Why a Vigil for Justice at Holy Cross?

I was sexually assaulted by a Jesuit priest when I spent a semester on a study abroad program when I was a student at Holy Cross.   I tried to report it immediately when I got back, but the college handled it poorly.  In 2003, Holy Cross president Michael McFarland, SJ apologized many times and offered the college’s assistance.  He promised me full confidentiality and privacy, as did the college lawyer, Dennis Yesalonia, SJ.   In 2004, I learned that McFarland breached the confidentiality he promised and gave confidential communications to a third party without seeking a release from me.   I complained, but he never addressed it.  In 2009, I learned of more privacy and confidentiality breaches.  From 2010 to late 2011, I tried to report these problems to the college president and I was ignored.

In January 2012, new Holy Cross president Philip Boroughs, SJ arrived.  I contacted him and the chairman of the board, but both men ignored me and never replied.  In March 2012, I began a Hunger Strike for Justice at Holy Cross because all of my other communication was totally futile.  Many extreme confidentiality breaches happened immediately!!   Twenty six days later, the college lawyer, Timothy Mines, said the college agreed to engage in settlement talks, so I stopped the hunger strike and hired a Holy Cross alum who is an attorney.  But nothing happened.   I contacted the Board of Trustees again and never heard back.  Then I learned that hundreds more confidentiality breaches occurred, by new Holy Cross president Boroughs, who allowed private information to be shared with a third party without seeking a release from me.  Fr. Boroughs also took many retaliatory actions, such as banning me from campus, creating an internal list with my name on it, and other actions.

In September 2012, Holy Cross agreed to meet to discuss the issues.  At the close of the meeting, the new Holy Cross lawyer, Vincent O’Rourke, said he would respond soon about going to mediation.   But five months passed, and he never followed up on mediation.

So I decided to begin a new vigil at the College of the Holy Cross.   This time it will not end until I know that justice has been achieved.   I predict it will take ten years.  My conscience requires that I stand up about these problems because I believe the college administration is hurting other people the same way and I cannot be silent.

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