Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lawsuit Filed: Missouri Province Jesuit Banned From Fordham

The woman said the sexual assault occurred when she was a student at Holy Cross spending a semester studying abroad in Rome. During a weekend retreat, she said, Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell, S.J. insisted on getting her a drink. Because she passed out, she said, she believes it was drugged. “I woke up on his bed as he was getting dressed,” she said.
As part of the 2003 settlement with the Missouri Province, the woman received a letter from its leader, the Rev. Frank Reale, saying that Father O’Connell had been “restricted from participating in public priestly ministry.”
“I do find credible your allegation of abusive behavior,” he wrote. “I deeply regret your suffering. My response is grounded on the hope that any future abuse can be prevented and that significant healing can continue to occur in your own life.”
The new lawsuit charges breach of contract and includes a number of related charges; it seeks just under $1 million in damages. (The suit also accuses Father O’Connell of harassing the woman over the Internet using a fake name, though neither the woman nor her lawyer would provide specific details.)
Father O’Connell apparently made at least two appearances at Fordham, one in 2008 and one in 2006 as the headliner at a symposium on scientific psychology versus religious faith, according to documents provided by the woman’s lawyer.
Literature for the symposium described Father O’Connell as “one of the premier psycholinguists in the U.S.A. and abroad.”
The woman wrote to the Rev. Joseph M. McShane, Fordham’s president, who canceled another scheduled appearance by Father O’Connell, and informed the Missouri Province that he was not to return to the campus, said Bob Howe, a Fordham spokesman. “Father McShane apologized to the woman,” Mr. Howe said, “and he assured her that Father O’Connell would never speak at or appear at any Fordham event.” 

Link (here) to the full New York Times article


kate said...

Thank you for posting this here.

I'm the woman from New York in the NY Times article. I didn't use my name in court or the NY Times because I decided on a memorable day when I was 20 in Rome that my name should only go with me with what I do, and not what is done to me. Since I haven't found a better way to think about it, I stick with that intelligent young woman who knew best at the time and was forced to think about it.

I also respect how everyone handles it differently than me in public. I know it is a personal choice.

This blog covers Good Jesuits and Bad Jesuits. In keeping with the theme, here are some truths from my experience.

Good Jesuits:

Michael McFarland, president of Holy Cross. "Would you be willing to meet with me?" -- his response right after I first contacted him! And when we met, he apologized over and over. "How can we help you?" Geesh, I don't know.

Paul Locatelli at University of Santa Clara. I saw something he wrote in his local paper, and when I wrote, he wrote back. I wrote again, and so did he. It was at a time when I needed it, even though California is about three thousand miles from New York.

Joseph McShane at Fordham. I first heard him speak at a regional tri-state VOTF meeting in NY. I don't remember much about that, but my instinct said I could trust him. So when I googled the perp's name and saw he had been to Fordham !!! I wrote to Fr. McShane and he wrote back to me and said never again at Fordham.... And then when the perp tried to go BACK to Fordham, I wrote again......

Then Fr. McShane told me and he told the JESUITS that the perp Jesuit was banned from Fordham.

Bad Jesuits:

Daniel C. O'Connell

Michael J. Garanzini, president of Loyola University Chicago. I'll say more later. Still talking to his Board of Trustees. Garanzini lied to me, bald faced lies. He's the only Jesuit who lied to me so boldly.

When you see Jesuits do well, the losers really stick out.


Holy Cross had prevented students from going to Loyola University's Rome campus after a student from Holy Cross died on Loyola's campus in 1975. My year (1983) was the first time after that that students could choose it for study abroad -- the director of the study abroad program was also my Latin professor, and he explained the history and I wanted to go......

After I talked to Fr. McFarland in 2003, I saw that Holy Cross does not have LUC as one of the options for study abroad now......


About psycholinguistics, the perp's field in which he is called an expert. He told me that psycholinguists can learn about people through their use of language. (Google it and learn more about psycholinguistics.)

That's interesting. When I wrote and spoke to Frank Reale, he believed me. When I wrote and spoke to Michael McFarland, he wanted to know how they can help. When I wrote to Joseph McShane, he banned the perp from campus.

I've known for a long time that that perp picked on the wrong person.


About the "almost a million dollars" in the court papers. When you file in court, you have to think about it and you have to be honest. My attorney gave me blanks to fill in: health expenses, medical expenses, loss of earnings, etc. Neither she nor I worked with a total ahead of time.

About the internet stalking....... both my lawyer and I are lawyers, and legal ethics prevent us from talking about things publicly when we still want to investigate, over and over.

Thank you again for mentioning this.

Joseph Fromm said...


Thank you

Anonymous said...


You are a disgusting liar.

Father Dan O'Connell is an amazing man who has brought joy and learning to thousands of fortunate students.

Your accusations are absurd in the highest degree. Even you cannot claim "something" really happened. Just that you got drunk and passed out.

Most likely Father Dan made sure you were taken somewhere safe rather than left on the floor in a drunken stupor, and your repayment for his charity is to make outrageous, false, career threatening accusations.

Fortunately, most rational people saw through your lies and it did not destroy his career. He went on to be an amazing scholar and college professor.

You should be ashamed of yourself that you are so desperate for easy money and attention that you would destroy someone in the desperate effort to attain that which you do not deserve.

kate said...


It is sinful to tell lies as you are doing. O'Connell admitted he sexually abused women. He admitted it on paper. It's written down. And even before that happened, his own Jesuit boss believed me. And guess what. All the people over the years who know I reported it came forward in support of me.

It's too bad you think you know things when you weren't there.

Oh, by the way, I did not ask the Jesuits for money in 2003. THEY asked me for a figure.

It's shame you are so easily confused.

kate said...

One more thing....... I didn't drink in college. You totally imagined and lied about "drunken stupors" and saying I "got drunk and passed out".

But you made it clear you do not mind lying and imagining things, but sure like to tar and feather other people with your imagination.

And you were not even there.

Anonymous said...


I am saddened by what happened to you. I know Father well and he has always been kind to me and my family. I cannot imagine the pain you suffer/ed. I pray for the Holy Spirit to come to you and I hope, if what you say about Father Dan is true, that he is not beyond redemption. I know him differently than you and I believe there is good in him.

lcg said...

I am Fr. O'Connells nephew my mother his sister. He was sexually inappropriate with 2 of my sisters and I believe with other cousins who were female. He also kept a scrapbook of pictures cut out from playboy magazine of womens breasts. He left St. Louis U for being inapropriate with a magor doners daughter and beat up by the football team. Yes he is a bad guy.

lcg said...

I am Fr. O'Connells nephew my mother his sister. He was sexually inappropriate with 2 of my sisters and I believe with other cousins who were female. He also kept a scrapbook of pictures cut out from playboy magazine of womens breasts. He left St. Louis U for being inapropriate with a magor doners daughter and beat up by the football team. Yes he is a bad guy.

kate said...

lcg, thank you for sharing what you know. It startled me how much I knew but forgot. O'Connell told me he had been fired from SLU due to sexually assaulting a female student in the athletic center, and that he was beaten up.

O'Connell then went on to Loyola Chicago, where more abuse by O'Connell took place in the 80's -- Garanzini, the president, is covering it up. Tim Kesicki, the provincial, is also covering it up, because the Chicago province provided no oversight for a KNOWN abuser.

A second lawsuit was filed against O'Connell this year. This victim was abused at SLU in the 70's.

kate said...

lcg, I thought about this all weekend: I am very sad about what happened to your sisters....

And I am grateful you confirmed my sanity. See, O'Connell told me many of the things you said too. That he sexually assaulted a woman (he called it a misunderstanding) and that he was later beaten up by the football team. What a difference from Penn State. He was fired. He was president of the university when he was fired.

He also told me he transferred to the Chicago province. And the only supervision he got was being told not to close his office door at Loyola.

I was sexually assaulted by him less than 5 years later in Italy, because he was allowed to go abroad with no supervision. I was on a study abroad program from another Jesuit college when I encountered this perp on a weekend retreat... Oh, he closed his door.

Two years later, O'Connell called me up out of nowhere and my name was not in the phone book. I was in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He got my number from Holy Cross. He was crying and told me over and over again that he is evil. He told me never to forgive him because I will never know what he did to me. He repeated that, crying, and saying he was evil.

I spent the next three days totally mute, sitting in a chair in my room. Then life went on.

Sometimes though it's just so plainly obvious God is with me. More on that another day.

Thank you.