One of the former presidents of Chaminade High School, a prestigious Catholic school in Long Island, New York, was recently suspended after an investigation revealed allegations of sexual abuse made against him in 2015 are credible. The accusations against Father James Williams, who continues to deny the allegations, were investigated by the Society of Mary and found to be credible, leading to his dismissal.
Too Late to File Charges against Williams
According to the New York Daily News, the Nassau County district attorney could not file sex abuse charges against Williams because the statute of limitations had expired in 2013. The unidentified student, who was reportedly 18 years old at the time of the abuse, chose not to file a criminal complaint, but wanted to give other alleged victims the opportunity to do so if they chose.
Community Surprise by Allegations against Williams
As reported by Inquisitr.com, many of the students who knew Williams described feelings of surprise and shock, noting how devastating the investigation results are to the community and the church. Many held Williams in high regard and spoke positively of him. A current student even told CBS News he was surprised to hear of any allegations of sexual abuse at the school.
In the above cited artice Inquisitr reports that Williams had been a part of Chaminade since 1991 and served as president for 12 years until 2011 when he left to study at the Vatican. Whether or not he will be permanently banned by the church will be a decision made by the Vatican. The Marianist order of which Williams was a part is taking steps to suspend him from his work as a priest, according to a letter posted on the school’s website. They believe the suspension is in the best interest of the students and stress the students’ protection is their highest priority.
Charminade is a well-known boys’ Catholic school with a number of famous graduates, including Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly, former US Senator Al D’Amato, current Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota, and former Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi, according to the Inquisitr article.
According to the http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/sex-abuse-law-prevent-priest-criminal-prosecution-article-1.2640602”>New York Daily News, the district attorney’s office is asking anyone else with reports of sexual abuse to come forward with information at this time.
The New York Daily News reports, like many sexual abuse cases, the victim in the Chaminade case did not feel comfortable going public with his accusations at the time, and was not willing to take legal action against his abuser. Unfortunately, in many cases, especially when the organizations involved do not take action, this lack of speaking out leads to additional instances of abuse.
It does not need to be this way.