September 21, 2018
Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, announced that the Franciscan Friars TOR Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Diocese of Steubenville will share the files of a now deceased priest against whom an allegation of sexual misconduct from the 1990s was recently made.
On August 31, 2018, Father Sheridan announced that the University, with the support of its Board of Trustees, would undergo an outside review of its files pertaining to sexual misconduct by Husch Blackwell, LLP. A firm that specializes in Title IX and sexual abuse and violence, Husch Blackwell will determine if legal and reporting requirements were followed. The report will be delivered to the University’s Board of Trustees by January 2019.
On September 10, 2018, Franciscan University announced that a report had been made that gave reasonable cause to believe that Father Sam Tiesi, TOR, had made inappropriate sexual advances toward a female student in the early 1990s. Father Tiesi died in 2001.
To aid in the outside review of the University’s past actions by Husch Blackwell, both the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the religious order that founded and operates Franciscan University, and the Diocese of Steubenville committed to sharing their files pertaining to Father Tiesi’s years at Franciscan University.
Father Sheridan stated in a homily at Franciscan University on August 27, “On behalf Franciscan University and myself, I want to extend an apology to anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse or violence, especially those who have been subject to abuse by any member of the Franciscan University family, and I ask for your forgiveness. I also apologize for any way that we have failed to protect you or have not taken seriously any concerns you have voiced, and I again ask your forgiveness.”
Any person with information regarding violence or sexual misconduct, past or present at Franciscan University, is encouraged to make a report to John Pizzuti, Franciscan University’s Title IX/EEO coordinator, the Steubenville Police Department (740-282-5353), or anonymously through EthicsPoint.com (844-521-7816). Franciscan University stressed that all reports are taken seriously and investigated promptly, fairly, compassionately, and confidentially.