[Notice on College of Saint Justin Martyr website from President Dr. Jeffrey Bond]
March 10, 2002
To All Concerned Parties, Especially The Parents Of Boys Who Attended St.
Gregory’s Academy Since 1997:
This letter is divided into three major parts: the first part will explain the
purpose of this letter in light of the ongoing police investigation of the
Society of St. John; the second part will present evidence of grave misconduct
by Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity and the Society of St. John at St. Gregory’s Academy;
and the third part will expose Fr. Urrutigoity’s methods of seduction. Due to
the seriousness and complexity of this scandal, this letter is quite long even
though I have restricted my focus to Fr. Urrutigoity, and left the misdeeds of
other members of the Society, especially Fr. Eric Ensey and Fr. Marshall
Roberts, to subsequent letters.
(1) The Ongoing Police Investigation of the Society of St. John (SSJ)
The District Attorney of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, is conducting an
investigation of the SSJ due to allegations of molestation made against Fr.
Carlos Urrutigoity, the Superior General, and Fr. Eric Ensey, the Chancellor.
This investigation is focused on St. Gregory’s Academy, a Catholic all-boys
school in Lackawanna County run by the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), where the
SSJ was in residence for two years. Chief County Detective Thomas K. Dubas is in
charge of the investigation.
At the request of Detective Dubas, I met with him and Pennsylvania State Trooper
John Weis on March 6, 2002. During that meeting, I was informed by Detective
Dubas that he had composed a letter to be sent to the parents of any boy who
attended St. Gregory’s Academy since 1997. This date was chosen because the SSJ
was in residence at St. Gregory’s from the fall of 1997 until August 1999, when
the SSJ moved onto its newly purchased property in Shohola, Pennsylvania.
By means of a subpoena, Detective Dubas obtained from St. Gregory’s Academy the
names and addresses of those who were designated to receive his letter. Although
I have not seen this letter, Detective Dubas explained that it was written to
alert parents to the police investigation and to ask them to convey to the
police any information pertinent to the ongoing investigation of the SSJ.
The letter from the police was necessary because those in authority, who knew of
this serious situation for some time, refused to do their moral duty and contact
the parents. Bishop Timlin, the supreme moral authority over St. Gregory’s,
should have contacted the parents last summer when he was informed by four
different sources that Fr. Urrutigoity was sleeping in the same bed with boys.
Bishop Timlin’s duty was clear, especially since Bishop Fellay of the Society of
St. Pius X (SSPX) had informed him in a letter dated February 11, 1999, that Fr.
Urrutigoity had been accused of molestation. Moreover, had Bishop Timlin
followed his own diocesan policy and done background checks on the SSJ priests
when he allowed them into the Diocese of Scranton, he would have known that
seminarian Carlos Urrutigoity had also been accused of homosexual behavior by
Fr. Andres Morello, the Rector of the SSPX seminary in La Reja, Argentina.
Furthermore, I urged Bishop Timlin in a letter dated October 27, 2001 to contact
these parents, but he continued to do nothing. The Bishop’s only excuse, which
he conveyed to reporter Michael Chapman, was that he did not know the parents’
names. The Scranton Times now reports (March 3, 2002) that “against the diocesan
lawyer’s advice, Bishop Timlin has written to alumni of St. Gregory’s in an
attempt to learn whether other alleged misconducts occurred.” Apparently bad
publicity was finally able to move the Bishop when moral obligation and appeals
to pastoral care could not.
I also urged Mr. Alan Hicks, the Headmaster of St. Gregory’s Academy, as well as
Mr. Howard Clark, the Assistant Headmaster, to contact the parents of any boy
who had been exposed to the SSJ priests while at St. Gregory’s. It should be
noted that it was Mr. Hicks himself who first informed me on August 19, 2001
that Fr. Urrutigoity had a habit of sleeping with boys. My subsequent
investigation of this matter brought to my attention the fact that a graduate
from St. Gregory’s had claimed to be molested while at St. Gregory’s. I informed
Mr. Hicks and Mr. Clark of this in a meeting on December 11, 2001. At that time
Mr. Hicks and Mr. Clark entertained the idea of contacting parents, but they
afterwards chose not to do so.
The letter to the parents from Detective Dubas is therefore welcome news indeed.
However, this letter will not suffice to inform parents fully, despite the good
intentions of Detective Dubas. Thus, I am setting forth additional information
in this email—not available elsewhere—that parents should know when they
approach their sons. I would gladly send my letter directly to the parents
themselves, but I do not have the power of subpoena, and so I do not know their
names and addresses. Thus I must count upon those who receive this letter to
forward it to anyone they know who had sons at St. Gregory’s Academy during the
years mentioned above.
Moreover, Detective Dubas and Trooper Weiss suggested to me that I announce to
all concerned parties that anyone who was molested by a SSJ priest, or anyone
who knows someone who was molested, should contact Detective Dubas directly at
(570) 963-6855 or through email at email@example.com. Detective Dubas’ mailing
address is 200 N. Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503.
(2) The Grave Misconduct of Fr. Urrutigoity and the SSJ at St. Gregory’s
At this point I will present the relevant information that was conveyed to me by
adult eyewitnesses at St. Gregory’s Academy, most of which has been set down in
affidavits. After presenting this material, I will expose the methods of
seduction employed by Fr. Urrutigoity in order to help others make sense of this
(a) Mr. Jude Huntz, who was the head dorm father at St. Gregory’s during the
1997-1998 academic year, has stated in an affidavit that in March 1998, three
students returned to the dormitory in a state of extreme intoxication. After the
FSSP chaplain, Fr. Paul Carr, had investigated, he told Mr. Huntz that members
of the SSJ had served alcohol to these boys in the presence of both Mr. Hicks
and Mr. Clark in the SSJ’s wing of the building. Fr. Carr then called the
police. When the police arrived, Mr. Huntz stayed with the drunken boys, and Fr.
Carr escorted the police to the SSJ’s wing. After the police left, Fr. Carr
returned to the dormitory and told Mr. Huntz that the police had given all the
adults present – members of the SSJ, Mr. Hicks and Mr. Clark – a warning for serving alcohol to minors. Fr. Carr later told Mr. Huntz that he reported this
incident to Bishop Timlin and to Fr. Arnaud Devillers, the District Superior of
the FSSP. (Mr. Hicks has denied that this incident ever took place. However, Mr.
Paul Hornak, a former teacher at St. Gregory’s, and Mr. Jerry Zienta, a dorm
father at the time of the incident, both confirm Mr. Huntz’s account.)
Mr. Huntz has also reported in an addendum to his affidavit that when the SSJ
began inviting boys over to their quarters for movies and spiritual direction,
the issue of curfew came up for review. Mr. Hicks decided that boys who were
receiving “spiritual direction” from the SSJ could be out past curfew so long as
they returned to the dormitory at a “reasonable time.” Because the phrase
“reasonable time” was never defined, Mr. Huntz and Mr. Zienta set up a system
whereby one would do room checks at night and the other in the morning.
Nonetheless, the fact that boys often returned late from meetings with SSJ
members was a continuing problem, because the boys were difficult to wake up in
the morning, were often late for morning prayer, and were lethargic the next day
for classes. Mr. Huntz reported this problem to Mr. Hicks who said he would
discuss it with Fr. Urrutigoity. Mr. Huntz states that the problem nonetheless
(b) In the following academic year, Mr. Fred Fraser was the head dorm father.
Mr. Fraser had graduated from St. Gregory’s Academy in 1997. He subsequently
served as a dorm father under Mr. Huntz in the 1997-1998 school year. Mr. Fraser
then became the head dorm father during the 1998-1999 academic year when the
priests of the SSJ were made the official chaplains at St. Gregory’s. Thus,
unlike previous years, there was no FSSP chaplain present to oversee the boys’
welfare when Mr. Fraser was the head dorm father. During this academic year,
according to Mr. Huntz’s affidavit, “The Society of St. John had carte blanche
access and influence at the Academy.”
When Mr. Hicks first informed me on August 19, 2001 that Fr. Urrutigoity had a
habit of sleeping with boys, Mr. Hicks offered as proof the fact that Mr. Fraser
had acknowledged to Mr. Hicks that he had slept with Fr. Urrutigoity one-on-one
in the same bed in Fr. Urrutigoity’s private chambers. (Mr. Hicks also offered
as proof the fact that Mr. Hornak had reported to him that Fr. Urrutigoity had
slept in the same sleeping bag with St. Gregory’s boys on a camping trip.) Mr.
Fraser later confirmed to me his sleeping together with Fr. Urrutigoity when he
made an unannounced visit to my house during his Christmas vacation this past
year. At that time, Mr. Fraser not only admitted to me that he slept in the same
bed with Fr. Urrutigoity, but he also defended this practice as part of Fr.
Urrutigoity’s method of giving “spiritual direction.” I tried to persuade Mr.
Fraser that this practice was highly inappropriate for any priest, but
especially for Fr. Urrutigoity who had a prior history of being accused of
homosexual molestation. Having failed to persuade Mr. Fraser, I asked him a
question designed to point out a contradiction that I hoped would awaken him to
danger: Why was Mr. Fraser openly defending Fr. Urrutigoity’s strange sleeping
habits when SSJ priests were busy trying to conceal this by lying to donors? Mr.
Fraser made no answer, then informed me it was getting late and so he must
In addition to Mr. Fraser, a second dorm father from the 1998-1999 school year
has acknowledged to me that he slept in the same bed with Fr. Urrutigoity. The
remaining three dorm fathers that year all graduated from St. Gregory’s in 1998.
One of them had been on probation his senior year for drinking. All three were
“disciples” of Fr. Urrutigoity. Thus, during the 1998-1999 academic year, all
five dorm fathers at St. Gregory’s were under Fr. Urrutigoity’s spell, and at
least two of them had slept with him. Four of the five, including Mr. Fraser,
were only a year or two older than the boys they were supposed to supervise. Mr.
Fraser himself had been arrested during the 1997-1998 Christmas vacation for
possession of alcohol. He also “totaled” two cars that same year.
(c) Mr. Paul Hornak, a former teacher at St. Gregory’s, has stated in an
affidavit that he took a group of St. Gregory’s boys on a winter camping
expedition in February 1999, for which Fr. Urrutigoity volunteered himself as
the trip’s “spiritual director.” During the trip, Mr. Hornak learned that Fr.
Urrutigoity was giving cigars and wine to those sharing his tent. Two of the
boys bragged about this, adding that they had shared the same sleeping bag with
Fr. Urrutigoity. Mr. Hornak reported this incident to Mr. Hicks, who said he
would speak with Fr. Urrutigoity. Mr. Hornak later received a letter of apology
from Fr. Urrutigoity, which acknowledged the distribution of cigars, but ignored
the alcohol and sleeping with boys. Mr. Hicks received a copy of this letter,
and he expressed to Mr. Hornak his frustration that Fr. Urrutigoity had ignored
the more serious issues. In the letter itself, Fr. Urrutigoity referred to Canon
Law to justify his actions: he claimed that he did not think what he did was
“against the law,” but “beyond the law” insofar as the trip was an
“extraordinary activity” the goal of which was to foster “good camaraderie.” Mr.
Hornak has stated in his affidavit that it seemed that Fr. Urrutigoity
“considered sleeping with boys to be perfectly natural, and he evidently had
succeeded in convincing the two boys there was nothing wrong with it.”
Mr. Hornak, who was a resident in the dorm during the 1998-1999 school year, has
also reported that “I often heard snatches of conversation between the boys that
left me in no doubt that drinking, smoking and bed-sharing were standard
occurrences.” Mr. Hornak has stated that he complained openly to anyone who
would listen, but nobody seemed to care.
In April or May of 1999, Mr. Hornak gave notice that he would not be returning
to St. Gregory’s in the fall. Shortly before he left the school in the late
spring, Mr. Hornak detailed his reasons for resigning to Fr. Devillers. In this
exit interview, Mr. Hornak made the plain statement to Fr. Devillers that he
believed “the Society of St. John had involved St. Gregory’s boys in
near-homosexual activity.” According to Mr. Hornak’s affidavit, Fr. Devillers
took the allegation calmly and “expressed the view that some of the techniques
the Society employed to win the favor of boys were perhaps intended to make them
receptive to God’s word.” Mr. Hornak concludes his affidavit by stating that he
thought Fr. Devillers’ idea was “preposterous.”
(d) The Servants Minor of St. Francis, who lived at St. Gregory’s during the
1998-1999 academic year, were also witnesses to the undue and improper influence
Fr. Urrutigoity and the SSJ exercised over the boys at St. Gregory’s. The
Franciscan brothers were so alarmed by the SSJ’s behavior that, on the advice of
Fr. Devillers, they made out an affidavit for the record to the effect that they
had no formal association with the SSJ. The Franciscan brothers took this step
after learning that Fr. Daniel Fullerton had declared—in the presence of St.
Gregory’s boys on the SSJ’s property—that “swimsuits are optional.”
While in residence at St. Gregory’s, the Franciscan brothers witnessed
upperclassmen exhibiting violent behavior toward younger boys, which they
believe Fr. Urrutigoity encouraged. It was Fr. Urrutigoity’s opinion that hazing
by upperclassmen gave the upperclassmen a “stake” in running the school.
One of the Franciscan brothers, at the request of Mr. Hicks, chaperoned a trip
sponsored by Fr. Urrutigoity. After first stopping to buy cigarettes for the
boys, Fr. Urrutigoity then wined and dined the boys in New York City, including,
according to one of the boys, a $500 bottle of wine. According to the
Franciscans, Fr. Urrutigoity regularly took the boys out and made them feel
The Franciscan brothers, who lived in the same wing of the building as the SSJ,
have reported seeing boys in their bedclothes in the SSJ’s bathroom in the early
morning. Moreover, they often saw St. Gregory’s boys in the SSJ’s wing past
curfew, one boy being discovered alone in a room smoking and drinking with Fr.
Urrutigoity after midnight. The Franciscan brothers also reported that for a
time Fr. Urrutigoity set up his bedroom in the bathroom.
(e) Br. Alexis Bugnolo visited St. Gregory’s Academy in the same month as Mr.
Hornak’s camping trip, February 1999. The purpose of Br. Bugnolo’s visit was to
make the acquaintance of the Servants Minor of St. Francis. During his visit,
Br. Bugnolo witnessed displays of affection between students that he deemed
“inconsistent with normal boyhood affection” and signs of homosexuality. One
such display involved two students “kissing/embracing.” Br. Bugnolo reported
this behavior to Fr. Urrutigoity who assured him that he would take action,
though Br. Bugnolo noted that Fr. Urrutigoity’s “demeanor was of the greatest
dread and fright.”
Having awakened at night with a fever and gone into the hallway bathroom to take
aspirin, Br. Bugnolo saw one of the students who had displayed inappropriate
affection in the Society’s wing at that late hour. Br. Bugnolo later reported
this to Fr. Urrutigoity by letter, a letter to which Fr. Urrutigoity made no
response. Months later, when Br. Bugnolo saw a SSJ brochure with this same
student pictured in a cassock among the other SSJ members, Br. Bugnolo was
concerned that he had not reported to the correct individual. Br. Bugnolo
therefore spoke with Mr. Peter Vere, a canon lawyer for the Diocese of Scranton.
Mr. Vere told Br. Bugnolo that he had no reason or evidence sufficient to
proceed with informing Bishop Timlin.
(3) Fr. Urrutigoity’s Methods of Seduction
In light of the accounts set forth above, it is necessary to expose more fully
the modus operandi of Fr. Urrutigoity and the Society of St. John. Without such
an explanation, parents who do not understand Fr. Urrutigoity’s techniques will
not be able to fit together their son’s professed admiration for the SSJ with
the serious accusations that have been made against these priests.
This explanation is especially necessary because the SSJ, in an effort to
protect itself, has established a “group dynamic” that is intended to silence
individuals who may have information vital to the police investigation. Those
who have followed this unfolding scandal have already witnessed Bishop Timlin’s
and the SSJ’s denunciation of one victim in the national press. The Bishop and
the SSJ are now using the “Friends of the Society of St. John” to create a
picket line that few will dare to cross. Indeed, some have gone so far as to
proclaim publicly their willingness to “shed blood,” though it is not clear
whose blood they are ready to shed. One thing is clear: numbers and loud voices
have been corralled in order to intimidate and to distract from facts and truth.
Rather than address the particulars of the many accusations that have been made
public, the SSJ seeks to resolve the issue by a mere quantitative “head count,”
as if the truth will be revealed by a vote among those who refuse to look at
evidence. This is the equivalent of trying to determine what food is truly
healthy by taking a vote among children who are asked to choose between
vegetables and candy.
Yet the candy offered by the priests of the SSJ is no ordinary candy. These
priests are not crude perverts who dangle trinkets before children or who
brutishly attempt to take what they want by force. Rather, they employ the
sweetness of the highest truths of the Catholic Faith, with all the trappings,
to entice their victims and to win their trust. They know how to excite boys
with lofty words, noble ideals, and romantic sentiments. Indeed, these priests
are able to attract souls with the promise and appearance of spiritual
nourishment. Fr. Urrutigoity has a long history of manipulating others,
beginning in the seminary of La Reja, and then continuing in the seminary at
Winona where he was aptly named “Guru-tigoity.”
Though often inspiring, the goal of the SSJ’s fine words and powerful images is
not what it appears to be. The SSJ has used Catholic culture and music, and
Catholic teaching on food and drink, to win loyalty not to God and to the
Church, but to the priests themselves who have encouraged their victims to
identify the truth of the Catholic Faith with those who have taught it to them.
This is why it is not uncommon to hear a young man under their spell proclaim
that he will not remain Catholic if these priests are guilty, for many of these
young men have fully identified the true Faith with these priests. This and
other similar expressions reveal the gnostic character of the SSJ: their
followers believe that those who have attached themselves to the SSJ are the
true Catholics, while the ignorant masses of Catholics, lacking the knowledge of
the initiated, are lost fools.
I must share with you here a story told to me by one of Fr. Urrutigoity’s
victims, because this story illustrates the way in which Fr. Urrutigoity uses
his spiritual authority for perverse purposes. The young man who told me this
story explained that he had been under Fr. Urrutigoity’s spiritual direction for
two years before the priest he idolized betrayed him. This young man described
himself to me as a sponge that soaked up every word from Fr. Urrutigoity’s
mouth, and who placed his soul into Fr. Urrutigoity’s hands through a special
vow to the Blessed Mother.
During Lent, when this young man had given up meat, he found himself with
intense intestinal pains. When Fr. Urrutigoity discovered him in this condition,
Fr. Urrutigoity went to the bathroom and then returned with a suppository. The
young man, not knowing what a suppository was, asked Fr. Urrutigoity what he was
supposed to do with it. Fr. Urrutigoity explained to him that he should insert
it in his rectum. When the young man turned to go in order to administer the
suppository in private, Fr. Urrutigoity told him that he should put the
suppository in place in the presence of Fr. Urrutigoity. The young man, thinking
this strange, asked “why.” Fr. Urrutigoity then explained to him that his
greatest spiritual weakness was the pride he placed in his manhood. Thus, in
order to advance in the spiritual life, the young man should administer the
suppository in front of Fr. Urrutigoity, for this would humiliate him, which
would in turn help him advance spiritually by crucifying his manly pride.
The young man, who fully trusted Fr. Urrutigoity, refused to do this, but not
because he doubted the goodness or truth of Fr. Urrutigoity’s spiritual advice.
In fact, the young man blamed himself for not being spiritually mature enough to
do as he was instructed. Fr. Urrutigoity then attempted to persuade the young
man that he was indeed ready to take this spiritual step, and when the young man
continued to refuse, Fr. Urrutigoity attempted to make him feel guilty. Out of
frustration with his own supposed spiritual immaturity, and angry at Fr.
Urrutigoity for pushing him along the spiritual path too quickly, the young man
left the room without doing as Fr. Urrutigoity asked. So great was his trust in
Fr. Urrutigoity, who had taught him the true meaning of the Catholic faith, that
the young man did not see this warning sign for what it was. He was later
molested by Fr. Urrutigoity and only then understood how Fr. Urrutigoity had
used his priestly office to manipulate him.
Note how cleverly Fr. Urrutigoity used his office as a priest, carefully mixing
truth and falsehood, to try to persuade this young man to engage in something
pleasing to Fr. Urrutigoity’s perverse appetite. Parents need to consider what
the next step on Fr. Urrutigoity’s “spiritual path” would have been: something
even more humiliating and therefore even more effective in destroying a young
This same young man stressed to me the incredible patience Fr. Urrutigoity
exercised in his far-reaching and intricate plans to set up occasions where he
could be alone with this young man. Along the same line, this young man
emphasized how Fr. Urrutigoity worked tirelessly to plant seeds in the minds and
hearts of his would-be victims, and then patiently let these seeds take root
before returning to water them with new ideas and experiences. With hindsight,
this young man was able to see how Fr. Urrutigoity was always cultivating new
souls and future opportunities to exploit them, all under the guise of spiritual
direction and evangelization. Trust was built slowly and then gradually used to
control the one who trusted him.
In light of this young man’s insights, parents should not be confused by the
oft-repeated claim – undoubtedly true – that Fr. Urrutigoity emphasizes chastity to those under his spiritual direction. Indeed, parents need to recognize the
fine line Fr. Urrutigoity walks between speaking the truth and opening the door
to a topic not only titillating, but also susceptible of manipulation for
perverse ends. Moreover, emphasizing chastity with respect to the opposite sex
may be used to suggest lack of chastity with the same sex. Above all else, Fr.
Urrutigoity is adept at insinuating himself into the moral and spiritual lives
of the young through “spiritual direction,” because here a young soul is laid
bare and most open to suggestion.
At St. Gregory’s Academy, Fr. Urrutigoity abused his priestly office to ensnare
the soul of many a good and eager boy. Thus, when these young men are now asked
whether Fr. Urrutigoity ever did anything improper, many emphatically deny any
wrongdoing because, having had their judgment corrupted by him, they fail to
recognize his misconduct for what it is. As Fr. Urrutigoity has become for them
the very model of a Catholic priest, these young men are ready, like their dorm
fathers, to defend even his practice of sleeping in the same bed with boys.
Because Fr. Urrutigoity was so open and natural about this practice, these boys
were convinced it could not be wrong.
Stressing always the Puritanical nature of American society – a truth that he
taught with a vengeance, but not for truth’s sake – Fr. Urrutigoity used cigars,
brandy, music, and other fine things to overwhelm and attract young souls to a
certain ideal of Catholic manhood. Fr. Urrutigoity taught them that breaking the
rules was justified for those whom he initiated, for they were Catholic rebels
striving to break out of the narrow and restrictive confines of a Protestant and
Puritanical society. And, as every clever sexual predator knows, breaking the
rules in small things opens the soul to breaking the rules of the larger natural
There is much more that needs to be said, especially since the relationship
between the boys at St. Gregory’s Academy and the SSJ continued unchecked once
the SSJ moved to their own unsupervised playground in Shohola. It was not until
the current academic year that St. Gregory’s students were forbidden to visit
the SSJ’s property and SSJ members were forbidden to visit St. Gregory’s
Academy. The accounts of continued misconduct by the SSJ in Shohola will be set
forth in a separate letter. Much has already been written and can be found at
I pray the above will assist those who are earnestly seeking to know the truth
in this matter, especially the parents of boys who had contact with the Society
of St. John. Anyone who would like to speak with me about these matters need
only contact me at the address and number given below.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
College of St. Justin Martyr
142 Market Road
Greeley, PA 18425