Fr. James Williams, S.M., a former president of Chaminade High School on Long Island, has been suspended from priestly ministry over credible allegations of sexual abuse, his religious order stated on Friday.
“Father James' clerical faculties have been suspended and he is not permitted to publicly function as a priest. His case will be, as required, submitted to the Holy See for final resolution,” read a May 13 statement from the Marianist Province of Meribah.
“It is important to note that Fr. James has completely denied the allegations.”
Fr. Williams was a staff member at Chaminade High School, a prestigious prep school in Mineola, N.Y., fewer than 10 miles north of Rockville Centre, from 1991 to 2012. He served as a teacher and chaplain, and was the school's president from 1999 to 2011.
A former Chaminade student made allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse against Fr. Williams, saying the abuse occurred in 2011. The Marianists stated that the province has deemed the allegations to be credible.
Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney's office, has stated that “The victim alleged conduct constituting misdemeanor sexual abuse by Father Williams in 2011. The victim, who was legally an adult at the time of the alleged abuse, did not wish to pursue criminal charges. The two-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor sexual abuse expired in 2013.”
The age of the alleged victim is unclear.
A May 15 letter from Brother Thomas Cleary, the current president of Chaminade High School, indicated that the Marianists had investigated “allegations of misconduct and abuse of a minor by Fr. James” and that “it was in the course of this investigation that we first learned that one of the alleged incidents dated back to 2011, when the individual involved was a minor.”
Brother Cleary's letter to parents of Chaminade High School students noted that “while obvious to all, in the wake of this finding what needs to be repeated is that nothing is more important to us than the safety and protection of Chaminade's students. Nothing.”
“I want to assure each and every one of you that we have made a solemn pledge to ensure that the young men entrusted to our care are safeguarded from any form of harm or abuse. We take most seriously the sacred bond that exists between us as educators, you as parents, and our students as your sons and sons of God.”
Newsday reported that in a separate case, another former Chaminade student who is now 62, has alleged that he was sexually abused by a school official in the 1970s.