NEW ORLEANS (SCSA) -- Loyola University of New Orleans President Tania Tetlow responded to a newspaper article in The New Orleans Advocate regarding alleged sex abuse lodged against Reverend Ted Dziak by Survivor Tim Ballard, via an email sent to the Loyola community and families on Sunday, April 18th, 2021.
President Tetlow, an attorney and former Federal Prosecutor, communicated her concerns and forward steps in preparation for any other alleged survivors or victims that may surface in the wake of the Advocate's story, first reported by investigative journalist Ramon Antonio Vargas on Sunday. The story in The Advocate, according to their website, was published at 9:35 AM, seems to suggest that Tetlow's response at 8:11 AM was prepared in advance of the Advocate's publication.
Tetlow outlined a comprehensive path for reporting sexual crimes, which Richard Windmann, President of Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse, or SCSA, cautions survivors and victims against. He said that while well-intentioned, the way ahead for victims should be to report these crimes to the authorities; "Unfortunately, history has taught us time and time again that when victims initially report sex abuse to the institution where the abuse occurred, their very own words are often used against them in any subsequent civil or criminal actions against their perpetrators..." He continued, "SCSA's general guidance and best practice for reporting sex abuse crimes are for the victim to report their abuse directly to the local law enforcement authorities, regardless of when the crime occured, and then consult with an attorney who specializes in sex abuse cases."
The original email:
"Dear Loyola Families,
I am very sad to forward a message that just went out to our community concerning an allegation of sexual assault against Fr. Ted Dziak, Loyola’s former Vice President of Mission and Identity. The allegation was made recently, but concerns events from a number of years ago, before Fr. Dziak’s time at Loyola and not involving a Loyola student or affiliate.
I want you to know a few things. First, the current claim has been made through the media and has yet to be investigated formally.
Second, we are not aware of any claims of sexual assault against Fr. Dziak during his time at Loyola.
Third, I need you to know how seriously Loyola takes these issues. I am a former federal prosecutor who has spent decades working for the protection of sexual assault survivors and accountability for perpetrators. I made sure when I arrived that Loyola has strong systems in place to encourage reporting, to take reports seriously and investigate them thoroughly. (I help train our investigators myself, as I have also done with local law enforcement.) We do everything within our power to prevent and punish sexual violence in our campus community.
Dear Loyola community,
With a heavy heart, I need to tell you that a story appears today on nola.com stating that allegations of a 2004 sexual assault have been made to the newspaper against Fr. Ted Dziak, Loyola’s former VP for Mission and Identity, who left in the summer of 2019. The allegations concern events before Fr. Dziak’s time at Loyola, and are made by someone who was then a recent college graduate and member of the Jesuit International Volunteer Corp in Belize. Only recently did Loyola learn of this allegation when contacted by a reporter. It’s important that you know that Loyola is aware of no allegations of sexual assault concerning Fr. Dziak’s time at Loyola, or any other previous such claim beyond what the reporter has now told us, the details of which we are reading today in the newspaper article.
There are so many things I want to say. As a lawyer, I want to remind us to await the facts about the allegations of sexual assault and not rush to judgment, as hard as that can be. As someone who has spent a career advocating for survivors of sexual assault, I remind us to pray hard for those who go through unimaginable pain.
That includes many members of our own community who are survivors, and for whom this news will be particularly upsetting. If you are in need of support, please reach out to counseling and pastoral care. Faculty and staff may make use of our Employee Assistance Program.
We also want to make clear that if you have information about this or any other case, please tell us by reporting here or emailing us at [email protected]. As a former prosecutor, know that I am committed to your safety and well-being.
Meanwhile, we await more information with concern and in pain.
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