Regis High School – a prestigious all-boys Catholic school on the Upper East Side – announced plans last week to fire its president following an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct involving school employees.
The Rev. Daniel Lahart, a Jesuit priest, was put on administrative leave in late February, according to a letter the school put out to parents and alumni. The president was informed last week that he would be dismissed from his role, after the board of trustees conferred with the East Province of the Society of Jesus. Lahart’s firing will become official on April 21.
“The investigation is now coming to a close, and the Board of Trustees has determined, based on the findings of the third party investigator, that Fr. Lahart engaged in inappropriate and unwelcome verbal communications and physical conduct, all of a sexual nature, with adult members of the Regis community, including subordinates,” Anthony DiNovi, who chairs the school’s board of trustees, wrote in the letter. “This conduct was non-consensual, and moreover, continued notwithstanding express requests from the affected parties for the conduct to cease.”
Lahart was given the choice to participate in the investigation, which was conducted by an outside firm, but declined to do so, according to the board. The school also will not be disclosing any further details from the investigation in order to “protect the privacy of the individuals involved.
“Please know the Board did not come to its decision lightly and took seriously its obligation to act with transparency, integrity, and compassion in service of our community, both with respect to Fr. Lahart and to those members of our community who were harmed by his conduct,” DiNovi wrote. “We are committed to ensuring a safe, respectful, and caring workplace for all current and future Regis staff members.”
Lahart had been at the helm of Regis since the fall of 2016. Before his appointment, he served as president of a Jesuit prep school in Houston, Texas for 14 years. He also had high-ranking roles in education in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.
The board has selected Christian Talbot, a Regis graduate and former faculty member, to replace Lahart as president on an interim basis. DiNovi added that Talbot will be among the candidates considered for Lahart’s full-time successor.
“The Board is thrilled to have found a candidate with the experience required to run an institution like Regis who also knows the Regis community and has participated in its operations at every level,” wrote DiNovi. “We know he will steer the school through the remainder of the school year with skill and integrity.”