“Enough with evading the issue, LMU. Be transparent. Tell us the facts. Hopefully, even with this information, no one at LMU during [Brother William J.] Farrington [S.J.]’s time at the University will come forward. But, with the unfortunate chance that that is not the case, give them the opportunity to tell their story. Reporting abuse takes innumerable levels of strength. Show that you care. Extend your hand.”
Those words formed the conclusion of the Loyolan’s board editorial just 10 days ago (“Enough with evading the issue, LMU,” Sept. 17, 2012), urging the University to take action in the wake of the allegations of sexual abuse against former LMU employee Farrington at his previous schools, Bellarmine College Preparatory and Jesuit High School (as reported in the Sept. 17 Loyolan article “Jesuit accused of sexual molestation spent 15 years working at LMU”). On Tuesday, President David W. Burcham extended that hand in two separate letters: one to the current LMU community (reprinted below) and one to alumni who attended LMU from 1987-2002, when Farrington worked here.
Burcham informed recipients in both letters of Farrington’s time at LMU and of the allegations, which were deemed “credible” by the presidents of both Bellarmine Prep and Jesuit High. The letters also made clear that no claims of abuse at LMU have surfaced, and that he was reassigned to the Jesuit Retirement Community in Los Gatos, Calif. following a complaint from an alleged victim at one of Farrington’s previous schools. Additionally, in his letter to alumni, Burcham urged “anyone with credible information of wrongdoing on the part of Brother Farrington during his time at LMU to contact Rebecca Chandler, LMU Vice President of Human Resources.”
The Loyolan supports LMU’s decision to send both letters as an act of transparency and potential victim outreach. However, the Loyolan also urges potential victims to do more than just contact LMU; as both the presidents at Bellarmine Prep and Jesuit High made clear in their letters to their respective alumni, the most pressing concern for victims is to contact law enforcement and support groups.
It takes tremendous courage to come forward as a victim of sexual abuse. The process is not easy for anyone. The Loyolan encourages any potential abuse victims to contact groups like the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and 1in6, a nonprofit group devoted to the cause of male sex abuse victims. With the support of these groups and law enforcement, potential victims can begin to get the help they need.
As Burcham wrote in his letter, the University is committed “to a safe and healthy environment for all of our students, faculty and staff.” For obvious reasons, the Loyolan supports this statement, and for that reason, contact information for SNAP and 1in6 for potential victims can be found below.