Biden’s inauguration priest investigated in California

Biden's inauguration priest investigated in California

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA. – The Jesuit priest who presided over an inaugural Mass for US President Joe Biden is being investigated for unspecified allegations and is on leave from his post as president of the University of Santa Clara in Northern California, according to a press release from the college board.
Reverend Kevin O’Brien is said to have “exhibited behaviors in adult contexts, consisting primarily of conversation, which may be inconsistent with established Jesuit protocols and boundaries,” according to the statement by John M. Sobrato, the board chair.

O’Brien gave the service at St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral, one of Washington’s most important Catholic churches, in January for Biden, who is the country’s second Catholic president, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris, their families and elected officials before the dedication ceremony at the United States Capitol.

O’Brien also chaired services for Biden’s inaugurations as vice president.

The priest has known Biden’s family for about 15 years, according to the university. O’Brien was then serving at Georgetown University, another Jesuit college. O’Brien has been president of the University of Santa Clara since July 2019.

Sobrato’s statement, posted on the university’s website Monday, did not elaborate on the allegations against O’Brien but said administrators “are supporting those who have come forward to share their accounts.”

Sobrato said that while O’Brien is on leave, the priest will cooperate with the independent investigation, with the findings to be shared with the University of Santa Clara board. O’Brien did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tracey Primrose, spokesperson for the Jesuit Western Province, which is overseeing the investigation, did not give details of the investigations to The Mercury News.

“Jesuits are bound by a professional code of conduct, and the province is investigating allegations that might violate or compromise established boundaries,” Primrose told the newspaper.

Primrose did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’s request for comment Thursday night.

O’Brien joined the Society of Jesus in 1996, according to the university, and was ordained a priest in 2006.

Located in Silicon Valley, the Jesuit institution has an annual undergraduate enrollment of approximately 5,500 students. Ranked among the top 25 undergraduate schools in the country, the private university has a million dollar endowment and is made up of the governments of California. Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown among its alumni.


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