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Former St. Xavier priest credibly accused of 'psychological sexual abuse,' school says

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-22 17:07:01-05

A retired St. Xavier priest who served in the archdiocese for 49 years has been credibly accused of “psychological sexual abuse” of students in the early ’90s, the school announced Friday night.

According to a letter sent to students and parents, the school learned about allegations against the Rev. Ed Pigott in late 2018, shortly after publishing a list of Jesuit priests credibly accused of sexual abuse and inviting unheard victims to reach out.

The alleged incidents happened between 1992 and 1994.

The Cincinnati Archdiocese and Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office were notified shortly after the school was, and Pigott was removed from his duties at St. Xavier Dec. 19, 2018. He had been there since 1969.

According to the school, an independent investigation found that the claims of Pigott’s abuse were “established” — a designation reserved for situations in which, per St. Xavier’s letter, “there is a reasonable certainty that the accusation is true.”

The letter did not elaborate on the nature of Pigott’s alleged behavior, nor did it define the term "psychological sexual abuse."

“We are committed to a culture of safety and protection for the care of all members of our community, especially our precious children, among God's greatest gifts,” school president Tim Reilly wrote. “Our policy and practice for any accusation is to cooperate fully with law enforcement, the appropriate child protective agency, the U.S. Midwest Province and the Cincinnati Archdiocese in pursuing justice also to provide pastoral, ministerial care to the victim. Nothing is more important than the well-being of our students.”

Piggott’s name has been added to the list of credibly accused Jesuits. He has not been charged with a crime.

Reilly encouraged anyone who had ever felt victimized by a Jesuit or St. Xavier employee to contact him directly at treilly@stxavier.org, alert law enforcement and call Marjorie O’Dea, the Midwest Jesuits’ director of the office of safe environment, at 773-975-6876.