San Jose, Calif., May 17, 2021 / 15:19 pm
Santa Clara University president Father Kevin O’Brien, S.J., engaged in questionable behavior at informal dinners with Jesuit graduate students, the local Jesuit province has ruled, leading to O’Brien’s announcement that he will resign as president of the California Jesuit university. He has entered an outpatient program to address personal issues including alcohol use and stress.
O’Brien has been president of the San Jose-area university since 2019. He presided over the Jan. 20 Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington D.C. which President Joe Biden attended the day before his inauguration. The priest has reportedly known the Biden family for at least 15 years, dating back to when O’Brien served at Georgetown University. O’Brien previously presided at a Mass for Biden and his family in both 2009 and 2013, when Biden was sworn in as vice president, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
John M. Sobrato, the chairman of the board of trustees for Santa Clara university, said in a May 12 announcement that an independent investigation conducted on behalf of the USA West Province of the Society of Jesus found that O’Brien “engaged in behaviors, consisting primarily of conversations, during a series of informal dinners with Jesuit graduate students that were inconsistent with established Jesuit protocols and boundaries.”
“The province also advised the board that alcohol was involved and that no inappropriate behavior was found in any settings outside of these dinners,” Sobrato said. “The board of trustees takes this situation very seriously and fully supports those who came forward to provide their accounts.”