The Jefferson Educational Society has released a statement after its founding president Dr. William Garvey was named by the Erie Catholic Diocese Friday as a former lay teacher and coach credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Garvey stepped down as president of the Jefferson Educational Society and became chairman of the board in June 2017.

The statement reads:

“The Jefferson Educational Society team understands a report has been issued that mentions Dr. William P. Garvey, who served as the President of the Jefferson from 2008 to spring 2017.

We can only speak of the Dr. Garvey we knew well as a historian, educator, and community leader and his vision and meaningful work over the course of his involvement at the Jefferson.

The Jefferson remains committed to our role as a nonpartisan think tank for the purpose of driving community progress, and we will continue to provide world-class programming, publications, and community forums.”

He also spent 43 years at Mercyhurst University, including 25 years as the university's longest-serving president from 1980 to 2005.