Seminary Review Update
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Seton Hall University is committed to providing a safe learning, living and working environment for our seminarians, students, faculty, priests, staff and administrators to grow and flourish.
Last year following allegations that the former Archbishop of Newark, Theodore McCarrick, sexually harassed seminarians between 1986 and 2000, the Seton Hall University Board of Regents retained Gibbons P.C. as special counsel to commission an independent review of McCarrick's influence and actions at the Seminary. Gibbons retained the law firm of Latham & Watkins to conduct the independent, unrestricted review.
The Latham & Watkins review is now complete and includes several key findings. Pursuant to Title IX law and Seton Hall University policies, the findings of confidential reviews typically are provided only to appropriate University personnel and certain involved individuals. As such, the findings of this review and related action steps have been presented to the University's Board of Regents. A written report to the Board memorializing the findings is expected shortly. In the interest of transparency, the Regents passed a resolution to share the key findings of the Latham & Watkins review with the Seton Hall community to the extent permissible under Title IX and University policy.
The Latham & Watkins review found that McCarrick created a culture of fear and intimidation that supported his personal objectives. McCarrick used his position of power as then-Archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians. No minors or other University students were determined to have been affected by McCarrick.
Further, the review found that the University's Title IX policies are consistent with state and federal law. These policies, however, were not always followed at Immaculate Conception Seminary and St. Andrew's Seminary, which resulted in incidents of sexual harassment going unreported to the University. Immaculate Conception Seminary, St. Andrew's Seminary and Seton Hall are currently fully compliant with all Title IX requirements.
While the review found the University adheres to Title IX policies and laws, the Board of Regents has taken and is taking additional actions to strengthen the University's compliance systems and governance structures to better support all members of the University community, including seminarians, students, faculty, priests, administrators and staff. The Board of Regents unanimously endorsed the following series of proactive measures, which are outlined below. Progress has been made on all five of these measures with additional work to be done in the near term.
- Independence: Commission an independent and thorough Title IX review of the McCarrick allegations.
- Transparency: Share, to the extent permissible under Title IX laws and University policy, the review findings with the Seton Hall community.
- Compliance: Exceed compliance requirements by: (a) funding and hiring a Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer to ensure University-wide adherence to Title IX laws, policies and practices; (b) requiring mandatory annual Title IX training for all members of the University community; and (c) conducting prompt reviews of any allegation of sexual harassment with assurances of non-retaliation.
- Governance: Improve the structural relationship among the University, Immaculate Conception Seminary (an affiliated yet separate corporate entity) and the Archdiocese of Newark (an affiliated yet separate corporate entity) to enhance oversight, control and compliance to prevent recurrence.
- Seminaries: Underscore the importance of Immaculate Conception Seminary and St. Andrew’s Seminary to Seton Hall’s Catholic identity and better integrate the seminaries within the University.
Individuals, communities and parishes across the country have been affected by former archbishop McCarrick and others who have profoundly and forever negatively altered so many lives.
In 2018, Pope Francis wrote, “Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”
The University community prays for all victims of harassment and abuse of any kind. Seton Hall University remains committed to advancing its mission and providing seminarians, students, faculty, priests, staff and administrators with a safe and welcoming environment to learn, live and grow. The University encourages anyone with knowledge of sexual misconduct to contact our Title IX office. In addition, a wide array of support services is available to members of the Seton Hall community.