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Georgetown Revokes Honorary Degree From Late Provost for Sexual Misconduct

June 14, 2021

Georgetown University has revoked the honorary degree and all other university recognitions of the Reverend J. Donald Freeze, a Jesuit priest and former provost of the university who died in 2006. An alumnus accused him of sexual misconduct -- including nonconsensual kissing and touching -- occurring before 1991, officials said in a message to campus Friday. Freeze began working at Georgetown in 1971 and served as provost from 1979 to 1991.

A working group within Georgetown’s Board of Directors was charged with addressing the allegations. The working group apologized to the alumnus and said it had engaged with the Jesuits’ East Province, which assigns clergy to the university.

The province committed to “readdress and strengthen its policies and processes for sexual misconduct perpetrated against adults, and to more fully share with Georgetown information regarding sexual misconduct of any kind,” officials said.

“The safety of the Georgetown community is our first priority. In the years since Father Freeze was provost, we have implemented strong policies and procedures to provide support for sexual abuse survivors, including survivors of clergy sex abuse, and programs to safeguard our community from sexual misconduct of any kind by any member of our University,” they wrote.

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Lilah Burke

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