Two priests with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) have been added to a list of those with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. On Feb. 8, the Jesuits USA Central and Southern (UCS) Province added the names of the late Father Daniel V. Campbell and former Father David V. Meconi, a former member of the UCS Province.
Meconi joined the faculty of Saint Louis University in 2007 as an assistant professor of theological studies. He also was the founding director of the Catholic Studies Center at SLU. According to the province, the time frame of the credible allegation of abuse was between 2015-16.
According to a Feb. 9 letter from SLU president Dr. Fred Pestello to the university community, SLU learned of the investigation into Meconi in February 2022. He has not engaged in teaching or other university activities since July 2021 and formally resigned his faculty position in March 2022, according to SLU. Meconi also was previously assigned to Xavier University in Cincinnati. Meconi left the UCS Province and the priesthood in 2023, according to the Jesuits.
The late Father Daniel Campbell was a faculty member at SLU in the 1950s, during the time of the alleged abuse. The province has identified the estimated time frame of the credible allegations of abuse as 1955-1959. In addition to his time at SLU, Father Campbell served at St. Francis Xavier “College” Church and St. Louis University High School. He also had assignments at Jesuit Retreat House in Cushing, Oklahoma; Sacred Heart Retreat House in Sedalia, Colorado; a chaplain with the United States Army; Missouri Province Mission Band at St. Joseph Hall in Decatur, Illinois; Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Holy Rosary Mission in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
“Our hearts are with those who have suffered from abuse, and we are committed to supporting efforts to prevent abuse from happening to anyone else,” Pestello wrote in his letter. “If you or someone you know is aware of an incident of abuse, we urge you to report it. When people have been victims of harm, we must seek justice with and for them, and assist in the healing they need an deserve.”
The Jesuits said in a statement that the finding of credibility of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult is based on a belief, with moral certitude, after careful investigation and review by professionals, that an incident of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult occurred, or probably occurred, with the possibility that it did not occur being highly unlikely. “Moral certitude” in this context means a high degree of probability, but short of absolute certainty.
The province also said that a priest’s inclusion on the list does not imply that the accused individual has been found guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims.
“We pray for all victims of abuse and regret the pain they suffer,” said the province in its statement.
The province encourages anyone who has been the victim of abuse by a Jesuit to contact law enforcement or child protective services in the area where the abuse occurred. For pastoral assistance, individuals may contact Carol Brescia, a licensed clinical social worker designated by the province to receive reports of sexual abuse. She can be reached confidentially at (314) 915-7168 or by email at: [email protected].
The UCS Province is independently certified by Praesidium Religious Services of Arlington, Texas, to be in complete compliance with all aspects of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children. The province’s policies and the definitions of all terms are available on the province website: