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  • Scandal at St. John’s University: Corruption, Apostasy, and Death

    by Anne Hendershott

    st-johns

    Barraged by headlines like the New York Post’s “St. John’s Dean of Mean, Cecilia Chang, Commits Suicide,” most New Yorkers remain bewildered by the facts surrounding a sordid story of money, power and status seeking at St. John’s University.  Last October, The New York Times reported that Dr. Chang, a longtime Dean of the Institute of Asian Studies and the Vice President for International Relations at St. John’s University, was found dead of an apparent suicide inside her Queens home.  The dean’s suicide occurred a day after testifying in her own defense in a trial for embezzling more than $1 million from the university, stealing $250,000 from a Saudi prince to organize academic conferences that never occurred, using university credit cards to cover gambling losses at Connecticut casinos, and using international students as her personal servants in her home in exchange for tuition grants. 

    Sordid as this story is, it is really just a small part of a much larger scandal.  The release of an article in New York Magazine by Steve Fishman last month reveals information that is even more damaging to the reputation of St. John’s University.  Writing that Chang “took care of everyone she met, everyone she needed,” Fishman points out that those she took care of best included Fr. Donald Harrington, the president of St. John’s and Rob Wile, his young chief of staff.  Providing them with vacations at Point Grace hotel, Turks and Caicos, vacations at the Four Seasons, Hawaii, Rolex and Patek Phillippe watches, envelopes with $100 bills, custom suits from Modestos Limited and Sam’s Tailor, and cases of Ramey Chardonay, Chang knew exactly how to gain power on the Queens campus—and beyond.

    New York Daily News dean ChangAccording to Fishman, Chang arrived on the St. John’s campus in August, 1975 as “a 22-year old dynamo with a bachelor’s degree from Taiwan, her home and a grant that covered her tuition—a little ball of fire said one colleague.”  Smart enough to understand the status strivings of St. John’s University, Chang was able to convince administrators there that she was their ticket to attaining upward mobility by creating a new commitment to globalization in Asia.  Claiming that she had an “illustrious bloodline, which she claimed connected her to Chiang Kai-shek, a founder of modern Taiwan,” Chang wore mink or sable coats to campus as she completed her M.B.A in business and a few years later, a doctorate in education from Columbia.

    To understand her dramatic upward mobility, Fishman suggests that, “She was like a courtesan…She hovered over you.”  She carried a pad and took notes during conversations as if what her dinner partner said were too important to be forgotten.  Fishman also suggests that she convinced Fr. Joseph Cahill, the former president of St. John’s, that she would be the best one to direct the Asian Center as well as to be a fund-raiser who could best court the wealthy Taiwanese community.  Chang was only 23 at the time.

    When Fr. Harrington succeeded Fr. Cahill as president, Fishman suggests that Chang was a perfect fit with his upwardly mobile goals for St. John’s as a premier global university:   “growth was his goal, and unlike Cahill, he made diversity and inclusion his watchwords.”  Fishman said that Fr. Harrington used to boast that “most of our student body is not Catholic,” bragging that St. John’s students come from 122 countries.

    Soon after Fr. Harrington took over as president, Fishman points out that the Taiwanese government donated almost $700,000 to St. John’s.  In his testimony at her trial, Fr. Harrington said: “At that time, people thought Asia was the future.” According to articles on the St. John’s scandal published in The New York Times, the New York Post, and New York Magazine, Fr. Harrington and his young chief of staff were two of the primary recipients of Cecilia Chang’s largesse.

    By far the most damning of the reportage is the New York Magazine piece because the author, Steve Fishman, suggests that both Fr. Harrington, and Rob Wile, chief of staff to the president were central figures in the scandal involving Chang because they personally benefited from her fraudulent activities. In his testimony, Fr. Harrington admitted that Chang would give him envelopes filled with $100 dollar bills—for the poor.  He claimed that, “I have a drawer in my office, which I keep locked, where when people give me money for the poor, that’s where I put it.”  He also said he did not make a record nor even count the amounts of subsequent gifts he received from Chang over the years.  Claiming that he accepted the money in his auspices as a priest, he rationalized that “this was not connected to St. John’s.”

    Beyond the cash gifts, Fishman reported that Chang also treated Fr. Harrington to expensive trips to Asia every year or two.  She would book the St. John’s contingent including Harrington and his young chief of staff at the very best hotels—the Peninsula or the Regent, reserving the presidential suite for Harrington.  Harrington said he “protested the luxury—I just wasn’t real comfortable being who I am and how I am dressed going out of hotel like that.” 

    Fishman reported that Chang also provided President Harrington with suits from Modestos Limited and Sam’s Tailor, two of Hong Kong’s best tailors.  Rob Wile, who was described by Fishman as having “expensive tastes,” purchased three suits on one trip—$900 for one and two for $950.  He also purchased three shirts for $375—all of it paid for by Chang, who then passed the expense for the vacations and the clothing on to the university.  Chang also purchased expensive watches for the two.  During a June, 2008 trip, Fr. Harrington chose an Omega platinum Case Gent’s watch.  This, on top of the $5,000 Patek Philippe watch Chang had already bought for him.  Wile received a stainless steel Rolex Submariner.

    These are only a few of the long lists of gifts that Chang showered on her employers.  Wile, who testified before a Queens County grand jury and received state immunity for his testimony explained to investigators that “It was incredibly stupid, but Cecilia said, “Go ahead you deserve it,” and said it was all covered by donors.”  

    Chang treated herself well also.  According to The New York Times, a federal agent, Kenneth Hosey, testified at trial that Chang spent a great deal of time at Foxwoods Casino, where she would frequently call her office at St. John’s from a casino suite and request bank withdrawals just shy of $10,000, the amount at which financial institutions must report a transaction to the government. Hosey said that students would then come to Connecticut to deliver the money, and that Chang subsequently bought into casino games for the same amounts. 

    The Times also reported that Dr. Chang used donor money to pay $20,300 toward her son’s law school tuition and to buy him a car.  The university even paid for veterinary bills for her son’s small dog, which once bit a graduate student so severely that she required hospital treatment. 

    New York Daily News president HarringtonIn her defense, Chang protested that St. John’s gave her credit cards to spend money that she had raised in Taiwan and Hong Kong.  She accused Fr. Harrington of using her “to create money for them for their personal gain.”  According to Fishman, Chang believed that she had a special relationship with Fr. Harrington and his chief of staff.  When his Patek Philippe broke, she had it repaired (at a cost of $1,638) and when his chief of staff’s shirt cuffs were too wide, she had them fixed.  Things fell apart for Chang—and for St. John’s—on December 14, 2009 when a package from an anonymous sender arrived at the president’s office, containing receipts from what turned out to be a credit card that were different from the ones Chang had submitted. It was clear that Chang was spending much more than she was bringing in through her development efforts.  And, much of that over-spending was being spent on Fr. Harrington and his chief of staff.

    It was clear that Chang was going to be convicted—based partly on the testimony against her by Fr. Harrington and Wile.  She must have known that.  But, this story is far from over.  The release of the Fishman article in New York Magazine earlier this month brought such anger from the St. John’s community that Fr. Harrington responded on March 8, 2013 in a: “Statement from Fr. Harrington Concerning Cecilia Chang Update.”   Claiming that he cannot comment on the media allegations, Fr. Harrington wrote, “There is a lot that I would like to say in connection with the issues that have been raised.  However, in response to the new reports, the Board of Trustees, with my full support, has engaged Frank Wohl of the law firm Lankler, Siffert and Wohl to review certain issues and provide advice going forward.”

    Fr. Harrington has tried to reassure the university community that the institution’s investigation revealed that Cecilia Chang acted alone in her fraudulent activity. Pledging  “full cooperation and support to the various investigators including the Queens District Attorney, the US Attorney, the FBI, and the IRS,” Fr. Harrington concluded his statement by writing that, “We have full confidence in the comprehensive investigations that were done by each of those law enforcement agencies, which found that the wrongdoing was limited to Cecilia Chang.”

    The Real Scandal at St. John’s
    While the media have focused on the financial improprieties surrounding Cecilia Chang, the disgraced dean at the center of corruption charges at the University, the real story of money, power, and status at St. John’s goes far beyond Ms. Chang.   

    In Fishman’s New York Magazine article, entitled “St. John’s Officials Took Secret Loans,” he claims that Rob Wile, the chief of staff to the president of St. John’s University, who was a central figure in the scandal involving Chang (having received immunity from prosecution to testify against Chang in her trial), also benefited from no-interest loans from others connected to the university.  Fishman reported that Wile solicited—and received—a $100,000 loan from the former chairman of the St. John’s Board of Trustees, and an $80,000 loan from a contractor who did work for the university.  Fishman also claims that Wile did not disclose these loans to university officials. 

    Fishman claims that Wile used the loan from the former board chairman to help fund a real estate venture he had engaged in with university president Fr. Harrington. In 2006, GRH Group LLC, a partnership of Wile and Fr. Harrington, bought a property in the Jersey shore town of Rumson. The home was torn down, rebuilt using the funds from the loan he received, and sold for a profit of $200,000.  According to Fishman, the partnership was not disclosed.  

    This was not the last time Wile received interest free loans.  In 2008, Fr. Harrington recommended Wile for another interest-free loan, this one for $250,000. This loan was approved by the audit committee. But, St. John’s University’s IRS 990 reporting form for 2010, indicates that Robert Wile had received a loan of $350,000—but had only paid back $100,000 still owing a balance of $250,000 in 2010.  By 2012, Wile still had not paid the $80,000 interest free loan he received six years earlier.

    It is difficult for most of us to understand why Wile needed all of these loans.  According to Guidestar.com, in 2008, he was already making more than $360,000 a year. And, by 2010, Wile was the second highest paid individual at the university—with a salary of more than $500,000—second only to the basketball coach.  According to St. John’s IRS reports in 2010—the last year Guidestar lists on its site—Wile earned a base salary of $325,960, a bonus of $25,000, as well as $150,000 in “other” compensation, deferred compensation of $7,000, and non-taxable benefits of $41,131 for a total yearly compensation package of $549,368. This salary reflected a raise of almost $200,000 over his compensation package of $362,638 in 2008.

    The huge raise likely reflects the fact that Wile’s duties expanded in 2009, when Fr. Harrington promoted him from his position as his chief of staff, to a position as senior vice president for institutional development and chief of staff.  As senior vice president, Wile is a member of the president’s cabinet and oversees all athletics, development and alumni relations activities at the university.  This was quite an important position for a young man just 10 years out of college.  But, Wile had been hand-picked by Fr. Harrington to work in the president’s office shortly after his graduation from St. John’s in 1999.   He had risen rapidly—being promoted to serve as Fr. Harrington’s chief of staff to the president since 2004—only five years after graduation.

    Wile is not the only young man who was chosen for greatness by Fr. Harrington.  James Pellow was an undergraduate at Niagara University (a Vincentian university like St. John’s) at the same time Fr. Harrington was working there. According to reports by students who knew them, Fr. Harrington was a priest in residence in the Niagara dormitories when Pellow lived there. Graduating in 1983 with an undergraduate degree in business, and an MBA in 1986, Pellow spent a few years working as an accountant for Coopers and Lybrand in Boston, and as a municipal bond trader with Chapdelaine and Company in New York City before arriving at St. John’s in 1991. Pellow became so indispensable to St. John’s that by the time he left the university twenty years later, he was the executive vice president and chief operating officer receiving a salary and benefits totaling $752,507.

    Like Wile, Pellow also received no-interest loans.  According to the 2009 IRS 990 form, a loan of $300,000 was made to Pellow.  This loan was declared to the IRS the same year that Pellow made a total compensation package of $745,445. A year later, in 2010, Pellow made $448,268 in base salary, $150,000 in bonus compensation, $90,282 in “other” compensation, $16,500 in deferred compensation and $47,457 in non-taxable benefits for a total compensation package of $752,507 for the year. Pellow also declared on the IRS form that he served as a director on one other board.  According to Forbes, Pellow has served as a director of SAVVIS, Inc, where in 2010, he earned $75,000 in fees, $59,987 in stock awards for a total compensation package of $134,987.  This was in addition to the more than $750,000 from St. John’s.  Forbes also lists Pellow as a director at Cryo-Cell International, Inc. 

    In an effort to explain these compensation packages to the IRS, St. John’s reported in their Form 990 Part VI, Section B filing, that “an external consultant is contracted to compile survey data from educational, not-for-profit and peer institutions as well as information on other Form 990s to establish comparable compensation ranges.”  But, an analysis done for Crisis readers of the compensation packages awarded to senior administrators at Catholic peer institutions reveals that salaries and bonuses given to Wile and Pellow are much higher than those given to senior administrators at similar Catholic universities. For example, DePaul University, a Chicago university with annual revenues of $667,935,545 (as reported to the IRS in 2011) is a peer to St. John’s University that reported annual revenues of $634,474,012 to the IRS in 2011. Yet, DePaul’s Chief of Staff/Vice President of Planning and Presidential Administration earned a total compensation of $218,325—less than half of Wile’s $549,368 compensation package, and a fraction of Pellow’s 2009 compensation package of $752,507.  At Fordham, another peer institution (with annual revenues of $800,316,061 as reported to the IRS in 2011), there is not a single senior administrator—including the provost himself—whose compensation comes close to that awarded to Pellow and Wile.  Likewise, Pellow and Wile’s compensation exceeds the compensation paid to the Provost, the Sr. VP for Advancement, the Sr. VP for Administrative Services, the Sr. VP for Finance and CFO, the Sr. VP for Capital Planning, and the Sr. VP, General Counsel at Loyola University of Chicago (with annual revenues of $605,865,191 as reported to the IRS in 2011). And, at St. Louis University (with annual revenues of $829,961,737 as reported to the IRS in 2011), there is one administrator (VP of Medical Affairs) who has a larger compensation package than Wile.  Most senior administrators at SLU are paid much less than the compensation paid at St. John’s to Wile and Pellow.    

    The scandal at St. John’s will continue as long as questions about conflict of interest, undisclosed loans, and excessive compensation remain.  Yet, the saddest part of this story is what can happen to a Catholic university when strivings for status through globalization, diversity, or inclusion trump the need to remain faithful to a strong Catholic identity.  Fr. Harrington’s boastfulness over the fact that “most of our student body is not Catholic,” is actually the real scandal here because it is a betrayal of the commitment that Catholics—many of them Irish and Italian immigrants—made to build St. John’s University.  These Catholics constitute a kind of “community of memory” that reminds us all that the lack of attention to the original mission of St. John’s as a Catholic university designed to provide a Catholic education opened the door to the rest.

    This founding mission is still articulated on the St. John’s website:  

    We commit ourselves to create a climate patterned on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ as embodied in the traditions and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Our community which comprises members of many faiths, strives for an openness which is “wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). 

    Editor’s note: The photos above depict Dean Chang and  President Harrington. (Photo credit: New York Daily News.)

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • Edward Peitler

      #1 No surprises here. It’s exactly what is expected to happen when a university (or any other Catholic institution for that matter) ceases living “in the Spirit” and operates in “the world, the flesh and the devil.”

      #2 The only thing that IS surprising about this story is that it does NOT include revelation about homosexual priests being involved in the sexual abuse of adolescent males. But my guess is that all that which is to be disclosed has not yet come to light.

      • tom

        In fairness, the Church has cleaned up the plague of homosexual priest and adolescent males, which peaked from the 1960′s to the 1980′s. What’s left are litigants looking for deep pockets.

        • http://www.facebook.com/anne.hendershott Anne Hendershott

          There was one case a few years ago at St. John’s of a priest (Fr. Plock) who was sending pornographic pictures of himself to someone he thought was a 13 year old boy. The “boy” turned out to be an undercover FBI agent and Fr. Plock was swept up in the sting. The pictures–including video–were taken in a bathroom within the dormitories of St. John’s University. I did not want to add the story to this one – seemed like there was enough to deal with already.

          http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/st-john-university-priest-accused-sending-homemade-smut-teen-article-1.302220

          • Martin Garcia

            Are the key players still at the University. Are they still employed there. It would seem that they should be removed as soon as possible. Any update on this? What an outrage if they still hold their possitions of employment especiall Rob Wile

            • S green

              Pellow is now running CIEE a study abroad company. One wonders how much they know about all of this? Will these three individuals be investigated?

          • tom

            That was 4.5 years ago, confirming my point. Thank God, the priest scandal isn’t as bad as the public school pedophilia scandals that are ongoing. Just last week, a Queens public school teacher was charged with an 8 month criminal relationship with a 13 year old. A fine article, by the way. Thanks

        • schmenz

          Tom,

          It would be naive to think that the homosexual infestation of the Church has been cleaned up. Like Pope St Pius X’s valiant but ultimately futile attempts to rid the Church of the Modernists in the early 1900s, the homosexuals will just get much better at hiding, as the Modernists did. There is also the very real problem of homosexual blackmail…indeed I can think of no other reason why such execrable men as Weakland, Gumbleton, Wuerl and others are still allowed to run around masquerading as Catholic bishops. Bad men are being protected by someone, for some reason and these days, tragically, it is not hard to figure out why.

          • tom

            I’m sure there is still a “Lavender Mafia” but see fewer criminal charges and better seminaries and seminarians. Let’s all be on alert. Just as Christ chose Iscariot, there’ll be others down the road.

          • dbwheeler

            images of cockroaches and bed bugs come to mind when you speak of ‘hiding’ when the light is shined on these vermin. And why do these ‘men’ fear blackmail when practically all the men in this country are homosexuals it would seem and are approved by that fellow in Washington posing as president and his minions…I don’t think these people fear anything but missing a meal.

      • cestusdei

        What exactly were the duties of the “young” chief of staff for which he was paid half a million a year?

    • Scott Waddell

      After Pope Francis has gotten a handle on the curia, he ought to investigate Catholic universities like the LCWR.

      • tom

        If these gals wee ordered into the desert for 40 days…they’d head to Vegas.

    • tom

      Wow, Cardinal Dolan needs to clean house there, and use his influence with Pope Francis, a Jesuit, to clean house at the heretical University of Fordham. Each board of Trustees needs a C.P.A. and a career prosecutor in place for starters. I guess if Chang could get the lumber, Harrington could make a novena!

      • http://bigpulpit.com/ Tito Edwards

        LOL, thanks Tom for the laugh.

        • tom

          Yeah, Timothy Cardinal Weakling is no Cardinal Hayes, but perhaps he’ll be given the strength to prevail. We hope.

      • schmenz

        I agree with Tito, Tom. Surely you don’t imagine for a moment that Cardinal Dolan will do anything at all to clean house. His record in Milwaukee was rather disgusting on that score and, so far, his record in NYC is worse.

      • A M

        I think we could use a large dose of house cleaning just about everywhere that claims the label “Catholic.” For beginners, if they’re not really, they should have to change their label.

      • James K.

        St. John’s is actually located in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

        • tom

          Good point, though the buck stops with the NYC Cardinal.

      • dbwheeler

        Oh, yes, Card.Dolan, who invited obama to a Catholic fundraiser dinner and gave him lots of photo ops before a crucial election, and the man who’s chums with a pro abort adulterous governor, and gave the benediction and homily at an openly homosexual church in NYC etc, I’m sure he’s really just sooo upset, dahling, he’s sure to clean up this naughty mess.

    • hombre111

      Whew. Sad, sad, sad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668350880 Gabriel Espinosa

      The real scandal here is that Harrington is STILL a priest. Should have been defrocked the moment all this came to light as he has admitted he accepted all these “gifts” although they allegedly (uhuh) made him “uncomfortable.” What sort of a priest boasts proudly that the majority of the student body at a Catholic university is not Catholic? What an ass.

      I do have a bone to pick with the author of this story though. Why are you attempting to ignite a story where there isn’t one or where there probably isn’t one? Why do you keep stressing the “youth” of the chief of staff dude? That casts a bad light on you as a person.

    • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

      Oh my goodness. That’s a messed up situation. Prayers for everyone involved and everyone hurt. :(

    • Alecto

      Other than the shocking, horrific despair and tragedy of suicide, it is an obvious conclusion that donors will question the value of Catholic education and the charitable spirit of giving we desperately need now more may diminish.

      Coincidentally, I just received and have been reading Sophia Institute’s excellent reissue of “How to Resist Temptation”. Perhaps that ought to be issued gratis to the senior staff of every Catholic institution? I sincerely hope that I am never, ever presented with this kind of temptation, and if ever I should be, that the good God Almighty give me the grace to resist.

    • Matthew

      This article is clearly mis-labeled. For a thing to be a “scandal” it must be unexpected and shocking. I continues to baffle me how anyone can be scandalized by anything that a Jesuit school does. While I can think of a handful of individual good Jesuits, I can list innumerable institutions and groups that are deeply opposed to anything Catholic. Anyone see the recent story that Gonzaga University has banned the Knights of Columbus from campus based on the fact that you have to be a Catholic to join the group?

      • Crisiseditor

        St. John’s University is run by the Vincentians, not the Jesuits. Unfortunately, the Society of Jesus does not have a monopoly on scandal. If they did, it would be a lot easier for parents to find orthodox Catholic schools for their college-bound teenagers.

        • Joan

          There are about six or seven “orthodox” Catholic schools in the nation. None of them Jesuit of course. Look carefully before you let your kids choose a college. A few years ago someone put together a guidebook, it probably includes more that the 6 or 7 I have in mind (or else they could hardly fill and sell a book), but it helps to avoid the bad ones.

      • Alecto

        Is that true? A Catholic university banned a Catholic organization because membership is limited to Catholics? Didn’t we used to teach children to find and match similar objects? Or, find the object which doesn’t belong? This is inclusiveness raised to Orwellian absurdity, not that anyone reads Animal Farm or 1984 at these schools. I doubt they’d understand the reference!

        • tom

          Yeah, Gonzaga (Jesuit) won’t let the Knights of Columbus on campus.

    • Alphonsus_Jr

      Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

    • Pingback: Flannery O'Connor - Big Pulpit

    • Ann

      For Pete’s sake, please answer the 2 obvious questions instead of baiting us. 1. “young chief of staff” is repeated a gazillion times, just say the man’s age! 22, 35, why do you keep stressing his “youth”? 2. You seem to imply strongly that Harrington and Wile are lovers, as in homosexual partners. Is that what you are saying? This article reads like a check stand tabloid, lots of innuendo just shy of facts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/anne.hendershott Anne Hendershott

        I am sorry if the story I wrote frustrated you – I really did not mean to imply that they were lovers. Rob Wile is married – as is the other young man. I only stressed their youth because I was so astounded that such a young man as Rob Wile – was making over 300,000 a year as chief of staff–just five years after he graduated with an undergraduate degree from college. He was in his early 20s – no graduate degree, no experience. That is why I stressed his youth. I am sorry if I seemed to imply such a thing. It was not intentional.

        • James K.

          The part about “Providing them with vacations” particularly misled me – I originally assumed it meant vacations together.

          • http://www.facebook.com/anne.hendershott Anne Hendershott

            I know this is the incendiary part but Fr. Harrington and Wile did go on vacations together – According to Fishman, one time Wile brought along his girlfriend who was then an undergraduate – She is now his wife.

        • MainlineP

          As an SJU alum, and lawyer, it’s a good thing for this blog and your own legal liability, that you clarified. In fact, if it is possible on a technical level, I’d suggest an addendum printed at the end of the article by you. I certainly assumed you were implying they were lovers or had some sort of close personal relationship beyond money and power. The story is depressing enough. It didn’t need to be “jazzed up”, although throwing in it’s all “Dah ghayz” fault will never hurt you with the crowd on this blog.

          • John200

            I don’t really think you are a lawyer, but I do think your threats are on the thinnest possible ground.

            Good luck on selling your misreading of plain English. The plain sense of the author’s words makes it unsalable, even to yourself.

    • Steve Culy

      Unfortunately, my son graduated from St. John’s. He is now an athiest. Priests on campus? Never saw one. Holy Days of Obligation? Chapel closed. But hey, the basketball team is always decent, right? What a sad commentary on our “Katholyc” institutions. Want your kid to get a REAL Catholic education? Franciscan University of Steubenville. My daughter loves the place, she’s still got her Faith (thank God!) and is even considering Religious Life. (They say there are only three ways to leave Stuebie: married; Priest; or consecrated religious!)

      • dbwheeler

        So sorry about your son, Steve. I donate money and pray for Cardinal Newman Society to help fight these non-Catholic cesspools and I highly recommend them as a worthy cause that needs our help financially and with our prayers.

      • Theo

        Maybe your son became an atheist because he realized how cynical and hypocritical religion can cause some people to become. Before reading this blog, I’ve never seen so much homophobia in one place. What happened to the real message of Jesus, you know, loving your neighbor and all that jazz. I wouldn’t wish half of the vitriol that you people are spewing on the gay community on my worst enemy.

        Proud St. John’s Graduate and current Columbia Student

        • Augustus

          If the gay lobby would mind its own business there would be no need to discuss homosexuality at all except in the context of the larger moral collapse brought about by the sexual revolution. This site is reacting to pressure from the political left. You push, we push back. That’s politics. Name calling–like accusing your opponents of being homophobes–is part of politics too. The left always exhibits behavior it decries. Jesus would be surprised to learn that his message had nothing to do with sexual morality. If you think that love means doing whatever you want, then you are profoundly ignorant of Christianity. But you would not be the first nor the last.

    • DavidWerling

      Money, power, and… well, there’s a certain three-letter word left out here, but I guess we can all fill in that blank. Where there’s smoke, or an over-compensation of smoke, there’s fire.

      • Tom Maldez

        One has to wonder exactly what made these young men so indispensable to Fr. Harrington. What services did they perform when the boss called ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

      No sense of holiness, then no sense of virtue. No sense of virtue, then no sense of ordinary propriety. No sense of ordinary propriety, then chaos.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ivan-Kamenski/100002310536202 Ivan Kamenski

      St. Johns University: one of the many fruits of Vatican II. The most important concern for the Church right now is that the SSPX sign a “preamble” that they will never question a jot or tiddle of the Vatican II documents. Clearly, that is a priority because the “fully regularized” institutions of the Church are so orthodox and such a resounding success.

    • A sinner

      I worked at St. John’s many years ago. There were many fine priests, sisters and lay people. This is very sad story of arrogance AND stupidity. I can only imagine how all the students and unemployed graduates struggling to pay off their megaloans feel about those salaries.

    • Simon G

      It seems that Harrington and Wile are still working at St Johns but Pellow got out to run Council of Education Exchange, a reputable organization that does study abroad. Our org has a close relationship with CIEE – is this organization in for this type if corrupt behavior? We have watched as many top leaders at the company have left in Pellows first year…why? It would be a shame for CIEE to suffer for the past misdeeds of its top leader.

      • Raybland

        Does make me think about why/how Pellow got his role at CIEE. Simon G, maybe they know/suspect something about Pellow’s involvement in this scandal?? Or maybe he pushing all of the veterans out of the organization trying to surround himself with ‘yes men’ to pave the way for future financial shenanigans. . .Council should be deeply concerned about its reputation with this man leading it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Frances/1703966077 Mark Frances

      I have visited St. John’s on a number of occasions from the Midwest. I am a Midwest high school Vincentian product and always visit once a year over the last ten years around St. Patrick’s Day. I always went to Mass at the university chapel which is now a church on campus and is very beautiful. I always went to the athletic department to bring info on recruits from the Midwest. There was always an air of intrigue that I could not put my finger on. The Vincentians have always had a connection with Taiwan and have had a history of missionary work there. Edward Doheny who was involved in the “Teapot Dome scandal” under the Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, was a big supporter of the Vincentians. This is sad beyond belief.

    • http://www.facebook.com/victress.jenkins Victress Jenkins

      All Catholic colleges should undergo audits. The Land O Lakes agreement brought more than academic freedom, did it not?

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