Cardinal O’Malley launches probe into ‘serious’ allegations of misconduct at Boston seminary

BOSTON (WHDH) - Cardinal Sean O’Malley announced Friday that he has appointed a three-person panel to investigate “serious” allegations of misconduct posted on social media by two former seminarians of St. John’s Seminary in Boston.

“Earlier this week I was informed that two former seminarians of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston had posted allegations on social media sites including the Archdiocese’s Facebook page that during their time at the seminary they witnessed and experienced activities which are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood,” O’Malley said in a statement.

While O’Malley said that he was unable to “verify or disprove” the allegations, he did promise “immediate action to address the serious matters.”

Photo: Msgr. James Moroney, rector of St. John’s

In wake of the allegations, O’Malley ordered Monsignor James P. Moroney, Rector of St. John’s, to immediately take a sabbatical leave to allow for a “fully independent inquiry regarding these matters.”

O’Malley has appointed Rev. Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, Dr. Francisco Cesareo, President of Assumption College and President of the USCCB National Review Board, which advises the USCCB on matters of child and youth protection policies and practices, and Kimberly Jones, CEO of Athena Legal Strategies Group, to oversee an inquiry into the allegations.

“The allegations made this week are a source of serious concern to me as Archbishop of Boston,” O’Malley added. “The ministry of the Catholic priesthood requires a foundation of trust with the people of the Church and the wider community in which our priests serve. I am determined that all our seminaries meet that standard of trust and provide the formation necessary for priests to live a demanding vocation of service in our contemporary society. ”

O’Malley did not disclose the exact nature of the allegations but one man who identified himself as an ex-seminarian said in a blog post that he witnessed inappropriate behavior that included sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse.

No additional details were immediately available.

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