Click here to read: “Jesuits seek information on contact by St. Joe’s Prep teacher in 1970s,” by Martha Woodall, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 9th, 2013.
The president of St. Joe’s Prep sent the following letter to alumni.
Dear Prep Alumnus,
As we begin a new year, I wish you blessings during 2013. We are just a few days into classes after a holiday break and our students and faculty are gearing up for exams.
While I wish I was simply writing to you to wish you a Happy New Year, sadly I must also share with you some troubling news. The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus has informed us that they have received a credible allegation from a St. Joseph’s Prep alumnus of inappropriate contact by Fr. Stephen M. Garrity, S.J., dating to the 1970s. At the time, Fr. Garrity was on the faculty and the individual was a student. The Jesuit province has reported the allegation to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the individual has been offered counseling and the allegation has been referred to the Jesuit Province Review Board. Fr. Garrity has not been in ministry since 2007 following an admission of inappropriate conduct with adults.
We take all allegations of inappropriate conduct very seriously. This message has been sent to all alumni who were students at St. Joseph’s Prep during Fr. Garrity’s tenures (1964-67 and 1971-79). Anyone who may have information about inappropriate conduct by Fr. Garrity or any clergy or employee of St. Joseph’s Prep should please contact the District Attorney’s Office (215-686-8000) and/or Maureen Locher, special case manager for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (443-921-1326 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
All incidents of inappropriate conduct, whether from the past or more recent, are unsettling to us whose first priority is the safety of our students. We offer the prayers and support of the St. Joseph’s Prep community to this victim and to all other victims of abuse of any kind, especially that perpetrated by priests and others in positions of trust.
Stories such as this are further proof of our need to strive every day to provide a safe environment for our students. Over the past several years the Prep has taken particular care to create a “safe environment” for all of us here at the Prep, especially our students, as we consider the protection of our students from abuse or danger of any kind as our top priority. Therefore, the Prep continues to screen, train and educate our faculty, staff and students. In addition, the St. Joseph’s Prep leadership team and trustees have carefully reviewed our practices and continues to update our procedures to ensure that we are in full compliance with the law and the “best practices” developed under direction from Praesidium, Inc., a nationally known leader in risk abuse management. Praesidium was engaged by the Prep in 2006 to review our procedures and the files of our staff and faculty. We have been following with care the “best practices” that they recommended regarding hiring and training procedures. The files of all of our employees are complete with child abuse clearances and criminal background checks.
I am confident that we will to continue to follow best practices recommended by experts like Praesidium, Inc., and continue to provide a safe environment for our students.
If you would like to contact someone at the Prep on this matter, please send an email to email@example.com and you will be contacted.
Rev. George W. Bur, S.J. ’59
President, St. Joseph’s Prep
Fr. Garrity’s ministerial assignments:
1964-67: St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, PA (Teacher of English, History)
1967-70: Woodstock College, Woodstock, MD (Graduate studies)
1970-71: Gonzaga College High School, Washington, DC (Graduate studies/Student Counselor Assistant)
1971-79: St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, PA (Teacher of Sociology)
1974-77: St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, PA (Province Assistant Director of Jesuit Novices)
1975-78: St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, PA (Chaplain)
1978-82: Loyola Center, Philadelphia, PA (Province Vocation Director)
1982-85: Province Curia, Baltimore, MD (Provincial Assistant for Development)
1985-91: Scranton Prep, Scranton, PA (Rector and Assistant Director for Development)
1991-97: Loyola Retreat House, Faulkner, MD (Director of the Spiritual Exercises)
1997-2001: Loyola Retreat House, Faulkner, MD (Superior and Director)
2001-07: Holy Cross Parish, Durham, NC (Pastor)