Contact: John Moynihan, firstname.lastname@example.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
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
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
- 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
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.
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.