Former professors named in Jesuit abuse report





At least six Jesuit priests who formerly worked at the university have been accused of sexual abuse.

None of them are currently affiliated with Detroit Mercy, and none of their known incidents involved university students, according to an investigation by The Varsity News.

Some of the alleged assaults occurred before the men arrived on campus; some after. All of the accused are either deceased or have been dismissed by the order.

They include a dean, professors and members of campus ministry.

The accused are James F. Gates, Phillip T. Mooney, Michael E. Dorrler, Mark A. Finan, David C. Bayne and Charles E. Sullivan.

All were identified by the Midwest Jesuit province in a December report naming 50 clergy members in abuse cases that have been closed.

Other claims remain open. The targets of those ongoing investigations were not named.

Since the early 2000s, the Catholic faith has been roiled by charges of sexual abuse of children by hundreds of priests – and of coverups of those crimes by higher-ups.

Releasing lists of the accused is one of several steps church organizations have taken recently to attempt to be more transparent about their past.

“Most of the Jesuits on our list entered religious life from the 1930s through the early 1960s,” the Rev. Brian Paulson noted in a public letter accompanying the December release. “In retrospect, our evaluation of candidates, as well as the training, formation, and supervision of Jesuits, was not adequate. We have learned from this painful history and our formation today strives to promote the healthy affective and psychological development of Jesuits.”

The University of Detroit Mercy is sponsored by two religious orders, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy.

It was created in 1990 with the consolodation of the Jesuits’ University of Detroit and the sisters’ Mercy College.

All but one of the accused worked at the University of Detroit prior to the consolidation.

Here are details about the six individuals:

James F. Gates

Gates, a Jesuit brother, was accused of abusing 15 girls and one boy while assigned to a boarding school on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state from 1969 to 1972.

Those crimes, which resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement, followed his two years at University of Detroit, where beginning at age 26 he worked in campus ministry.

Gates also served in Montana, Missouri, Ohio and Nepal. He was at Holy Rosary-St. John’s Parish in Columbus, Ohio, from 1994 to 2002, where he faced an additional claim of abuse.

He lived at Vianney Renewal Center, a church-run supervised living center, from 2010 to 2012, when he was dismissed from the order.

Mark A. Finan

Finan allegedly abused minors in 1944 at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago and in 1964 and 1965 at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In between, he taught philosophy at the University of Detroit from 1952 to 1955 – and later at John Carroll University, Xavier University and Loyola in Chicago.

He was dismissed from the order in 1973 and died in 1993.

Michael E. Dorrler

Michael E. Dorrler, who allegedy abused a minor in 1990 while at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, Indiana, served in campus ministry at Detroit Mercy from 1993 to 1994.

After leaving the McNichols campus, he worked at a Jesuit retreat house in Barrington, Illinois, and the Gregorian University Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Records indicate he is now 70 and living in Chicago, but has been removed from public ministry.

David C. Bayne

David C. Bayne served as dean of the University of Detroit’s College of Law from 1954 to 1960.

After his death in April 2009, he was accused of a single case of sexual abuse, which occurred at the University of Iowa Law School in 1992.

The Varsity News also discovered a case filed with the Iowa Court of Appeals in 2003, in which Bayne was accused of extortion and defamation of a client while trying to collect legal fees to be donated to the Detroit province for work he did.

Phillip T. Mooney

After his death at age 90 in 2017, Mooney was accused in a case of sexual abuse with a minor at Holy Family Parish in Chicago. It allegedly occurred in 1954.

The Varsity News located Mooney in the university’s yearbook archives.

He was an active Jesuit professor in the Detroit theology department from 1961 to 1966.

Mooney had a long career as a professor at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey.

He took a leave of absence in 1988, and was dismissed from the order in November 1989.

He later authored several religious books.

Charles E. Sullivan

A few years after serving the University of Detroit in campus ministry from 1951 to 1953, Sullivan allegedly sexually abused a minor in 1959 while assigned to Our Lady of the Springs Church in French Lick, Indiana.

The accusation of the single incident was made after Sullivan died in September 1996.

More than 20 Jesuits (mostly priests) live on the Detroit Mercy campus. Most teach here.

The Varsity News reached out to several for comment on this story.

Only the Rev. Tim Hipskind, S.J., director of service learning, agreed to talk.

He said the abuse scandal has led to more open conversation and educational programs among the clergy.

“Part of our education is to name those behaviors that are inappropriate and could be leading in that direction,” he said. “Things like being isolated with someone or alone in a room, drinking with underage people or sexual jokes – all inappropriate and illegal.”

The clergy have become better at policing these behaviors, he said.

“If we see this happening, we’re going to confront it,” Hipskind said. “Either it means this person is an abuser or they’re headed in that direction.”

At 16,000 members, the Jesuits are the largest order of priests worldwide.

The Midwest province encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It incudes 510 Jesuits.