The Jesuit priest who presided over President Joe Biden’s inaugural Mass resigned from his position as president of Santa Clara University in California, after an investigation found he engaged in inappropriate conversations with graduate students.
The private Jesuit university announced Wednesday that Father Kevin O’Brien had notified the school’s board of trustees of his resignation Sunday, and that the board had accepted his resignation. Acting University President Lisa Kloppenberg asked for “grace and space” following the news.
O’Brien was placed on leave in March pending an investigation into alleged misconduct. The investigation found he engaged in conversations during informal dinners, where alcohol was involved, with graduate students that were “inconsistent with established Jesuit protocols and boundaries.”
JUST IN: Santa Clara University President Father Kevin O’Brien announced Wednesday he is resigning and has entered a rehab program for his use of alcohol and stress management. https://t.co/NFcl4ORftJ pic.twitter.com/YaL8NztUPk
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) May 13, 2021
In his resignation letter, O’Brien wrote that his behavior “did not meet the highest standards of decorum” expected of him as a Jesuit, according to the Associated Press (AP). But neither O’Brien nor Santa Clara University have revealed further details about his alleged misconduct.
“After much prayer and thought and out of deep love for Santa Clara, I have concluded that the best service I can offer to our beloved university is to step aside now,” he wrote.
At the direction of Jesuit officials, O’Brien also began a therapeutic outpatient program to address personal issues such as alcohol use and stress counseling, according to the AP. He said he hopes to return to active ministry as a Jesuit priest after completing the program. (RELATED: Here’s Why Media Calls Biden A ‘Devout Catholic’ According To Theologians, Commentators)
O’Brien held Biden’s inaugural Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. The two have been friends for nearly 15 years and O’Brien held Mass ceremonies for Biden during his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration, according to The Hill.