Seton Hall announces ‘independent review’ of seminary accusations

Newark, N.J., Aug 23, 2018 / 10:10 am (CNA).- Seton Hall University has announced an independent review of accusations of sexual abuse and harassment against seminarians. The university is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Newark, and is home to Immaculate Conception Seminary and St. Andrew’s Hall college seminary.

In a letter published on the university website on Tuesday, Aug. 22, Seton Hall President Mary J. Meehan wrote that recent reports of sexual abuse and harassment by priests, and the “reported failure of many in the Church’s leadership to hold them accountable,” had prompted the university to take action.

“We at the University are particularly concerned with recent accusations against Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Newark, and other priests of the Archdiocese. Some of these alleged incidents may have involved seminarians at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the College Seminary at Saint Andrew’s Hall.”

The president of Seton Hall’s board of trustees is by virtue of office the Archbishop of Newark, now Cardinal Joseph Tobin. From 1986 – 2001, the archdiocese was led by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.

On August 17, CNA published a report detailing a series of allegations made by priests in the Archdiocese of Newark. Some of their accounts related to Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, others detailed allegations of recent or ongoing behavior at the two seminaries, including a specific allegation concerning a former rector of St. Andrew’s Hall.

One allegation raised by the CNA report related to Fr. Mark O’Malley, who was removed as rector of St. Andrew’s Hall in 2014 and placed on a medical leave of absence. Multiple sources told CNA that O’Malley’s removal followed an incident in which he allegedly hid a camera in the bedroom of a young priest.

Meehan wrote that the university’s leadership has authorized an “independent review” following “recent allegations.”

“Seton Hall has retained Christine A. Amalfe of the law firm Gibbons P.C. in Newark, N.J. as special counsel to lead the effort and commission the independent review. Gibbons P.C. has retained Theodore V. Wells Jr. of the law firm Paul, Weiss in New York to conduct the independent review,” Meehan announced.

Seton Hall’s announcement follows similar investigations being launched at St. John’s Seminary, Boston, and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, after former students made allegations concerning sexual harassment at those institutions.

It is unclear if the initiative for the investigation came from the Archdiocese of Newark, or internally from the university administration.

The university was unavailable for comment.

Cardinal Tobin is in Ireland attending the World Meeting of Families. He was scheduled to participate in an Aug. 23 media briefing but was replaced at the last minute by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. It is not clear if the cardinal’s absence was linked to the Seton Hall announcement.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark told CNA that Cardinal Tobin was aware of the investigation and had “approved and encouraged” it.

The Archdiocese of Newark has declined to comment publicly on the allegations reported by CNA. However, on the same day CNA’s report was published, Cardinal Tobin wrote a letter to all priests of the archdiocese, denying that he had ever been told of a “gay subculture” in the archdiocese, and addressing the specific cases reported by CNA, including that of Fr. O’Malley.

In that letter, Tobin said that Fr. O’Malley was removed as rector when “experienced a serious personal crisis for which he received a psychological evaluation and subsequent therapy. In April 2015, he was deemed fit for priestly ministry, Tobin said, adding that O’Malley hopes to serve as a hospital chaplain.”

The letter appeared on numerous websites but the archdiocese refused to comment on it, or on the allegations it addressed.

On Aug. 19, the cardinal told the Newark Star-Ledger that “my default mode is for optimum transparency.”

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


  1. It’s the same old same old from the Bernard Law days….therapy solves the sin of gay voyeurism in one year. Magical. Now place the same man as chaplain in a hospital. What could possibly go wrong after one year of therapy. Tobin will eventually be involved in apologizing for the chaplaincy and we’ll all have to pray and fast and pay the law suit…but didn’t Christ only use that pray and fast phrase for a case of not average possession by extreme possession. The disciples asked why they could not cast it out and Christ said, ” This kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting.” So from extreme possession to it’s new use as a new burden on those who paid 3 billion already in law suits…heck it’s a development but an inadmissible one.

  2. Seton Hall Seminary – You published a report at the end of August 2018 regarding SH doing a private or independent investigation of the sexual abuse at the seminary. Do you know if they finished this investigation?

6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Cna Financial (NYSE:CNA) Receives Daily Media Impact Score of 0.08 - Baseball Daily Digest
  2. Cna Financial (NYSE:CNA) Earning Somewhat Positive Media Coverage, Accern Reports
  3. Cna Financial (CNA) Receiving Somewhat Positive News Coverage, Analysis Finds - Macon Daily
  4. Somewhat Positive Media Coverage Somewhat Unlikely to Affect Cna Financial (CNA) Share Price - Dakota Financial News
  5. Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (August 24, 2018) – Full Magazine
  6. Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (August 24, 2018) |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.