A president of a well-known and prestigious Catholic high school in Long Island, New York, has been suspended from practicing as a priest since an investigation has found that allegations of sexual abuse brought against him are, in fact, “credible.”
Fmr. Pres. of Chaminade H.S. Father James Williams suspended after “credible” allegations he sexually abused a minor pic.twitter.com/S5nezvPAX4
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) May 14, 2016
Father James Williams was the president of Chaminade High School in Mineola. The Marianist order, known as the Society of Mary, conducted an investigation into the alleged abuse reportedly taking place in 2011 while Williams was still president of the high school. Accusations were made against the priest by a student who was 18 at the time.
CBS News relays how the information has recently come forward that the sexual abuse allegations are credible.
“In a letter posted on the school’s website, the order said Williams denied anything happened, but that it forwarded the information to the Nassau District Attorney’s Office. A spokesman for the district attorney’s office told WCBS it received a letter in February 2015. He described the act as a misdemeanor sexual abuse, but said the statute of limitations for such a crime expired in 2013. The spokesman added that the alleged victim did not want to pursue criminal charges.”
Students of the high school have clearly been shocked by the allegations and findings of sexual abuse against their former school president. A graduate of Chaminade, Christopher Macias, who knows Williams well, shared his feeling of disbelief on the matter.
“That’s just devastating, absolutely devastating to the community and to the whole church as a whole it’s terrible. He was a great guy when I was going here. I can’t say anything but speak highly of him. I’m just shocked and horrified about these allegations.”
On Friday, Williams was suspended. The former president and priest had been a member of staff from 1991 until he left to study at the Vatican. The Vatican will make the decision as to whether Williams will be permanently banned from the church. Williams could not be reached to comment on the recent turn of events.
Did you go to Chaminade HS or know Father James Williams? Send me an email or gimme a call @ 1(212)210-2425
— Allie Yang (@allieallieooop) May 14, 2016
The district attorney’s office is asking any other potential victims to come forward with information in regard to the case. A current student who is 16 years of age chatted with the news outlet, stating that he never heard any talk of sexual abuse or allegations while at Chaminade.
In regard to the actions that must be taken against Williams, Marianist Brother Thomas Clearly released a statement.
“[The decision to suspend Williams] reflects the solemn promise made to ensure the protection of the young men entrusted to the school remains its highest priority. We will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to enforce these effective safeguards.”
The prestigious school was attended by a number of well-known public figures including, “Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, former Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi, former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato and current Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota.”
The Marianist order has now taken the steps to suspend Williams from continuing on as a priest after the allegations of sexual abuse have proven to be credible. This information comes via a letter posted on the Chiminade High School website.
News Day relays additional details that were shared via the school’s website.
“The Rev. James Williams, who resigned in 2011 after 12 years as president of the prestigious all-boys Catholic institution in Mineola, has ‘completely denied’ the allegations, but a ‘vigorous, thorough and comprehensive investigation’ conducted by the order ‘deemed them to be credible,’ the group said in a statement posted Friday on Chaminade’s website.”
[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]