Daniel O’Connell

Photograph taken from https://thehoya.com/decade-public-abuse-accusation-oconnell-lose-gu-emeritus-status/
NameDaniel C. O’ConnelJesuit
Date of Birth20/05/1928 
Date of Ordination06/18/1958 
Association with LUC1978-1990, 1998-2003 
Position at LUCProfessor of Psychology 
Date of incident, Location of Incident1960s 1983St. Louis University LUC Rome Center
Number of victims/accusationsAt least 2 victims 
Case statusSettled 
Status of IndividualDeceased12/21/2020

Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell was a highly accomplished Jesuit when he joined the ranks of Loyola University Chicago’s psychology department in 1978. He came from St. Louis University, where he had been president. O’Connell was born in 1928 in Sand Springs, Oklahoma and grew up in Dallas, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri. He joined the Jesuits in 1945 and received his priestly ordination in 1958 in Kansas. He spent his life in secondary and post-secondary education, becoming a professor of psychology at St. Louis University in 1966. He became president of the university in 1974.[1] When interviewed by the Georgetown University student newspaper The Hoya, O’Connell admitted that his relinquishing the position of president of St. Louis University and transfer to Loyola University Chicago happened because of sexual abuse allegations against him in St. Louis.[2] O’Connell had sexually abused a student at St. Louis University in the 1960s. The survivor sued O’Connell and the Missouri province of the Jesuits in 2012, and the case was settled for $200.000.[3] In 1983, when O’Connell was assigned to Loyola University Chicago’s Rome Center as a chaplain, he again abused a student, from the College of the Holy Cross.[4]

            O’Connell’s case is an outlier: His victims were adult female college students. This means Daniel O’Connell was not featured on the Jesuit’s list, because his victims were just over eighteen years old. He and the order were sued several times over these cases, first in 2003 by the woman he assaulted in Rome. The case was settled for $181.000, with obligation for the order to bar O’Connell from teaching. When this survivor learned in 2009 that the Jesuits had failed to uphold their end of the bargain, she sued the order and O’Connell again, earning her another settlement for $81.000. Then in 2016 the survivor from an earlier assault stepped forward and sued the order and O’Connell as well.[5] The Jesuit eventually lost his professor emeritus status from the various universities he had been affiliated with. He was however neither removed from public ministry nor from the Jesuit order. He passed away in 2020.

[1] “O’Connell, Daniel C. (Father),” Central & Southern Province, accessed April 29, 2022, https://www.jesuitscentralsouthern.org/memoriam/oconnell-daniel-c-father/.

[2] “Decade After Public Abuse Accusation, O’Connell Loses GU Emeritus Status,” March 15, 2019, https://thehoya.com/decade-public-abuse-accusation-oconnell-lose-gu-emeritus-status/.

[3] Tony Messenger, “Messenger: A Priest, a President, a Predator,” STLtoday.com, accessed April 29, 2022, https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/tony-messenger/messenger-a-priest-a-president-a-predator/article_d866cd78-555b-5988-ae16-f16a1de828f4.html.

[4] “Jane Doe MB Suit | PDF | Lawsuit | Legal Disputes,” Scribd, accessed April 29, 2022, https://www.scribd.com/document/401766394/Jane-Doe-MB-Suit.

[5] “Decade After Public Abuse Accusation, O’Connell Loses GU Emeritus Status.”