John J. Powell

John J. Powell, image from Bishop Accountability
NameJohn J. PowellJesuit
Date of Birth1925 
Date of Ordination1956 
Association with LUC1947-1957, 1960-2001 
Position at LUCUndergraduate studies, graduate studies, professor of theology 
Date of incident, Location of Incident1963St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame University, IN – retreat organizer
 1966-1967Winnetka, IL
 1967Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
 1967Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach, FL – retreat organizer
Number of victims/accusationsAt least 9 individual victims 
Case statusCharged, settled 
Status of IndividualDeceased9/24/2009

John Powell was a popular college instructor of theology and best-selling author of spiritual self-help books on marriage and inter-personal relationships published between the 1960s and 1990s. He was affiliated with Loyola University Chicago from 1960 until his retirement in 1996 and beyond into the 2000s. Powell began teaching at Baden Springs College, a Jesuit seminary that was at the time part of Loyola. He then taught at Loyola University Chicago’s Bellarmine School for Theology and later at the university’s department of theology from 1965 to 1996 as an instructor.

Powell has been credibly accused of sexually abusing 7 minor girls over two decades beginning in 1963. The first accusation against him was made in 2003, the most recent in 2020.

The Jesuits and the administration of Loyola University Chicago were aware of Powell’s history of sexual abuse at least as early as 1983. Their reaction was to ignore the accusations and to forward letters sent to the administration accusing Powell of sexual abuse to the priest himself.

John Powell and the Jesuit order were Charged in two lawsuits, both settled in 2005.

John Powell passed away in 2009.