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Assignment Record– Rev. Benjamin L. Wren, S.J.

Summary of Case: Benjamin L. Wren was ordained for the Society of Jesus in 1961. He taught in the order's high schools in Dallas and El Paso TX as well as New Orleans LA. At some point, he spent a year teaching in Tokyo. In 1970 Wren began a 35-year career on the faculty of New Orleans' Loyola University. He was a professor of Asian history and a popular teacher of Zen. He left the Jesuits in 1996 to marry, remaining a Loyola faculty member. He died in 2006.

In fall 2015 a woman reported to Loyola University administrators that Wren had sexually assaulted her "dozens of times" 1978-1985, beginning when she was age 5. Her grandmother worked on campus. She said the abuse included forced oral sex and intercourse, and that Wren said she and her family would die and go to hell if she told. The Jesuits' southern provincial apologized and offered payment for her treatment. In September 2016 the woman filed suit against the University, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province. She claimed that the church's lawyers tried to "extend and delay" her filing beyond the prescription period.

Born: 1931
Ordained: 1961
Died: July 20, 2006.


   

Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State/
Country
Position Notes

1961

Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS

Archbishop was Edward Joseph Hunkeler (1951-1969).

1962 St. Mary's College Atchison KS theological studies

 

 

1962

Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth

Bishop was Thomas Kiely Gorman (!954-1969).

1963 Jesuit High School Dallas TX   Jesuit High had 631 students, all male.

1963

Diocese of Menevia

Bishop was John Edward Petit (1947-1972).

1964 St. Beunos College St. Asaph Flintshire, North Wales, UK    

1964

Diocese of El Paso

Bishop was Sidney Matthew Metzger (1942-1978).

1966 Jesuit High School El Paso TX   Jesuit High had 410 students, all male.
1966 1967         Wren is indexed in the 1967 Directory as at Jesuit High School in El Paso, but he is not listed as there in the El Paso diocesan pages.

1967

Diocese of Tucson

Bishop was Francis Joseph Green (1960-1981).

1969   Tucson AZ   Wren is indexed in the 1968 and 1969 Directories as at 1946 E. Lee St., Tucson, which is that of Ss. Peter and Paul parish rectory. He is not listed as there, however, in the Tucson diocesan pages.

1969

Archdiocese of New Orleans

Archbishop was Phillip Matthew Hannan (1965-1988).

1970 Jesuit High School New Orleans LA   Jesuit High had 892 students, all male.

1970

Hannan was succeeded as New Orleans archbishop by Francis Bible Schulte (1988-2002).

1998 Loyola University

New Orleans

Wren was accused in a 9/16 lawsuit of sexually assaulting a girl "dozens of times" on Loyola's campus 1978-85, beginning when she was age 5. The girl's grandmother worked at Loyola. The abuse allegedly included forced fellatio and intercourse. Wren was said to have threatened her into silence by saying she and her family would die and go to hell if she told.

LA history dept. faculty member; teacher of Zen

Wren is not indexed beyond the 1998 Directory.

Wren died July 20, 2006.

 

Wren's accuser came forward to University administrators in late 2015. The Jesuits' southern provincial apologized and offered payment for her treatment. Her lawsuit, seeking damages from the University, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province, claimed the Jesuits' lawyers tried to "extend and delay" her filing beyond the prescription period.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1962-1998).

Benjamin Wren, 75, Loyola's Zen Expert, Times Picayune, via usgwarchives.net, July 21, 2006
In Memoriam: Benjamin Lee Wren (1931-2006), By Peter A. Huff, Centenary College of Louisiana,University of Hawai'i Press, 2007
Woman Claims Former Jesuit Priest, Zen Instructor, Repeatedly Raped Her As a Child at Loyola University, By Jim Mustian
The Advocate, September 2, 2016

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Wren's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on September 17, 2016.


 
 

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