October 26, 2005

Group says accused molester is new priest at St. Anselm's

Marin Independent Journal

Nancy Isles Nation

A small group of sexual abuse survivors gathered outside St. Anselm's Elementary School in San Anselmo yesterday to warn parents that an accused child molester is in their midst.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, say a priest assigned to St. Anselm's Catholic Church on Shady Lane in Ross has been hit with a $4 million civil lawsuit claiming he molested a former Jesuit student in Oregon. St. Anselm's School is around the corner on Belle Avenue in San Anselmo.

The lawsuit - filed Oct. 6 under the initials J.T. to protect the identity of the plaintiff - claims that the Rev. John Schwartz sexually abused him in 1986 and 1987 when he was a student at the Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Ore.

Maurice Healy, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said the Jesuit High School and the Jesuit Province of Oregon are investigating the claims. San Francisco will consider whether to take action based on their findings.

"The information we have is sketchy," Healy said. "We need to find out what the facts are before putting him on administrative leave."

Schwartz would be put on leave for the duration of the legal case if the allegations appear to be credible, Healy said, adding that Schwartz has "vigorously denied" such allegations.

Posted by kshaw at October 26, 2005 07:51 AM