A group critical of how the Catholic church has handled abuse claims, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has called for the Marianists to do more. The organization wants the Marianists to release more information about the accused, including photos, current whereabouts and when the order learned of the allegations and to work more aggressively to seek out additional victims and perpetrators.
“Fr. Vasquez cannot passively sit back and wait for the phone to ring now that this information has been released,” SNAP said in statement.
The Society of Mary’s ties to Dayton go back 170 years. The order founded what is today the University of Dayton and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. The order’s Cincinnati province was headquartered in Dayton until all of its US provinces merged in 2002.
The list released by the Marianists names 46 priests and brothers who Vasquez says abused children somewhere in the United States since 1950. It does not specify when or where the abuse occurred. It does list the places the men were assigned, but doesn’t say when they were there.
Order didn’t disclose local men
Only one of the cases involves a “credible claim” of abuse that occurred locally, according to Chaminade Julienne High School officials. They say the Marianist order notified the school in November 2019 that Bro. Francis Russell is accused of abuse while he was assigned to Chaminade in the 1965-66 school year. Russell was also assigned to Hamilton Catholic during his career.
“The report of abuse was made to the Cincinnati Province in 1993, which was after Russell’s death,” school officials wrote in a advisory to parents in November. “A follow-up report was made in 2005. With this information, the Province sent a letter this week to Chaminade alumni who were in the building during the 1965-1966 school year to make them aware of the report and to invite them to also make a report if they wish to do so.”
This was the second time last year Chaminade Julienne alumni received such a letter. The Society of Mary in April 2019 sent a letter to former students after the Journal-News found that a former CJ teacher was sent to prison in 1986 for molesting students in Cleveland after becoming a Marianist.
The Journal-News contacted Chaminade Julienne after finding a photo of the man, Bro. Paul Botty, in CJ’s 1978 yearbook. The letter did not result in any additional claims of sexual abuse, according to Marianist officials. Botty is on the recently released list.
Chaminade Julienne officials say they were unaware before the release of the list of six other Marianists who previously worked at the school and were accused of abusing minors elsewhere.
‘It’s not enough’
SNAP officials say the order needs to disclose how long they have known about allegations against people like Tedesco and what they did when they learned about it.
“I’d like to see these Catholic orders do something like we’ve come to know these days as ‘contact tracing,’” said Dan Frondorf, director of SNAP in southwest Ohio.
“It’s not enough to simply release a list and then say you’re sorry. These orders and dioceses have the capability to compile lists of potential victims of their known perps, and they should reach out to every child, now as adults, who may have been exposed to these perps to see if they may be silently hurting,” Frondorf said. “The next step after that is to offer some form of meaningful compensation, counseling, and restoration, even if the crime is time barred by current (statutes of limitations), and to put zero conditions on receiving that help.”
Vasquez noted that the order wasn’t under any requirement to review more than 2,500 member personnel files and release the list, but did so “with a sincere desire for reconciliation and healing.”
“We knew from the outset that this release would not meet the expectations of some. We also recognize that strong policies, and even publishing this list, cannot undo the anguish inflicted on victims, survivors, and their families,” Vasquez wrote in an email to the Journal-News. “For that, we are deeply sorry.”
Accused Marianists not on list
The Marianists in April 2014 sent letters to former students of schools where one of the men had worked. This led to nine Marianists being accused of abuse in one Pittsburgh-area school. Of those nine, Hartman and four others previously worked in Dayton at Chaminade Julienne or Chaminade, before going to Pittsburgh. Two others worked at the University of Dayton.
Two of the nine do not appear on the list released by the Society of Mary.
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed to the Journal-News that it received one allegation each against Bro. William Kiefer and Bro. James Kline in 2014.
According to his 1997 obituary in the Journal-News, Kline taught at Chaminade High School before going to Pittsburgh and afterwards came to the University of Dayton in 1947 where he worked several jobs including purchasing agent and food service director until he retired in 1993. He lived at a Marianist center on UD’s campus until he died.
Four other Marianists not on the order’s list are named on a list released in 2018 by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles of priests and brothers “credibly or publicly accused.”
Asked about these omissions, Vasquez said he would not discuss individual cases but pointed to their published criteria about adding names to the list. It says names are listed if the allegation occurred since 1950, in the United States, involved children and is considered substantiated by the head of the order.
“We felt it important to formalize a process in which we address allegations consistently and fairly, while also respecting the privacy that victims and survivors deserve,” Vasquez said.
The guidelines say that a payment made to a civil settlement doesn’t necessarily mean that an allegation was substantiated, nor the dismissal of the Marianist from the order.
Zach Hiner, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called the newspaper’s findings “both confusing and distressing.”
“Time and time again, lists are released to the public, and time and time again those lists are proven to be incomplete by survivors who have to come forward, again, when their abuser is not listed,” he said.
“Sure, the order or diocese will update the list — typically quietly without any public notice — but just once I would like to see an exhaustive list put out that includes every single name that is publicly available. Clearly the Marianists failed in this and hopefully other religious orders will learn that continued hairsplitting will be recognized, pointed out, and made public.”
Order hid abuse
Some of the men on the list of show how far the order’s previous leaders went to cover up abuse allegations, the Journal-News found.
Police arrested Bro. Anthony Parlangeli in 1971 after he told a high school student in Hollywood, Florida, they were going on a field trip, but instead took the 15-year-old boy to a hotel, “gave him sleeping pills without his knowledge and subsequently sodomized” him, according to a lawsuit filed in Broward County, Florida.
Police and court records show Parlangeli was charged with “committing a crime against nature” and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of administering drugs illegally. The boy was “told that he was suffering from food poisoning,” court records say.
Court records allege his father, the school principal and the Rev. Chris Conlon were all aware of what happened. Conlon was head of the Marianist community at the Florida school at the time.
Conlon later served as UD director of campus ministry from 1988 to 1998 and chaplain after that, retiring from UD in 2013 and moving to California, where he died in 2017, according to his obituary.
The victim learned what happened to him in 1992 when he saw, for the first time, the hospital records from the incident.
Parlangeli continued to teach at the Florida high school and was “eventually reassigned to a Marianist community house in Baltimore, Maryland, where he sodomized another boy and was thereafter released from his vows,” court records say.
The Marianists and Archdiocese of Miami reportedly settled the suit.
The Journal-News conducted a series of email interviews with Vasquez last year as part of an investigation into the religious order’s handling of sex abuse claims. In a previously unpublished interview, the newspaper asked about Parlangeli case. Vasquez responded: “The court records show that the case is shameful.”
Another Marianist brother on the list with Hamilton Catholic ties was allowed to teach for nearly two decades after he was convicted following accusations he molested a student in Pittsburgh, the Journal-News found.
Bro. Ralph Mravintz pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge related to sexual contact in 1986 at North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh.
Mravintz was back in the classroom the next year, first at a Marianist school in Tennessee and then at two schools in Florida. He taught full time until 1993 and part time until 2004 in Florida, according to his obituary. He died in Dayton in 2006.
When they added Mravintz’s name to the list, the Society of Mary altered online versions of their public death notices of members like Mravintz to remove details about when they worked in specific places, the Journal-News found.
Vasquez said this was done “to protect the privacy of survivors.”
A version of the original death notice is archived on the Bishop Accountability website, which tracks clergy sex abuse.
Asked by the Journal-News last year why Mravintz was permitted to keep working with children after his conviction, Vasquez said: “Looking back, this decision is regrettable and would not be the one taken at present.”
The Marianists said there is no record of Mravintz abusing children after his arrest. But the order did receive in 2014 an additional allegation against Mravintz, claiming abuse from 1962-63 when he was at the Pittsburgh school.
Mravintz taught across Ohio before his arrest — including at schools in Cincinnati and Hamilton, according to his death notice. He served at UD from 1965 to 1974 as director of admissions. There are no known allegations against Mravintz during his time there, according to a UD spokeswoman.
This photo and quote from Bro. Ralph Mravintz is from the Nov. 29, 1970 Dayton Daily News.
‘Journey towards healing’
The order has changed to take a more critical view of its members and their actions, its leaders say.
The order works with Praesidium, a 25-year-old national organization based in Arlington, Texas. It specializes in helping groups that work with young people, such as churches, schools, recreation and sports groups, and child-care centers.
Meeting the requirements for Praesidium’s accreditation is demanding, Vasquez said.
“In the past two decades, the province has taken significant measures to ensure a safe environment for those with whom we minister. Our policies and procedures are designed to provide the necessary safeguards for those entrusted to our care and prevent future abuse,” he said.
“We recognize that strong policies, and even publishing this list, cannot undo the anguish inflicted on victims, survivors, and their families. We believe that this is an important step on a long journey towards healing.”
The Society of Mary encourages any survivors of sexual abuse by a Marianist to report it to civil authorities and/or the order’s Pastoral Assistance Coordinator at: email@example.com or 314-285-2322.