Communication Regarding Fr. Benjamin Cieply, LC, Atlanta, September 6, 2018: In fulfillment of number 74 of our Code of Conduct, the Legionaries of Christ upon concluding an investigation regarding Fr. Benjamin Cieply, LC, informs the following:
- Fr. Benjamin Cieply, LC, was ordained to priesthood with the religious congregation Legionaries of Christ on December 20, 2008. In 2015 he left the Dallas, Texas, Legionaries of Christ community to seek out incardination to the Archdiocese of Miami after a gradual process of discernment.
- In late 2016, an incident in Florida involving a minor was reported and Child Protective Services was notified. Child Protective Services determined that the allegations could not be substantiated.
- The Archdiocese of Miami was informed. They began their internal review and a decision was made, based on the findings, to remove Fr. Benjamin Cieply from ministry.
- In accordance with the normal procedures of an archdiocese, they informed the parish during Sunday Mass. Fr. Benjamin Cieply was sent back to the Legionaries of Christ and has not been exercising ministry.
- The Legionaries of Christ were informed in November of 2016. Consistent with the policies outlined in the Legionaries of Christ 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.
- In accordance with number 57, Internal Investigation, in the Legionaries of Christ 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.”
- 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.
- Praesidium finished the investigation and submitted the full report for review to the Legion of Christ’s Review Board.
- 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.
- We deeply regret and apologize for the harm done to the victim. We pledge ourselves to continue improving our efforts to provide a safe environment in all our ministries.
Link to the official communication:
Press Release 9-6-2018
If anyone has further information about this case or others that involve Legionaries, they may contact:
Kristin Austin, LCSW-C, CCTP, Pastoral Care Advocate
Phone: (443) 788-9730
Nikki Hittle, MSW, Safe Environment Coordinator
Phone: (770) 802-0058
Address: 30 Mansell Court, Suite 103, Roswell, GA, 30076
*Updated: March 22, 2021
NORTH AMERICAN TERRITORY
Director of Communications