Four Jesuit priests with ties to Creighton University have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, but not during their time at the Omaha Catholic university.

The Chicago-based Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus identified the four to The World-Herald in advance of the Monday release of a larger list of Jesuits who the order believes sexually abused minors.

The Midwest Province governs Jesuits in 12 states including Nebraska and Iowa.

Mike McGrath, a province spokesman, said in an interview that a review of records showed the following four priests had “established allegations” and later had roles at Creighton:

  • The Rev. Perry Robinson lived on Creighton’s campus for nearly 30 years, from 1989 until last month, and worked at both the old St. Joseph Hospital on North 30th Street and St. Gerald Catholic Church in Ralston. Creighton said he worked at the hospital in the 1990s and at St. Gerald until 2011.

Robinson already had been named by the Archdiocese of Omaha and Creighton University.

He was sent to Creighton after “inappropriate” photos were found in the darkroom of Marquette High School in Milwaukee, McGrath said. These photos involved young men, not minors.

There was also a separate allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor against Robinson, McGrath said.

  • J. Michael Cannon was accused in 2002 of abuse that occurred in Wisconsin in 1967-71. He was at Creighton in 1975-79 and was dismissed from the Jesuits in 1997. His whereabouts are unknown.
  • Burton Fraser, a military chaplain who died in 1971, was accused in 2005 of abuse that occurred in the 1950s.
  • Thomas McShane, who taught physics at Creighton from 1963 to 2013 and died in October, was accused in 2001 of abuse that occurred in 1950 in South Dakota.

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It is not clear whether other Jesuits with abuse claims against them and who are governed by other regional provinces in the United States or other countries might have spent time at Creighton.

The Rev. Brian Paulson, Midwest Jesuits provincial, said in August following a report of clergy abuse out of Pennsylvania that the new revelations outrage and sadden him.

“The collective sins of the institutional church and her servants — including Jesuits — cast a heavy shadow on the People of God and our world today,” he wrote in an Aug. 21 letter.

Paulson said then that no Jesuit with an “established allegation” of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult could remain in public ministry and that they would face permanent removal from ministry and possible criminal legal action.

“Established allegations” are those that hold “a reasonable certainty” of truth, McGrath said. Criteria include firsthand reporting by a survivor; the number of allegations made; possible corroborating testimony by others; whether the accused Jesuit admitted to alleged abuse; and, when available, results of criminal proceedings.

McGrath said the order is “gravely sorry” for the abuse and how it was handled in the past, which he said was based on a faulty understanding that abusers could be rehabilitated and safely returned to ministry. He said the Catholic Church handles abuse allegations “very differently” since the issue first exploded into the public consciousness in 2002. The Catholic Church that year instituted reforms meant to weed out past abusers, prevent future abuse and help bring allegations to light. Church officials have said many of the abuse cases predate 2002.

“Now we know better,” he said. “Jesuits have a zero-tolerance policy regarding instances of inappropriate conduct between a Jesuit and a minor.”

But the revelations of abuse and cover-up — laid out by a grand jury examining 70 years of cases in most of Pennsylvania — are raising questions about the extent of the scandal and whether and to what degree the 2002 reforms changed things.

Some states, including Nebraska, are requiring Catholic dioceses to open their files. And some orders, like the Jesuits, are releasing names.

On Nov. 30, the Omaha Archdiocese published 38 names of clergymen — most of them priests — who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor over the past 40 years in the 23-county archdiocese. The archdiocese later said that 100 additional people — clergymen, nuns, lay staff — were accused of sexual abuse or impropriety, but those names weren’t published for a host of reasons ranging from an inability to substantiate allegations to claims that involved adults, not minors.

Also on Nov. 30, Creighton Prep sent a public notice naming Jesuit priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. They include the Rev. Daniel Kenney and the late Rev. Willard Dressel, who died in 2007.

In a press release sent Friday evening, Prep officials identified another priest who will be included in Monday’s release of names.

The Rev. Thomas R. Haller, who served at Prep from 1955 to 1980 and is now deceased, had an established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. The victim was not a Creighton Prep student. Haller was dismissed from the Jesuits in 1982 and laicized in 1983.

In addition, the Rev. Jim Sinnerud was recently suspended from Prep related to an allegation of sexual misconduct from before he arrived at Prep in 1984. That allegation remains under investigation and has not been substantiated, the Rev. Tom Neitzke, Prep’s president, has said.

Creighton University’s Nov. 30 letter made specific mention of Robinson.

A letter sent by the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, Creighton’s president, described Robinson’s role at Creighton as minimal, saying the accusations did not relate to his work at the hospital and that he had no other duties at Creighton.

He did live at the Jesuit residence on campus.

This is likely not the end of the revelations as church officials have said the list of accused clergy could evolve if new victims come forward. McGrath declined to say how many Jesuits are on the list coming out Monday.

Clergy named in Archdiocese of Omaha's report

The names of those in the Archdiocese of Omaha's report on clergy who it says had been credibly accused of misconduct or abuse with minors since 1978. Five clergy — John Fiala, Deacon Emilio Morales Jordan, Francis Nigli, Andrew Syring and Deacon Duane Thome — were named in claims that came after 2002. Names link to World-Herald coverage when applicable. Source: report.archomaha.org

Name Parishes served
John Fiala Papillion St. Columbkille, Norfolk Sacred Heart, Omaha St. Joan of Arc, Omaha St. Peter, Omaha Christ the King, Spencer St. Mary, Wisner St. Joseph, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.
Deacon Emilio Morales Jordan No parishes listed
Francis Nigli Omaha St. Vincent de Paul, Papillion St. Columbkille, O'Neill St. Patrick; Amelia St. Joseph, Omaha St. Wenceslaus.
Andrew Syring Schuyler Divine Mercy, Omaha St. Bernard, Omaha. St. Wenceslaus, West Point St. Mary; Monterey, St. Boniface; Aloys, St. Aloysius; St. Charles, St. Anthony.
Deacon Duane Thome No parishes listed
Robert Allgaier Norfolk Sacred Heart, Ralston St. Gerald
Richard Arkfeld Omaha St. Rose, Atkinson St. Joseph, Omaha Holy Cross, Clyde St. Patrick, Lynch Assumption; Niobrara, St. William, Ewing St. Peter of Alcantara, Randolph St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Charles St. Anthony, Coleridge St. Michael; Belden St. Mary, Newcastle St. Peter; Ponca St. Joseph
John Buckson Omaha Our Lady of Guadalupe, Omaha St. Francis of Assisi, Omaha St. Agnes, Omaha Our Lady of Guadalupe, Schuyler St. Augustine
Donald Cleary Omaha Holy Cross, Omaha Christ the King, Omaha St. Peter, Omaha St. Patrick, O'Neill St. Patrick, Fordyce St. John; Constance St. Joseph, Wayne St. Mary, Fullerton St. Peter; Clarks, St. Peter, North Bend St. Charles Borromeo; Snyder, St. Leo the Great, Omaha St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Franklin Dvorak Norfolk Sacred Heart, O'Neill St. Patrick, Spencer St. Mary, Cleridge St. Michael; Mission of Belden, Hartington Holy Trinity, Omaha St. Wencesalus, Omaha St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
John Feeney (Extern) No parishes listed
Joseph Finch Omaha Our Lady of Lourdes, Boys Town Immaculate Conception (Dowd Chapel), Archdiocese of the Military Services, Diocese of Albany
James Gaughan (Extern) Omaha St. Pius X, Hartington Holy Trinity, Bellevue St. Bernadette, Omaha St. Thomas More, Duncan St. Stanislaus, Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica.
Gill, Edward Omaha St. Peter, Coleridge St. Michael, Norfolk Sacred Heart, Omaha St. Agnes, Plainview St. Paul, Butte Sts. Peter & Paul, Madison St. Leonard, Atkinson St. Joseph, Central City St. Michael Stanton St. Peter, Osmond St. Mary of the Seven Dolors, St. Edward St. Edward
Tom Glennon (SSC) No parishes listed.
Joseph Henry (OAR) No parishes listed
Daniel Herek Omaha Assumption, Omaha Christ the King, Omaha St. Joan of Arc, Omaha Mary Our Queen, Omaha St. Peter, Omaha St. Bernard, Coleridge St. Michael, Belden St. Mary, Beemer Holy Cross, Omaha St. Ann, Omaha St. Richard.
Joseph Hiepvan Ho (Extern) No parishes listed.
Michael Kelly Elgin St. Boniface, Omaha St. Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha St. Peter, Randolph St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Battle Creek St. Patrick, Neligh St. Francis of Assisi, Clearwater St. Theresa of Avila, Laurel St. Mary, Genoa St. Rose of Lima, Lyons St. Joseph.
Daniel Kenney (SJ) No parishes listed.
Jay Kruse Fremont St. Patrick, Omaha Roncalli High School, Omaha St. Pius X, Wynot Sacred Heart; St. James, St. Philip & James, Cedar Catholic High School, Ewing St. Peter of Alcantara; Deloit Township St. John, Pope John XXIII High School, Verdigre St. Wenceslaus, Niobrara St. William, O'Neill St. Patrick, Amelia St. Joseph.
Larry Toms Kulangara (SSP) No parishes listed
Duane Lukes Omaha St. Stanislaus, Dodge St. Wenceslaus, Omaha St. Pius X, Lindsay Holy Family, Omaha St. Ann, Norfolk Sacred Heart, Niobrara St. William, St. Edward St. Edward, Osmond St. Mary of the Seven Dolors, Norfolk Immaculata Monastery.
Aloysius McMahon Omaha St. Wencesalus, Boys Town Immaculate Conception (Dowd Chapel), Mission Work in Chile, Boys Town Immaculate Conception (Dowd Chapel), Rummel High School, Pierce St. Joseph, Mission Work in Peru, Wisner St. Joseph, Omaha St. Frances Cabrini, Omaha St. Joan of Arc, Omaha St. Peter, Mission Work in Ecuador
Mark Merkel Fremont St. Patrick, Omaha St. Cecilia Cathedral, O'Neill St. Patrick, West Point Central Catholic School, Beemer Holy Cross
Anthony Palmese (OAR) No parishes listed
Roland Peschel Dodge St. Wenceslaus, Creighton St. Ludger, Omaha St. Mary, Omaha St. Bernard, Omaha St. James, Omaha St. Margaret Mary, Randolph St. Jane Frances de Chantal, O'Neill St. Patrick, Amelia St. Joseph, Emmett Epiphany, Omaha St. Bernadette, Fremont St. Patrick, Olean Sacred Heart, Ralston St. Gerald
Anthony Petrusic Omaha Sts. Peter & Paul, Ryan High School, Omaha St. Catherine Hospital, Omaha, Notre Dame Convent, Omaha Sts. Peter & Paul, Omaha St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Croation Catholic Union of US & Canada
Deacon Tom Purnell No parishes listed
John Rizzo Omaha St. Ann, Omaha Holy Cross, Mission Work in Chile, Boys Town Immaculate Conception, Dixon St. Anne, Genoa St. Rose, Ponca St. Joseph, Waterbury Immaculate Conception, Menominee St. Boniface, Stanton St. Peter, Creighton St. Ludger, Clarks St. Peter, Omaha St. Peter, Omaha St. Ann
Perry Robinson (SJ) No parishes listed.
Al Salanitro Omaha St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Omaha Holy Cross, Laurel St. Mary, Dixon St. Anne, Blair St. Francis Borgia, Bellevue St. Bernadette
Thomas Sellentin Omaha St. Stanislaus, Elgin St. Boniface, Omaha St. Joan of Arc, West Point St. Mary, Lindsay Holy Family, Omaha Blessed Sacrament, Spencer St. Mary, Fullerton St. Peter, Menominee St. Boniface, Howells Sts. Peter & Paul and St. John, North Bend St. Charles Borromeo, Snyder St. Leo the Great
John Starostka Omaha St. Francis of Assisi, Creigthon St. Ludger, Omaha St. Philip Neri, Omaha St. Stanislaus, Platte Center St. Joseph, Newcastle St. Peter, Omaha St. Cecilia Cathedral, Cedar Rapids St. Anthony, Primrose St. Mary, Omaha St. Francis of Assisi
Robert Steinhausen Omaha Holy Cross, South Sioux City St. Michael, Spencer St. Mary, Norfolk Sacred Heart, Papillion St. Columbkille.
Patrick Henry Papillion St. Columbkille, Maryknoll Missions, South Sioux City St. Michael, Maryknoll Missions, Diocese of Cleveland
Deacon Robert Pickett No parishes listed
Jeff Zyla South Sioux City St. Michael, Omaha St. Leo, Petersburg St. John the Baptist, Raeville St. Bonaventure, Wisner St. Joseph, West Point Central Catholic High School, Aloys St. Aloysius

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erin.grace@owh.com, 402-444-1136

Metro columnist

Columnist Erin Grace has covered a variety of beats since she started at The World-Herald in 1998 — from education to City Hall and from the city's western suburbs to its inner-city neighborhoods. Follow her on Twitter @ErinGraceOWH. Phone: 402-444-1136.

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