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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Former Gonzaga Prep Jesuit priest added to list of credibly accused abusers

Richard Perry has been assigned to the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center since October while allegations of sexual abuse are investigated. The center in Los Gatos, Calif., is shown Nov. 19, 2018.  (Emily Schwing)

A Jesuit priest assigned to Gonzaga Preparatory School for two periods in the 1960s and ’70s has been added to a list of Catholic clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Richard Perry has been assigned to the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in California since October, as provincial authorities investigated an allegation of sexual abuse by an adult female at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Missoula. During that investigation, a second credible allegation was made regarding abuse against a female student at Seattle Preparatory School in the late 1970s and early ’80s, according to a statement from Jesuits West.

Perry had been assigned to Gonzaga Prep from 1964 to 1967 and again from 1971 through 1976, when he left for Seattle Preparatory, according to records from Jesuit West.

Both of the allegations against Perry came from female victims. Gonzaga Preparatory did not permit female students until 1975.

Michael Dougherty, president of Gonaga Prep, said he was notified directly of the credible allegations against Perry by the province last week.

The school has published a statement on its website listing Perry’s dates of service at the school, and the full statement on the investigation by Jesuits West.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to this victim, and all of the other victims of clergy abuse,” the statement reads. “As always, we remain vigilant in our work to ensure that Gonzaga Prep is a safe environment, most especially for our students.”

Dougherty said the school is handling notification of alumni on a case-by-case basis, as new names are published by the church following an investigation process that seeks to determine whether claims of abuse are credible. As a result of the investigation, Perry will be permanently removed from public ministry and will be required to live under a safety plan limiting access to visitors and technology at the facility in California, according to Jesuits West.

Other instructors at Gonzaga Prep have been included on the list of credibly accused priests, compiled by the Jesuits West province in December 2018 with names that were made public as part of bankruptcy filings or by dioceses.

In addition, the province is now investigating and reviewing cases, as with Perry, by an independent panel that includes experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement and human resources.

The list is not exhaustive, the province cautions, and inclusion “does not imply that the claims are true and correct or that the accused individual has been found guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims.”

The Spokane Diocese went through its own bankruptcy proceedings following revelations of abuse that came to light following reports in Boston in 2002.