study center for future Jesuit priests.