3 Marianists named in Pennsylvania abuse report worked at Dayton’s Chaminade

Note: This article is updated to provide a response from the University of Dayton.

Three Marianist brothers named in a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing widespread sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children across the state were assigned decades ago to Dayton’s former Chaminade High School, the president of Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School said Tuesday.

INVESTIGATION: 7 accused Marianists spent time at UD, Chaminade

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“Along with other Catholic men and women in our nation and around the world, we are horrified by the news coming out of the grand jury report in Pennsylvania, and other reports of misconduct of members of the clergy of the Catholic Church,” said Daniel Meixner, president of Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, which succeeded the former all-male Chaminade High School.

Records maintained by the Marianist Province of the United States show that three men named in the Pennsylvania grand jury report each worked at Chaminade High School for a year each, Meixner said. Two of the men worked at the school in the mid-1940s. The third worked at the school in the early 1950s.

Meixner said the province, which is headquartered in St. Louis, reports no allegations of inappropriate conduct by the three men during their assignments to Chaminade High School.

Additionally, Meixner said CJ administrators have received no reports of impropriety from students concerning vowed religious who worked at the school.

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“We grieve for those who suffered any harm at the hands of priests and vowed religious who were entrusted to be their shepherds of faith,” Meixner said in a statement. “In our distress and anger, we join the call for accountability for them and for those bishops, priests, and religious leaders who protected or shielded them.”

“For many years, Chaminade Julienne has joined the efforts of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to create a safe environment for our students through rigorous employee background checks and continued child protection training required of all employees and volunteers,” Meixner said.

After reviewing the grand jury report, the Dayton Daily News and News Center 7 this week asked administrators at Dayton’s two Marianist-sponsored schools, Chaminade Julienne and the University of Dayton, whether any of the three Marianists named in the report worked in Dayton.

The explosive grand jury report detailing sexual assault of more than 1,000 other child victims by more than 300 vowed religious in Pennsylvania has sparked widespread condemnation in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Catholic world, squeezing Pope Francis, the U.S. bishops and the Vatican with questions over who knew what, when.

The allegations against the Marianists each stemmed back to their time working at North Catholic High School, north of Pittsburgh.

In 2014, five adult males reported they were abused by Brother William Hildebrand, the grand jury report said. The allegations included inappropriate touching and genital groping during the 1950s and 1960s. Hildebrand died in 1979. He had no known connection to UD, the school said. He worked at Chaminade in 1947, but his role was not made clear in yearbooks.

Six complaints were filed against Brother John Keegan, according to the grand jury report. The allegations of abuse in the 1950s and 1960s surfaced in 2014 and accuse Keegan of masturbating victims and asking them inappropriate questions. He graduated in from UD in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in education, but did not work at the school and had no accusations against him at the university, according to the school. He worked at Chaminade in the English department, Glee Club and band in 1953, according to yearbooks.

Four adult males and one female reported abuse by Brother Frank Meder in the 1950s and 1960s. The allegations include spanking and fondling after offering children candy and leftovers from the cafeteria. Meder died in 1976. Meder worked in maintenance at UD from 1942 to 1947. There are no accusations against him at UD, the university said. He worked in maintenance at Chaminade in 1947 and 1948, according to yearbooks.

One victim said Meder “often gave the children pop and candy. He would then line the children up, and have them take turns sitting on his lap in a rocking chair in his office,” the report said. “He recalled that as a child, he ‘always wondered what was in Brother Franks’ pants.’ When he got older, he realized that Brother Frank had an erection.”

The University of Dayton released a statement Friday that said the school has “strong policies and procedures for sexual abuse allegations.” The school said it is not aware of credible allegations by University of Dayton students of sexual abuse against any Marianist religious working at the University since 2002.

“The University of Dayton has long had policies and procedures in place for handling any allegations of sexual abuse or harassment and any member of our community who feels they have been violated or made uncomfortable through unwelcome sexual behavior — no matter how long ago — is strongly urged to make a report, either through the University’s Equity Compliance Office or to civil authorities or both,” the school said.

Founded in France, the Society of Mary’s presence in the United States began in 1849 when the first Marianists arrived in Cincinnati.

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