The Deterioration of Confidentiality at Holy Cross

Jesuit college president Michael C. McFarland promised me strict confidentiality in January 2003 in a meeting in his office.   This was in the context of talking about sexual abuse by a Jesuit, and sharing my concerns about privacy when McFarland wanted to name a committee to help me determine how the college could help.  I said I was too private for that.  McFarland said to ask people who know me for recommendations and then get back to him.   We discussed confidentiality.   I told him about my earlier experience with a former Jesuit provincial, William A. Barry, SJ, who promised me strict confidentiality, telling me this meant he was the only person who knew my name, where I lived and my story.   Fr. Barry said only one other Jesuit knew my name, and nothing else.  McFarland said this is the confidentiality practice he would follow.   His attorney confirmed it.   His attorney said he had no access to my communications with McFarland.

McFarland breached this commitment a few months later, sharing private communications with a staff member of the New England province without ever seeking my permission even though he knew how to reach me.  He admitted it and there is a witness.

Later McFarland shared communications with the next general counsel of Holy Cross.   Again, he knew how to reach me and never sought permission.

When Philip L. Boroughs SJ became Holy Cross president in January 2012, he pretended there was no confidentiality commitment at all —-  even after I took care to remind him.   Through February 2013, Boroughs has shown a reckless disregard for confidentiality.   Boroughs is doing this even though no one has ever asked me to release the president’s office from the commitment of strict confidentiality.

I want to add here that I would not give a damn if it did not matter.  See, every single confidentiality breach I know about was not for my benefit but part of a cover up and conspiracy.   I cannot think of a single breach that helped me or showed any concern for me.   It was always for the benefit of Holy Cross.   And it did not matter that I tried and tried to remind Fr. Boroughs of the confidentiality I was promised.   He ignored me.

I expect the Vigil for Justice to last ten years.  I believe Holy Cross will spend all of 2013 trying to lie and assert there was no commitment.   I decided to stop that by making it another purpose of the new Hunger Strike for Justice.   I have asked Fr. McFarland to re-affirm the strict confidentiality he promised as president of the College of the Holy Cross.   And the Hunger Strike for Justice will continue until he addresses it.

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