Calling the allegations against a former Saint Joseph's University campus minister "deeply disturbing," university president Timothy R. Lannon alerted the campus community yesterday to an investigation of the Rev. H. Cornell Bradley, a Jesuit priest who worked at the campus for more than a decade before leaving last year.
The investigation is conducted by the Maryland Province Society of Jesus, a Jesuit governing body, which found that Bradley had engaged in "sexual misconduct with an adult male during the early 1980s" and cited four other alleged incidents involving minors and adults over three decades.
Saint Joseph's hired Bradley in 1995 and he resigned in January 2006, according to Lannon's statement to students, faculty and alumni, which appended a letter from the province stating that Bradley "verified substantial details" of one of the allegations and "said he is unable to deny" another of the incidents.
Maryland Province spokeswoman Kate Pipkin last night said Bradley continues to be a Jesuit priest but his pastoral privileges have been suspended. He lives "under supervision" in a Jesuit community on the Eastern seaboard which she declined to identify. She said he has been instructed not to speak to the media.
"He doesn't leave the premises except in the company of another Jesuit," she said.
As for how Bradley came to be hired at Saint Joseph's without its knowledge of his problem, she said, "In hindsight, they should have been informed but things were done differently back then."
Efforts to reach the university last night were not successful.
In his statement, Lannon - though stressing that Saint Joe's was unaware of any incidents during Bradley's time at the school - nonetheless asked anyone with "information about misconduct to contact the Maryland Province Victim Assistance coordinator," or, if the allegations involve criminal activity, campus and local police.
These latest revelations are part of a larger picture developed over recent years in which clergy of various denominations were found to have abused their pastoral power by engaging in sexual activity with people they counseled.
When allegations first surfaced against Bradley and were brought to the attention of the Maryland Province in 1993, the head of the organization "mandated residential psychiatric care for Father Bradley. Upon completing the treatment, and on the recommendation of the staff of his residential treatment program, Father Bradley returned to ministry in 1995."