February 12, 2005

Calvert House priest resigns following sexual allegations

Chicago Maroon

By Daniel Gilbert
February 12, 2005 in News

The University’s Calvert House—the Catholic center on campus—became the latest stage for a sex scandal involving a Catholic priest on Tuesday, February 8. Father Michael Yakaitis announced his resignation Tuesday afternoon after a man came forward on Monday to name Yakaitis as the priest with whom he had a sexual relationship 15 years ago.

Claiming that Yakaitis sexually exploited him when he was a seminary student at the Niles Seminary College of Loyola University in 1990, the victim drafted a letter to University President Don Randel on Monday, alerting him of Yakaitis’s past. The victim—then 18 years old—said in his statement that Yakaitis was both the dean of students and his own spiritual director until 1991, when the student dropped out of the seminary.

“While functioning in those roles, Father Yakaitis used alcohol, coercion, and blackmail with me to initiate a series of sexual encounters. There is no question in my mind, nor expressed to me by the various representatives of the Archdiocese of Chicago with whom I addressed these incidents, that these actions by Father Yakaitis were unethical, abusive, and emotionally devastating,” the victim wrote. “These incidents took place in a university setting while Father Yakaitis held a position similar to the one he currently occupies at the University of Chicago, and during which time he exploited this position of trust while I was a student under his direction.”

In a press release issued on Tuesday, Yakaitis acknowledged the truth of the former seminarian’s account, and said that following the events that transpired 15 years ago, he sought and received counseling and treatment. “This enabled me to renew my commitment to celibacy and a life of priestly ministry,” read the statement. “Since that time, I have not engaged in any sexual behavior, and I believe that I have dealt thoroughly with the issues that led to my sexual actions.”

Posted by kshaw at February 12, 2005 06:32 PM