Former XU Priest Under Investigation

Jun 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

A priest who previously was the campus minister at Xavier University has been relieved of his duties by the Catholic Church after it learned about "the improper touching" of two minors several years ago in Maryland.

The allegations against the Rev. Louis Bonacci were investigated by the church's Province Review Board, which also has contacted civil authorities. Bonacci served as minster at Xavier from 1994-99. Until the allegations were made, he was serving as coordinator of spiritual direction for priests and deacons in the Diocese of Scranton, in Pennsylvania.—-

Also, Bonacci served at the International Marian Research Institute, located at the University of Dayton, from 1988-94.

Bonacci's spiritual order, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, issued a statement urging anyone who might have been abused by Bonacci to come forward and contact authorities. Officials said they received a complaint in April dating from the 1978-82 period that involved the improper touching of a minor in a family home. Before the complaint, there had been no prior allegations against Bonacci, they added.

"The civil authorities in Maryland indicated they would not begin an investigation until the now-adult victim contacted them directly. However, the Province Review Board did undertake its own review," officials said in a prepared statement. "During this process, an allegation by a second individual was received by an investigator hired by the Review Board. This second allegation was reported to the civil authorities.The Province is committed to cooperating fully with the authorities during any investigation.

"The Province is deeply concerned for those who have been harmed, and has reached out to both individuals who have come forward; they have been offered an apology and counseling, and have been encouraged to contact the civil authorities," the statement continued.

While police investigate the complaints, Bonacci is living in a monitored residence within his Jesuit community.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) recommends anyone with who might have been absused by Bonacci to contact local police.

"We hope the Cincinnati Archdiocese officials will aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected, or suffered sex crimes by Father Louis Bonacci," said Judy Jones, SNAP's Midwest associate director. "We urge anyone with Information regarding his alleged crimes to call police, not church officials. Also know that there is help and support for anyone who has been harmed by this priest or any clergy in the Cincinnati Archdiocese."

Founded in 1989, SNAP is the world's oldest and largest organization of clergy sexual abuse survivors, with more than 10,000 members and 72 chapters in the United States.