Message from Benedictine

A Message from Abbot Gary A. Hoover, OSB and President Dr. Frank Bossu

Dear Benedictine Community,

The recent news reports of past abuse cases from around the country have given victims courage to come forward. In an effort to be forthright with our Benedictine community, we want to share with you that we have received two separate allegations over the past several months and immediately took action to investigate these matters.

The allegations have been under investigation by an Independent Review Board, used by the Diocese of Cleveland and comprised of professionals unaffiliated with Benedictine. This Independent Review Board has concluded that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Mr. Bill Steuart, a deceased lay volunteer, who was at the high school during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, was credible. In a second case, an allegation was brought against Fr. Gerard Gonda, OSB. While that allegation did not involve physical contact or sexual abuse, nor was any evidence of them found in the investigation, it was determined by both the Independent Review Board and administration that there was evidence of behavior that was inappropriate for an employee of Benedictine. Given this finding, Fr. Gerard, who has held a variety of positions in Benedictine’s administration and faculty and is currently on administrative leave, will not be returning to the school.

Benedictine is resolved to respond to any incidents with transparency for the benefit, support and recovery of the victims of any inappropriate or abusive sexual behavior. Benedictine requests that anyone affected by any inappropriate or abusive sexual behavior by any individual affiliated with Benedictine High School – whether teacher, coach, monk, employee, volunteer or vendor of Benedictine and no matter how long ago—to please immediately inform us and/or law enforcement.

Benedictine understands that coming forward with allegations of inappropriate or abusive sexual behavior can be incredibly difficult, yet one’s willingness to do so is critically important for the support and recovery of the victims, for ensuring that any individual who has engaged in inappropriate or abusive sexual behavior is properly held accountable, and for the continued development of recommendations for Benedictine to avoid any future incident.

If you have any information, Benedictine asks you to immediately provide that information on the call line or e-mail address that Benedictine has established as part of the independent investigation process: 216-924-0089 or messagecenter@nym.hush.com. Unless legally required, the confidentiality of your information will be respected.

Benedictine is committed to providing strong leadership during this process and a safe and protective learning environment for all students who are entrusted to Benedictine’s care.

Benedictine will continue to communicate with the Benedictine community as appropriate and helpful. Please contact Dr. Bossu at 216-421-2080 ext 533 if you have questions. We continue to pray for those who have suffered as a result of this abuse, and we thank you for your continued support of and prayers for Benedictine High School.

Sincerely,

Rt. Rev. Gary A. Hoover, O.S.B. ’74                                                                           Dr. Frank Bossu, Ph.D. ’67

Abbot and Chancellor                                                                                                    President