The president of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana has left the school in the wake of an alleged hazing scandal involving its storied football program.
Father Walter E. Jenkins, who started at Mater Dei in July, stepped down at the end of the winter break, according to a letter sent Saturday by Erin Barisano, the superintendent of schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
Jenkins, a priest, will return to South Bend, Ind., to “take on a new assignment” with his religious order, the Congregation of Holy Cross, Barisano said.
His departure follows weeks of controversy for Mater Dei’s powerhouse football program and longtime head coach Bruce Rollinson. A lawsuit filed in late November by the family of a former football player accused Mater Dei and the Diocese of Orange of trying to cover up a brutal locker room altercation that left the player with a traumatic brain injury.
Mater Dei spokeswoman Allison Bergeron said Jenkins was not fired, and that there is “no connection between the litigation and his departure.”
“To make such a connection is deeply unfair to Father Jenkins, who served Mater Dei well during his tenure,” she said.
….The Diocese of Orange will choose a replacement for Jenkins, Bergeron said. Until a new president is hired, the school will be led by Principal Frances Clare and a team of assistant principals, she said….
The above comes from a Jan. 1 story in the L.A. Times.