June 24, 2021
A statement from Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., St. Mary’s University President:
I am writing to let you know the story published in today’s San Antonio Express-News includes incorrect information regarding the intent and facts around disclosure of Marianists who have been credibly accused of abuse of minors.
Counter to the message conveyed in the story, the St. Mary’s community and I have taken action to address abuse issues in a variety of ways and have included the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in those efforts, in particular Patti Koo, who was featured in the photograph. Unfortunately, if the journalist had reached out to St. Mary’s for comment, we would have been able to share this information prior to publication.
As the vice-chair of the independent lay commission, together with four St. Mary’s graduates, I have helped lead the review of policies and the practices of the Archdiocese and report the findings to the Archbishop and the public. The Lay Commission Report was released in January 2019 and is still available on the St. Mary’s website.
More recently, I have been appointed to the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People (NRB), established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The NRB collaborates with the USCCB to prevent sexual abuse of minors in the U.S. by persons in service to the Catholic Church.
Though the story called on me to communicate with alumni, St. Mary’s has already taken these steps as well. In a commitment to share information about these issues, the University has twice written to all alumni to communicate the lists of Marianists who have been credibly accused of abusive acts against minors.
You can find the content and dates of those messages here, which have been available to the public on our website since their release:
The story misrepresents the number of Marianists affiliated with St. Mary’s.
Of the lists, three credibly accused Marianists have ever served at St. Mary’s. Of those, two are deceased.
Additionally, Patti Koo, as a representative of SNAP, was part of a public event organized by the University, one of a series of events on this theme held by St. Mary’s, to raise additional awareness among our community and the broader public on this very important issue. More information on that event can be found here: St. Mary’s hosts symposium on “A Church in Crisis Moves to the Future.”
At St. Mary’s, we will continue to fulfill our call to be healers for those who have survived these devastating acts, to take part in the dialogue about the Catholic Church that St. Mary’s is leading, and to promote justice and compassion for all individuals in our community.