D.C. Jesuit removed from ministry for allegedly touching child improperly

A D.C. Jesuit who has served as a national leader on spiritual music and African American worship has been permanently removed from ministry after an investigator concluded that he improperly touched a child in the 1980s.

The Rev. J-Glenn Murray was associate pastor at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church in Northwest Washington when he was removed this month, according to a statement by the regional office of the Jesuits, an order of the Catholic Church.

The abuse allegedly took place when Murray worked as a teacher at St. Frances-Charles Hall high school in Baltimore. The school is now called St. Frances Academy.

The accuser first made a complaint in 2005, the statement said, but an initial investigation concluded that the person was not credible. The statement said police told the Jesuits that their investigation was closed because the accuser would not speak with them.

A spokeswoman for the regional office of the Jesuits was not able to say immediately whether the allegation involves more than one incident. The pastor at St. Aloysius declined to comment.

Immediate efforts to reach Murray were unsuccessful, but the statement said “he now resides in a monitored residence with his Jesuit community.”

Murray spent almost 20 years working in Cleveland, mostly teaching liturgy and doing outreach to African American Catholics. He reportedly advised the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on African American worship in the 1990s and is advertised as the keynote speaker at next month’s conference of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians in Louisville.

According to the statement, Jesuit officials reviewed his file this spring while discussing his next assignment and decided to reopen the case and bring in a new investigator. The spokeswoman said officials thought that the case could be more complete.

Expanded interviews and new information led officials to remove Murray from ministry.

Murray has been a Jesuit since 1968.

Michelle Boorstein is the Post’s religion reporter, where she reports on the busy marketplace of American religion.
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