Basilian priest-teacher suspended in Houston – Canadian connections

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A Basilian priest in Houston, Texas, Father Jack Hanna, has been suspended following an allegation of “misconduct.”

Jack Hanna

The following email was sent to alumni of St. Thomas High School in Houston Texas:

February 11, 2013

Dear Alumni,
This weekend, the Basilian Fathers were contacted by the Archdiocese
of Galveston-Houston and informed that there is an allegation of
misconduct against Fr. Jack Hanna, C.S.B.. The allegation involves an
adult who is neither a student nor an employee at St. Thomas High
School. At the direction of the Superior-General of the Basilian
Fathers, while this matter is under investigation, Fr. Hanna will not
be engaged in teaching or any priestly ministry. Please keep the St.
Thomas community in your prayers during this time, Yours in Christ,
Fr. Kevin Storey, C.S.B

I don’t as yet know if Father Hanna ever actually served in Canada (I don’t think so), but I do know that, according to the Houston Chronicle,  in 1956-57 Father William Hodgson Marshall taught Math and coached Basketball at St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas.

I also know that, following the death of Father Leo Campbell, a Basilian obituary noted that Fathers Jack Hanna and Leo Campbell and others were ordained in 1974:

Others ordained in 1974 include Robert Barringer, Robert Glass, Jack Hanna, Robert Moslosky, Douglas Mosey, Thomas Sepulveda, Norman Tanck, and the late Richard Killaire.

And, more to the point, according to the University of St. Thomas Undergraduate Catalog 2005-2007,  part-time professor Jack Hanna csb  attained his MDiv at the University of St. Michael’s College in 1973.

Jack Hanna, CSB, 1973. Spanish. BA (1967) University of St. Thomas; MDiv (1973) University of St. Michael’s College; MA (1973) Stephen F. Austin State University.

The University of St. Michael’s College, a Basilian-founded and operated university, is in Toronto, Ontario.

So, yes, there are Canadian connections to this breaking story, more than one.

Indeed, we can add to that the fact that Father Kevin Storey, the Basilian  priest who dispatched the news to St. Thomas High School alumni, was born in India but raised in Canada.  He attended St. Michael’s College School in Toronto and joined the Basilians after graduation.  He was ordained in 1992.  He attained an MA from Assumption University (Windsor, ON) and a Masters of Divinity from University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, Ontario.

Because the Basilians are an international order now headquartered in Toronto it is not unusual at all to see Basilians from the States serving in Canada and vice-versa.  In fact, it would not surprise me in the least to find out that Father Hanna is here in Canada, somewhere.

Some more information on Father Jack Hanna...

According to the University of St. Thomas website, Father Jack Hanna graduated from UST in 1967 and over the years has, amongst other things, taught at UST, served as head of  Campus Ministry for nearly 30 years, led groups of students to Merida, Mexico each summer, and taught at St. Thomas HS:

The Vincent J. Guinan Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to the Rev. Jack Hanna, CSB, class of 1967, and his sister, Carol Hanna McCann, class of 1976. Since graduating from UST, Father Hanna has taught Spanish at UST and also currently teaches at St. Thomas High School. He has served on the UST board of directors representing the Basilian Fathers. More than 34 years ago, Fr. Hanna initiated the study abroad program in Mérida, Mexico, leading a group of UST students there each summer. He has also directed Sigma Delta Pi, the National Spanish Honor Society for nearly 30 years. For much of the 1970s and 80s, Fr. Hanna was the head of Campus Ministry.

Here’s another article regarding trips to Mexico, this from the University of St. Thomas Star View, 28 April 2008

President Ivany, Fr. Hanna Represent UST in Mexico
Dr. Robert Ivany and The Rev. Jack Hanna CSB, traveled to Mexico City on April 14 to 15, to give a UST recruitment presentation to principals of Catholic and private high schools as well as to university professors from the area. The trip was organized by RoseMary Salum, adjunct professor of modern and classical languages. During the trip, Dr. Ivany and Fr. Hanna visited the sites including the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

I received news of Father Hanna’s suspension on Sunday past.  I tried on Monday (18 Feb) to get further information, both from someone at St. Thomas HS and from someone at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  No luck.  I left messages on answering machines: no call backs that day.

Yesterday I tried again.  Again I left messages – at day’s end no call backs.

I did get through to the Chancellor’s office yesterday.  I wanted to find out if Father Hanna ever served in Canada – I was told by that the archdiocese does not keep track of the assignments of ordered priests (i.e., those belonging to an order such as the Basilians or Jesuits)  once the priest leaves the archdiocese.  I also want to know (1) have the parents of St. Thomas HS students been advised of Father Hanna’s suspension? and (2) the nature of the allegations of “misconduct,” and more specifically are these ‘historic’ allegations, meaning that the complainant is now an adult, but the allegations date to a time when the complainant was a child?

I was told my message would be passed on to the bishop who was at that time in a meeting.   The bishop in this instance is Auxiliary Bishop George Sheltz, the Vicar general and Chancellor of the archdiocese.  No call back by day’s end.

There is not a word out about this.  As far as I can tell, all is quiet.  Nothing on the Archdiocese’s website.  Ditto St. Thomas HS website.  Hush. Hush. It all seems so eerily, well …. Canadian!

Some final questions:

(1)  What exactly is the nature of the allegations which prompted the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to suspend Father Hanna?

(2) Is this priest a threat to children and/or vulnerable adults?

(3)  Where is Father Hanna now?

(4)  Are the police involved?

I will get this into the hands of someone in the States who is more familiar with the archdiocese and can deal with it better there than I can from up here in Canada.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

This entry was posted in Accused or charged, Basilians, Bishops, Canada, Clerical sexual predators, Scandal, Treatment centres and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Basilian priest-teacher suspended in Houston – Canadian connections

  1. J says:

    Hi Sylvia,

    Can you keep up on this story? I went to St. Thomas and I can tell you that Fr. Hanna made unwanted advances and hit on boys at the school.

    J

    • Sylvia says:

      J, I just posted an email sent out to alumni today:

      08 March 2013: Message to St Thomas High School alumni re Father Jack Hanna csb

      I will keep up as best I can on the story. Strangely enough, the media in Houston is not touching it. Those who saw, experienced first-hand or were told by a victim will have to speak up and/or go to police. I think the statute of limitations in Texas may be a problem – I just looked it up and, depending on the crime, is either five or ten years, and I think that the clock starts running after the 18 the birthday. There is also a statute of limitations on launching a lawsuit. Those with allegations would need to talk to a lawyer to see what the actual law is and if anything can be done.

      Can anyone enlighten us on the law in Texas, both for criminal and civil action?

      • M says:

        Sylvia,

        You should also look up Fr. Michael P Cerretto, who used to be Principal. He was sent to Toronto after being caught offering a lewd act in a porno theatre around 10-15 years ago

        • Sylvia says:

          Thanks M. Someone tipped me off about Father Cerretto. I have a page for him here.

          This whole business of predators moving back and forth across the border, and the Basilian HQ being in Toronto, prompted me to start a page on the Basilians so we can keep this information together. I still have a fair bit to do, but here it is to date.

          I am now working on the Father Jack Hanna page – a bit more to do there.

          By the way, as far as I can tell Father Cerretto is now training deacons down in New Mexico!

    • M says:

      Yup. I went there too and we used to call him “Hands on Hanna”

  2. Karrie Fenter says:

    The Houston Chronicle did publish a story on this today; about 3 weeks after you published this on your site.

    • Sylvia says:

      Hallelujah! The story needed to get out in the Houston area and for whatever reason it just was not being touched by the mainstream media. (I contacted the Houston Chronicle)

      Thank you Karrie. I found the article and will now post it.

  3. Brian says:

    I graduated from St. Thomas and I had “Happ Jack” as we called him Teach me Spanish and Lead our trip to Mexico. Father Hanna…..Drank way too much and gave uncomfortable back rubs and made advances at me. I was 19 years old. I felt he was harmless at the time and just drunk. Everyone joked about it then. I see it finally got out of hand….He is not an awful person….This makes me sad though.

  4. Duke Furrh says:

    My son was a student of his at St. Thomas and had Father Hanna for Spanish. He was extremely kind, hepful and a wonderful educator. He was a graduate of the school and spent his whole life there. In St Thomas community he was highly respected and every student or parent that had him as a teacher, that I have spoken with,has only had glowing comments about him. My son did say he did he would pat him on the back as manifestation of support and encouragement. The St. Thomas official statement only said that the allegation against him was made from someone outside the community. In light of all the real abuse perpetrated by priest coming to light, combined with the highly litigious society we live in, it might be possible that some truly wonderful priest get swept up in the tide of misconduct that has swept over the church these days.

    • J-o says:

      It’s good to see you commenting. Although the students loved Father Hanna, he was known for being a little more physical than normal. It’s hard to think of a priest like that. I’m not going to say what his intentions were but the Catholic Church has a very careful approach to dealing with such issues. If they’re actually taking charge, there must be something that happened.

  5. j says:

    Duke,
    I want to tell you my experiences with Fr. Hanna. Please keep an open mind to what you are about to read.

    First off, I need to clearly state that Fr. Hanna never forced me to have sex with him. However he did make strong advances towards me.

    For a period of time I was around campus ministry a lot. I think I signed up for campus ministry because Fr. Hanna was always nice to me and I could get out of other school requirements. Also, I had a tutor where we would meet in an office next to Fr. Hanna’s. Anyway, during my time working for and being around campus ministry, I was in Fr Hanna’s office a lot. While I was there, Fr. Hanna and I would have really nice conversations. I really enjoyed his company. However, I dreaded every time it was almost time to go.

    When the bell was about to ring, I would always start to pack my stuff up to get ready to go to my next class. It seemed like it was always during this time Fr. Hanna would come over to me and hug me hard from behind. Now maybe this isn’t a big problem, but every time he did this he would also press his semi- erect penis against my buttocks (and yes, sadly, I still have a vivid memory of his penis pressing against me). Needless to say, I felt completely trapped. I would try to move forward into a position where I couldn’t feel his penis, but he would always move closer and closer and hug me harder and harder. While he was hugging me close from behind, he would always rub my stomach in circles and tell me much he cared about me and what a great kid I was. Finally after a bit of time, he would release me. I felt gross and just wanted to leave.

    Besides the hugging, on numerous occasions Fr. Hanna would rub my hands and tell me how cute they were.

    Now, I don’t know about you, but his actions (at least by today’s standards) would get him fired in a second. The thing was I felt very intimidated. I wasn’t about to say anything that would put more of a spotlight on me. Maybe I was being selfish, but St. Thomas was hard enough. I didn’t need more hardships from fellow students and those in authority by outing him. So, I kept quiet.

    I am not “litigious.” I don’t want a single dime and I am not going to court. I just want people to know that the acceptance of Fr. Hanna’s actions (I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Oh, that is just Fr. Hanna!”) by everyone was wrong. They might not have known about how close Fr. Hanna got to me, but I can tell you that it was a common sentiment, at least among students, that Fr. Hanna was sexually inappropriate and that those in power knew something was up.

    If my wife, who is a public school teacher, did what Fr. Hanna did to me she would be fired in a second. You just can’t do that. It is simply not acceptable.

    I will end with the simple plea that we stop the Fr. Hanna’s of the world to a different standard.

    -J

  6. j says:

    Duke,

    I want to tell you my experiences with Fr. Hanna. Please keep an open mind to what you are about to read.

    First off, I need to clearly state that Fr. Hanna never forced me to have sex with him. However he did make strong advances towards me.

    For a period of time I was around campus ministry a lot. I think I signed up for campus ministry because Fr. Hanna was always nice to me and I could get out of other school requirements. Also, I had a tutor where we would meet in an office next to Fr. Hanna’s. Anyway, during my time working for and being around campus ministry, I was in Fr Hanna’s office a lot. While I was there, Fr. Hanna and I would have really nice conversations. I really enjoyed his company. However, I dreaded every time it was almost time to go.

    When the bell was about to ring, I would always start to pack my stuff up to get ready to go to my next class. It seemed like it was always during this time Fr. Hanna would come over to me and hug me hard from behind. Now maybe this isn’t a big problem, but every time he did this he would also press his semi- erect penis against my buttocks (and yes, sadly, I still have a vivid memory of his penis pressing against me). Needless to say, I felt completely trapped. I would try to move forward into a position where I couldn’t feel his penis, but he would always move closer and closer and hug me harder and harder. While he was hugging me close from behind, he would always rub my stomach in circles and tell me much he cared about me and what a great kid I was. Finally after a bit of time, he would release me. I felt gross and just wanted to leave.
    Besides the hugging, on numerous occasions Fr. Hanna would rub my hands and tell me how cute they were.

    Now, I don’t know about you, but his actions (at least by today’s standards) would get him fired in a second. The thing was I felt very intimidated. I wasn’t about to say anything that would put more of a spotlight on me. Maybe I was being selfish, but St. Thomas was hard enough. I didn’t need more hardships from fellow students and those in authority by outing him. So, I kept quiet.

    I am not “litigious.” I don’t want a single dime and I am not going to court. I just want people to know that the acceptance of Fr. Hanna’s actions (I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Oh, that is just Fr. Hanna!”) by everyone was wrong. They might not have known about how close Fr. Hanna got to me, but I can tell you that it was a common sentiment, at least among students, that Fr. Hanna was sexually inappropriate and that those in power knew something was up.

    If my wife, who is a public school teacher, did what Fr. Hanna did to me she would be fired in a second. You just can’t do that. It is simply not acceptable.

    I will end with the simple plea that we stop holding the Fr. Hanna’s of the world to a different standard.

    -J

  7. MB says:

    I have known Jack Hanna for almost 40 years and at this point in time, I refuse to judge and convict him as so many of you have done.

    Everyone has jumped to the conclusion that the inappropriate behavior had to do with a student and is sexual in nature. None of us knows at this point in time exactly WHAT happened. It could be a drinking problem, or a drug problem. It could be an instance of him being “hit on” by someone and reporting him to the Archdiocese when they found out he was a priest.

    MY POINT IS NONE OF US KNOWS THE WHOLE STORY. What we should all be doing is praying for this man who apparently has some demons to dispel.

    • Sylvia says:

      The Basilians know a whole lot more of the whole story than most of us MB. They could tell us the truth and set the record straight at any time. Whatever reason, they choose not to.

      Have you read J’s comments?

      • 1yellowknife says:

        MB: J described what happened to him in precise, clear language. J also stated he did not feel – at that time – he could disclose since he might not be believed and his life at St. Thomas would become more difficult as a consequence of disclosing. You just confirmed why J was correct in his assumptions he would be dismissed. Actually, he was not only dismissed by you, he was not heard at all by you. Could you tell us why this is? I heard him. The many thousands who daily visit this site likely understood what he was describing. MB: what is wrong with you?

    • PJ says:

      MB: “What we should all be doing is praying for this man who apparently has some demons to dispel.” You are at the wrong site if this is what you want. If this one plays out like the other pervert collars, then there will be much more to his story through other victims who will come forward. You go pray for him yourself, the rest of us will pray and support the victims…since the blind sheep parishioners and that church won’t.

  8. MB;
    The behaviour described here by “J” is COMPLETELY inappropriate for a Roman Catholic priest! I am not a judge nor a lawyer, so I will not comment on the legal aspects of this.
    Of course it is obvious even to you that this man needs help and prayers. My question to you is why does the church continue to tolerate (and in some cases encourage) this type of behaviour? The priest is God’s representative to his parishioners and should be devoting his attention to the spiritual guidance of his flock.
    I don’t recall reading about Jesus Christ of Nazareth strutting around rubbing his penis against people’s buttocks.
    Try saying one of your precious prayers for the victims of this hypocrite instead. Mike.

  9. Brunelle Brenda says:

    Dear J.

    I don’t know if what you experienced is common with all cleric abuse or if this is the Basilian’s specialty. I too had the unfortunate introduction to a Basilian that abused me exactly how you described your interactions with this monster. My abuse extended beyond the hugging me from behind and the pressure of his penis in my spine…. but the feelings you express and your reaction to this experience is carbon copy to my own.

    MB, but for the Grace of God, you clearly have never encountered such injustice in your life or anyone you love to post pray for him and his demons.

    May the evil that has afflicted so many never visit at your doorstep or any other doorstep. That is what we should be praying for.

  10. Sylvia says:

    For the information of all: I have been told that the allegation which prompted the suspension/resignation of Father Hanna came from a former student who has come forward. I have no way of proving this to be fact but pass it along because the wording of the Basilian communication with alumni bothere3d me from the beginning. Look at it.

    The 13 February 2013 email from Father Story reads in part:

    “The allegation involves an adult who is neither a student nor an employee at St. Thomas High School. ”

    If indeed, as I have been told, the complainant is in fact a former St. Thomas HS student, then I would say that the email is deliberately crafted to deceive. It is not a lie per se, but neither is it the whole truth. IF indeed the allegation does come from a former STHS , why not, for the good of all, be honest and say so?

  11. PJ says:

    Because it is part of the “collar creed”…to minimize, deceive, and abuse.

  12. james says:

    It is so easy for someone to make allegations. I went to catholic school and never experienced anything like this. In my experience with life I have come across many people who claim something that isn’t true, so that they can claim something in return.No one is guilty unless proven in a court of law, it seams people are so quick to defend those who point fingers.

    • Sylvia says:

      It’s hard to be found guilty in a court of law if there’s a statute of limitations which has expired. It’s also hard to be found guilty in court of law if someone gets off on a technicality which has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. And, it’s hard to be found guilty in a court of law if a victim has been paid off by a diocese and silenced.

      I remind you too that there are many instances in which, for whatever reason, police are not or cannot be involved but in which a diocese has determined that sex abuse allegations are “credible,” and in so doing suspend the priest in question.

      I would not agree with you for a moment that it is “easy” for a grown man to allege that he was sexually abused as a boy or teenager by a Roman Catholic priest. Never! If that’s really what you think, you need to sit in on a few court cases, read a few court documents and talk to a few victims.

      As for your inference that victims come forward “so that they can get something in return,” that is so crass and ignorant that it doesn’t warrant comment. Do you have the slightest idea how many victims have gone to a diocese looking for nothing more than an acknowledgment of the abuse and an apology, and wound up with denials, denials denials?

      Do you have any idea how often a victim who was seeking an apology was offered a ‘pay-off’ – with assurance that this is best for all and best to keep it all quiet?

      It seems to me James that far too many people are far to quick to unquestioningly and so naively defend the indefensible, all the while pointing fingers at those who have already suffered so much at hands of errant and/or predatory clergy.

  13. OA says:

    Iam catholic I will not change my faith , but I do believe that the sick
    needs to be treat and keep away from our love one , as God call us to be children of light not of darkness let not our self confuse the a man of God with a man of darkness
    and be more open to our children teaching them to report any behavior that is not
    Acceptable . Our faith is our faith but God call us to be children of light and to protect
    Our love one. Pray for those that have been hurt and those that are in need of help.
    Always to be open in the future to those that can help you.
    Let our self not to be silent and do what is right, our faith is our faith let not hide
    anymore what is wrong and protect our love one. Amen to that

  14. PCV says:

    You seriously have a website dedicated to dirty laundry about priests? Really?
    I went to St. Thomas. Fr. Hanna was a little too touchy-feely at times, but I also remember he cared a lot about us and our development. No one seems to know the whole story about this, but there was not a child involved. The man resigned and entered treatment.

  15. northern fancy says:

    PCV:

    Thanks to this site, the horrendous residential school abuses in Northern Canada are now known beyond our remote region.

    Thanks to this site, a horrific molester – Eric de Jaeger OMI – was tracked down in Belgium (to where he had fled and where he was sheltered by his order) brought to Canada, stood trial and is now serving a lengthy sentence.

    This site is a credible source of information for media, those dealing with the abuse victims and it is a beacon of light and hope – globally – for those who believe the darkness can end and the light of truth and healing can prevail. Sylvia has my daily prayers.

    BTW, if any information regarding cleric abuse in published in error or if a person charged is cleared, Sylvia is the first to post this information as well. This also serves a valuable purpose. Her credibiity remains high for this and many other reasons.

    If your response is a “first impression”, keep reading. It you are just discounting the value of this site: can’t help you there. All the best.

  16. jg says:

    PCV,

    Really, “dirty laundry”? You think people’s lives are “dirty laundry”?
    Funny in the same four lines you mention your “development”…

    The only insight you have suggested is about “dedication”…the dedication Sylvia has shown in trying to do the right thing for the victims of the clerical predators.
    Keep on reading! Never stop thinking you can “develop” some more…
    jg

  17. Steve says:

    “Happy hands Hanna”

    -st Thomas high school class 2010

    • Steve says:

      But also I think it came out that his relationship was with a grown man. Never a student of his. He definitely had a drinking probably too. Incorporated “beber cervezas” “tomar cocaina” y “fumar marijuana” in many lectures, tests, quizzes etc in freshman “advanced Spanish 1”. He was pretty cool but also you touch your shoulders and shit. “Hijo you really need a haircut” and like stroke the back of my hair and neck. Pretty strange. But I don’t think he would do anything to a kid.

  18. Jeff. says:

    I taught for the former and now deceased Basilian priest, William Hodgson Marshall, for six years until he was moved to the St. Lucia. In all that time none of us knew about his past behavior in Houston. Or in Sault St. Marie, Ontario. Or in Sudbury, Ontario. It would be another twenty-plus years before his crimes in Windsor would become public knowledge. I lay this all at the doorstep of the Basilians. And I’ll go one step further: I am a graduate of a Basilian-run high school. From 1963 to 1967 I witnessed and have vivid memories of violent hazing directed especially at those perceived to be LGBT. What made it especially henious was the apparent indifference of the staff, certain of whom were themselves violent men hiding behind a collar. Let the Basilians answer for their crimes.

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