Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University issued a statement today announcing the resignation of Br. James A. Liguori from the position of Associate Vice President and Executive Director for Fordham Westchester. Fordham University is a Catholic University run by the The Society of Jesus, the order of Jesuit priests.
The resignation came a day after an announcement on a web site operated by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) that a California man has filed a lawsuit claiming he was sexually abused by Brother James A. Liguori, C.F.C., Ed.D in 1969 when the boy at a Cardinal Farley Military Academy in in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The school was run by the Irish Christian Brothers, a New Rochelle-based Catholic religious order.
Brother Liguori is a member of the Irish Christian Brothers. For 17 years, up until 2011, he served as President of Iona College.
Father McShane said that Br. Liguori passed a criminal background check in the fall of 2011 when he was hired by Fordham. McShane stated that University officials began investigating immediately, and on Friday, July 20, Br. Liguori submitted his resignation, effective immediately.
The full statement follows:
On Thursday, July 19, 2012, Fordham University learned that an advocacy group has claimed a lawsuit alleging child abuse was filed in 2008 against Brother James A. Liguori, associate vice president and executive director for Fordham Westchester.
Brother Liguori passed a criminal background check in fall 2011, when he was hired by Fordham. University officials began investigating immediately, and on Friday, July 20, Brother Liguori submitted his resignation, effective immediately.
Fordham University takes any claim of abuse with the utmost seriousness. The University’s primary concern is always for the victim in such cases, and our hearts and prayers go out to anyone who has suffered a violation of their person and dignity.
According to the statement by SNAP, an independent, confidential network of survivors of religious sexual abuse and their supporters, the man reported his abuse to church officials in Orange County, CA in 2008. Catholic staffers, including Bishop Tod Brown, met with him and, in emails, a lawyer for the diocese said that she believed his allegations.
The Irish Christian Brothers, however, claimed that the allegations were "without merit" and took no action against Liguori who was, at the time, of the victim’s report, the president of Iona College in New Rochelle.
In 2010, Sister Marie Thornton, a nun and the school’s vice president of finance for the school, embezzled more than $800,000 from Iona. Liguori and school officials did not call law enforcement to report the matter. The incident came to light through reporting by Talk of the Sound and the Chronicle for Higher Education.
Iona College and the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America both issued statements yesterday.