Father Kevin O’Brien, the Jesuit priest who presided over an inaugural Mass for President Joe Biden, has been put on administrative leave while his university investigates “impropriety”, according to a Santa Clara University statement.
According to the statement from by John Sobrato, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, The Rev. Kevin O’Brien allegedly “exhibited behaviors in adult settings, consisting primarily of conversations, which may be inconsistent with established Jesuit protocols and boundaries.”
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The NYPost reports: Sobrato’s statement did not specify the allegations against O’Brien but said the trustees “support those who came forward to share their accounts.”
He said that while O’Brien is on leave, the priest will be cooperating with the independent probe, with conclusions to be shared with the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees.
In January, O’Brien gave the service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle for Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris before the inauguration ceremony at the US Capitol.
He also presided over services for Biden’s inaugurations as vice president.
The priest — who has been president of Santa Clara University since July 2019 — has known the Biden family for about 15 years, according to the university. When he met the family, he was serving at Georgetown University, another Jesuit college.
O’Brien didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press.
Tracey Primrose, spokeswoman for the Jesuits West Province, which is overseeing the probe, told the Mercury News that “Jesuits are held to a professional code of conduct, and the Province investigates allegations that may violate or compromise established boundaries.”
The rep did not elaborate on the investigation.
“As with any organization, the Jesuits West Province has confidentiality practices, which is why I cannot provide any additional information regarding this matter,” Primrose said.
Santa Clara University alumni and board members expressed shock Thursday.
“I’m not sure what’s going on — I’m really surprised,” said Norman Kline, a member of the university’s Board of Fellows, a fundraising group, and a former mayor of Saratoga, the Mercury News reported.