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Benedictine HS priest no longer employed at school following inappropriate behavior allegations

Posted: 4:11 PM, Nov 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-30 16:11:44-05
Benedictine HS priest no longer employed at school following inappropriate behavior allegations

A priest at Benedictine High School is no longer employed at the school after an independent review board found evidence of inappropriate behavior, according to a statement from school officials.

Father Gerard Gonda, who holds various positions at the school, had previously been placed on administrative leave while officials had the allegations investigated.

The independent review board said the allegations did not involve physical or sexual abuse and no evidence regarding those were found. However, the board did discover evidence of, "behavior that was inappropriate for an employee of Benedictine."

School officials said Gonda would not be returning to the school. No further information was provided about the specifics of Gonda's behavior or what prompted the investigation.

In a separate investigation, sexual abuse allegations involving a minor were found credible by the school regarding Bill Steuart, a deceased lay volunteer who worked at Benedictine during the late 1970s and 1980s. 

The school didn't provide any additional information about Steuart or what it found credible against him.

The school released the following statement:

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.

...

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 email 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.