SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Jesuit priest Father Kevin O’Brien, President of Santa Clara University, has resigned his position weeks after being placed on leave amid an investigation into reports of impropriety, the university announced Wednesday.
The chairman of SCU’s Board of Trustees, John M. Sobrato, said in a letter to the campus community that O’Brien notified the board on Sunday he was resigning, and the board accepted his resignation on Monday.READ MORE: Bay Area, NorCal Heatwave May Break Records; 'Potentially Life-Threating' Central Valley Temps
O’Brien was placed on leave in March by the Jesuit USA West Province. SCU said Wednesday the province had concluded an independent investigation “which found Father 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.”
The USA West Province also directed O’Brien to enroll in an outpatient program for “related personal issues, including alcohol and stress counseling” and indicated has O’Brien has already begun the program, according to the statement.READ MORE: 2-Day Search For Mendocino Man Wanted In Shootout With Deputies, Multiple Burglaries Ends Without Arrest
The nature of the behavior and conversations with graduate students was not disclosed by the university.
Provost Lisa Kloppenberg will continue serving as Acting SCU President until the Board of Trustees names a permanent replacement, the statement said.
The 54-year-old O’Brien has headed the university for two years and has been a frequent media commentator on church reforms.MORE NEWS: 'Why Would Something Like This Happen To Me?' 94-Year-Old Anh 'Peng' Taylor Recovering After Shocking SF Stabbing Attack
In January, O’Brien officiated an inauguration day mass attended by then President-elect Joe Biden at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.