Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Immediate Release: High Probability of Abuse Case Involving Fr. Benjamin Cieply, LC

**Update to the Communication Regarding Fr. Benjamin Cieply, Atlanta, April 19, 2023.

Communication Regarding Fr. Benjamin Cieply, Atlanta, September 6, 2018: In fulfillment of number 74 of the Legionaries of Christ 2018 Code of Conduct, the congregation, upon concluding an investigation regarding Fr. Benjamin Cieply, former Legionary of Christ, informs the following:

  1. Fr. Benjamin Cieply was ordained to the priesthood with the Legionaries of Christ on December 20, 2008. In 2015 he left the Dallas, Texas, Legionaries of Christ community to seek incardination to the Archdiocese of Miami after a gradual process of discernment.
  2. In late 2016, an incident in Florida involving a minor was reported and Child Protective Services was notified. Child Protective Services determined that the allegation against Fr. Benjamin Cieply could not be substantiated.
  3. The Archdiocese of Miami was informed. They began an internal review and a decision
    was made, based on the findings, to remove Fr. Benjamin Cieply from ministry. 
  4. The Archdiocese informed the parish during Sunday Mass and Fr. Benjamin Cieply was
    sent back to the Legionaries of Christ. He has not been exercising ministry since.
  5. The Legionaries of Christ were informed of the allegation in November of 2016.
    Consistent with the policies outlined in the Legionaries of Christ
    2018 Code of Conduct, in place to ensure a safe environment for young people and adults in the Legion’s ministries, the Legion reached out to Praesidium, Inc. to open an investigation. 
  6. In accordance with number 57, Internal Investigation, in the Legionaries of Christ 2018 Code of Conduct, “The Legion’s internal investigation will seek to establish whether or not the allegation is supported by the evidence, even if civil authorities have decided not to bring charges. If the civil authorities have cleared the accused of actual abuse charges, the goal of the internal investigation will be to ascertain whether any inappropriate conduct short of abuse may have occurred. If, in the course of this investigation, additional evidence is uncovered that substantiates an allegation, the Legion will re- contact the authorities.” 
  7. Fr. Benjamin Cieply was asked to participate in the investigation by Praesidium in January of 2017 and then again in February of 2018. Fr. Benjamin Cieply affirmed his innocence and declined to participate in the investigation on both occasions.
  8. Praesidium finished the investigation and submitted the full report for review to the Legion of Christ’s Review Board. 
  9. The Review Board convened on June 27, 2018. After careful consideration based on the
    information provided in the report, the Review Board concluded that there is a high probability that sexual abuse had occurred and recommended that Fr. Benjamin Cieply should not return to ministry. The territorial director of the Legionaries of Christ decided to act in accordance with their recommendation. Fr. Benjamin Cieply will not be returning to ministry. 
  10. **Fr. Benjamin Cieply declined to return to the Legionaries of Christ where he could receive the help and supervision needed and was therefore dismissed from the congregation per canons 696 §1 and 665 §2 of the Code of Canon Law.
  11. ** The report and deliberation regarding the allegation was sent to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith for review. The Dicastery, seeing the material impossibility to reach moral certainty that abuse occurred, decided to close the file for the time being, unless new evidence should surface. At the time of this update Fr. Benjamin Cieply remains a priest without the ability to exercise priestly ministry.

  12. ** We deeply regret and apologize for any harm done to those impacted by the actions of any of our priests. We pledge ourselves to continue improving our efforts to provide a safe environment in all our ministries.

Link to the original communication:
Press Release 9-6-2018

If anyone has further information about this case or others that involve Legionaries, they may contact: 

Abby Saunders, Pastoral Care Advocate 


Phone: (678) 467-9348

Nikki Hittle, MSW, Safe Environment Coordinator 


Phone: (770) 802-0058

Address: 30 Mansell Court, Suite 103, Roswell, GA, 30076

*Updated: March 22, 2021

**Updated: March 31, 2023

*The Legionaries of Christ Code of Conduct was updated July 2022, since original publication.

Gail Gore
Director of Communications
(707) 309-6957