Investigation Launch

Dear Members of the Holy Cross Community,

In May 2021, Rick Patterson '80, Chair of our Board of Trustees, wrote to our faculty and staff to let them know that the Board had approved a Comprehensive Investigation into Faculty Sexual Misconduct. In the years since reports of faculty sexual misconduct were brought to the College in 2018, Holy Cross has examined and addressed the culture, structure and procedures that may have allowed misconduct to occur, strengthened the College’s sexual misconduct policy, provided boundary training for faculty and staff who engage with students, and encouraged reporting of any prior instances of misconduct. Yet, there is still work to do. I agree with the Board and my predecessor, Fr. Boroughs, that there remains a need for additional investigation into historical issues. This additional investigation will help us to further strengthen protections for students, rebuild trust and move forward together.

The Investigation will be overseen by a Comprehensive Investigation Oversight Committee (“CIOC”), with assistance from attorney Michael E. Baughman of Troutman Pepper.
Serving on the CIOC are:

  • Nancy E. Andrews Ph.D, Associate Professor, Classics; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
  • Nancy R. Baldiga CPA, Professor, Economics and Accounting
  • J. Christopher Collins, Esq. ’80, Member of the Board of Trustees; Of Counsel, Mirick O’Connell
  • Michele C. Murray Ph.D, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
  • Donna Murphy O’Brien ’77, Member of the Board of Trustees; President, Strategic Visions in Healthcare
  • Daniel P. Ricciardi ’06,
  • Associate Vice President for Investments and Institutional Resources

The CIOC conducted a robust process to identify and evaluate external investigators to conduct the investigation to ensure the impartiality, integrity, and credibility of the investigative process.
We have approved their recommendation. The communication below from the CIOC will provide more information about the investigators and the process for the investigation as well as how alumni, students, faculty and staff can engage in their work. I hope you will support the work of the CIOC, and if you have relevant information to share, that you will take the opportunity to participate in the investigation.

The safety of our students is of fundamental importance at Holy Cross. Excellent work has been done in the past few years to strengthen protections and address cultural concerns. Our hope is that this investigation helps us close any gaps in our previous investigations or reviews, and identify tailored recommendations that aid us in moving forward together as a community.


Vincent D. Rougeau


Dear Members of the Holy Cross Community,

We, the members of the Comprehensive Investigation Oversight Committee (“CIOC”), write to you today to inform you that, after a robust search process, the College has retained Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez of Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia to conduct the investigation. Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez serve as the chair and vice-chair, respectively, of Cozen O’Connor’s Institutional Response Group, the nation’s first practice dedicated to improving institutional responses to sexual and gender-based harrassment and violence, child abuse, and other forms of discrimination and harassment.

We began our search by compiling a list of qualified investigators based on recommendations from faculty, administrators and attorneys in the field. We narrowed our list of thirteen candidates to three finalists who were interviewed by our committee in November. The finalists were evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • demonstrated expertise in the field
  • no prior relationships with Holy Cross
  • a detailed understanding of the complexities of this type of work
  • training in trauma-informed investigations
  • a clear awareness of the structure, characteristics and culture of a small liberal arts college
  • a willingness to provide candid feedback to the College
  • strong written and oral communications skills and
  • the ability to identify and articulate specific recommendations

We advised the President and Board Chair to select Ms. Smith and Ms. Gomez as the investigative team, and we are pleased that they endorsed our choice. Smith and Gomez are well known for their ability to provide candid and constructive observations that seek to enhance or strengthen College policies, procedures, and practices, and we are confident that they possess the expertise and experience needed to conduct an effective and comprehensive investigation and provide us with tailored and actionable recommendations.

The CIOC will serve as a resource and provide oversight of the investigation. During the investigation, Smith and Gomez will report periodically to the President, the Board Chair and the CIOC and take appropriate steps to protect the integrity and reinforce the reliability of the investigation. Smith and Gomez have the autonomy to engage in an open-ended exploration of the issues within the scope of their review and to follow the facts where they lead. They are committed to conducting an investigation that is neutral, objective and rigorous.

As part of the external investigation, Smith and Gomez will review documents related to the prior investigations, as well as other available information, and provide an opportunity for broad engagement with the Holy Cross community. This fact-gathering and assessment process will inform a series of specific recommendations regarding any cultural, structural and organizational factors impacting faculty sexual misconduct at the College. We have asked Smith and Gomez to work with us and the President to report key findings and recommendations to the community.

All faculty and staff, students and alumni are invited and encouraged to participate in the investigation. We will alert you when the formal outreach process begins. In the meantime, you may reach the investigation team by email or telephone at (215-665-5540) or (215-665-5546). Your participation is important to the success of the investigation, and we hope that anyone with relevant information will be willing to share it.

We have established a webpage where we will post more information about the scope and process for the investigation as well as communications from and contact information for the CIOC. We will update the site periodically as the investigation proceeds.
We thank you in advance for your interest and participation.


The Comprehensive Investigation Oversight Committee
Nancy E. Andrews Ph.D.
Nancy R. Baldiga, CPA
J. Christopher Collins, Esq. ’80
Michele C. Murray Ph.D.
Donna Murphy O’Brien ’77
Daniel P. Ricciardi ’06