Former Chaminade priest on Long Island investigated for misconduct

ByCeFaan Kim WABC logo
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Priest of prestigious Long Island school suspended following allegations of sexual abuse
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CeFaan Kim has more from Mineola.

MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) -- A former president of the prestigious Chaminade High School in Mineola has been suspended following 'credible' allegations that he sexually abused a minor.

The allegations are several years old, and the accused priest, Father James Williams, has been living overseas for years. One alleged victim is now accusing the school of a cover-up.

"This happened in 2011, and then immediately after he goes to Rome. Without a word. And then they report it to the District Attorney after the statute of limitations had expired," said one student who wished to remain unidentified.

The allegations of sexual abuse in the all-boys Catholic school surfaced publicly on Friday afternoon.

A school spokesperson said in a statement, "after due considered, the allegations have been deemed credible." Then goes on to say a "vigorous thorough and comprehensive investigation was promptly launched when the allegations were made."

The former student who Eyewitness News spoke to says he is not surprised.

"When I saw the news this morning, I said 'you know, I wasn't crazy'. For the last how many years, I think he looks for, for lack of a better word, weak kids that were vulnerable. And I think that's what he did to me, but it never led to anything physical. I think he was looking for kids who were having a difficult time," said the student.

The statement says that Williams is no longer allowed to 'publicly function as a priest'. He resigned from his position as president of the school in 2011. A spokesperson for the Nassau County District Attorney's office says it is investigating, and a victim alleged misdemeanor sexual abuse by Williams in 2011.

In a statement the DA's spokesperson goes on to say "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, two years before the alleged abuse was reported by the diocese. Father Williams, at the time of the letter, was believed to be living in Rome, Italy."

The former student Eyewitness News spoke to says whenever he went into Father Williams' office, it was 'odd', saying Williams would ask very personal questions, creating uncomfortable situations.

"At the very first sign of resistance, he cut off all contact, and that was that," he said.

The District Attorney received another letter from a law firm representing Chaminade this month, detailing the same allegations. The DA then reached out to the victim again, but the victim still did not want to pursue the matter.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call (516) 571-3800.