Ex-Student Accuses Jesuit Of Misconduct
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
A Maryland Jesuit has been removed from the ministry and is under close supervision after being accused of sexual misconduct involving a student when the priest was an assistant principal of Gonzaga College High School in the 1970s.
The Rev. H. Cornell Bradley could not be reached for comment, and a spokeswoman for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus said his superiors have instructed him not to speak to the media. But a province statement said that Bradley, 69, "has said he is unable to deny the allegations."
The allegations, province spokeswoman Kate Pipkin said yesterday, do not involve fondling or genital touching but rather "asking someone to do something that makes them uncomfortable."
Bradley, 69, faced other allegations in the early 1990s and was sent to residential psychiatric treatment for several months in 1993, according to the province. Health care workers deemed him fit for ministry, Pipkin said, and he was sent to Philadelphia's St. Joseph's University in 1995, where he stayed for a decade as campus minister and basketball team chaplain, among other positions.
That decision was a mistake, the province said in a letter sent last week to Gonzaga alumni and others Bradley worked with as a priest. The one credible substantiated allegation against him at the time -- of having "a long-term, abusive sexual relationship with an adult woman," Pipkin said -- under today's policies would have been sufficient to remove him from ministry.
Gonzaga spokesman Steve Langevin declined to comment yesterday, saying he was unaware of cases involving Gonzaga students. He referred questions to the province.
St. Joseph's President Timothy R. Lannon issued a statement about Bradley, who worked at the school until last year. The province did not inform the school of the allegations when he was sent there, the statement said, and no allegations of misconduct were made at St. Joseph's.
Bradley did two stints at Gonzaga, as a math teacher in the 1960s and as assistant principal and a religion teacher in the 1970s.
In the first case, Bradley told his superiors of "something he was concerned about" involving a minor, but nothing that involved contact. The incident happened in the 1970s and "was excused," Pipkin said.
In the second case, someone passed on a tip about misconduct with a Gonzaga student in the 1970s. Bradley denied it. It involved a student who had since died.
The third report, from the adult woman, was the first "substantiated" case, Pipkin said, and the one that got Bradley into treatment. It was not reported to the authorities, as it was a case of "immoral pastoral conduct, not something criminal," Pipkin said.
Then, in 2005, an adult male said the priest had had "inappropriate sexual conduct with him" when the male was an adult. Bradley "verified substantial details of the allegation" and was removed from ministry in January 2006.
Late last year, the province received a complaint of sexual misconduct from 1973. The man was a student at Gonzaga College High School at the time. Since the case involved a minor, officials decided to publicize Bradley's history to see whether there were other alleged victims.
Pipkin said the last reported misconduct happened in the late 1980s.
On Jan. 29, the province distributed a letter to places where the priest had lived and worked. Since then, Pipkin said, the province has not received additional complaints.