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Contact: John Moynihan, jmoynihan@votf.org, (617) 558-5252, (617) 680-2131 cell

For Immediate release

For Immediate release
VOTF Statement on Fr. William Clark, S.J.

October 19, 2007 - Voice of the Faithful is hosting its third convention to provide its leaders and members with practical ideas for continuing VOTF's commitment to achieve our three goals: support for survivors; support for priests who spoke and acted with integrity in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis; and participation in the reforms needed to stop the abuses and cover-ups from occurring again.

The convention lineup includes a wide array of workshop speakers who bring particular competence to the workshop topics they discuss. One of those speakers is Fr. William Clark, S.J. Based on his success in working with local churches, Fr. Clark was invited as an academic specialist to participate on a panel highlighting potential solutions and options for today’s parish and worship communities. He has also spoken out about the Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis, and he has spoken many times at VOTF events since 2002.

Despite these qualifications, some have objected to his participation as a speaker because he currently serves on the Board of Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine where several students had been sexually abused by priests and by a lay teacher in past decades. Cheverus High School offered assistance to these abuse survivors but made a financial settlement only with the survivors who were abused by clergy.

Fr. Clark joined the Cheverus Board long after the abuses and also after the settlements had been made for the survivors of that abuse. VOTF also believes that Fr. Clark offers a great deal of expertise on the topic of lay participation in parish faith communities, a core element of VOTF's mission and goals, and that he properly belongs as a Convention speaker.

Note that at no time has Bill Clark been accused of abuse, or of participating in a cover up, or of participating in the negotiated settlements that are described in the following timeline.

Timeline for abuse cases and settlements involving Cheverus High teachers:

  • In 1997, Charles Malia, a lay teacher at Cheverus High School in Maine, was identified as a child sex abuser by those he molested during the 1960s and ‘70s.
  • In 1998, a Cheverus graduate filed a lawsuit against Rev. James Talbot, a Jesuit, for abuse. Cheverus suspended Talbot, who had been teaching at the school from 1980 to 1998.
  • In 2000, Charles Malia admitted he had abused students. Reports about this period state that the school met with the survivors, offered them counseling, met with parents and students, and conducted workshops. At least some of those survivors are still using the counseling services. Others of the survivors have complained about the services.
  • In 2001, the civil case filed in 1998 by the Cheverus graduate against Fr. Talbot was settled. A later report (in 2005) claimed that the Cheverus insurance carrier paid less than $300,000 of this $1.5 million civil settlement.
  • In March 2002, Talbot and Rev. Stephen Dawber were accused of abuse at Boston College High, for cases said to be from more than 20 years prior. Dawber also had been assigned to Cheverus, beginning in 1978, and was the school principal 1979-1984. Talbot had already been removed from active ministry. Dawber now was suspended.
  • In January 2003, 15 victims of Talbot and of Rev. Francis J. McManus received settlements of $75,000 to more than $1 million, with the Boston Globe reporting that the total settlement was about $5.8 million. The attorney for the plaintiffs said the settlements were “fair and equitable … It was done individually, it was done with humanity, in a way that didn’t pit people against each other.” [Roderick MacLeish in the Associated Press, Jan. 10, 2003] The costs of the settlements were shared by BC High, Cheverus, the Jesuit New England province, the Diocese of Portland and several insurance carriers, according to media reports.

In all of the charges and cases cited above, William A. Clark, S.J., was not affiliated with Cheverus and did not participate in settlements, did not participate in negotiations for settlements, and was not involved in making decisions about settlements.

Rev. William A. Clark’s academic and pastoral career:

  • In 1980, William Clark graduated from Williams College and in 1982 became a Jesuit.
  • Between 1983 and 1997, Fr. Clark served a total of seven years in parish ministry in Kingston, Jamaica. During that same period, he also earned an M.A. in political philosophy from the Loyola University of Chicago (1986); earned a Master of Divinity from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge MA (1992); and earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Weston (1995).
  • In 2001, Fr. Clark earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from Weston and began teaching at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester MA.
  • In 2003, Fr. Clark was appointed to the Board of Trustees for Cheverus High School and joined the board as an active member in February 2004.


Press contact

John Moynihan (617) 558-5252, (617) 680 2131 ©

About Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) VOTF is a worldwide movement of concerned mainstream Catholics formed in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The group’s mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. Its goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity, and shape structural change within the Catholic Church in full accordance and harmony with Church teaching.





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