December 7, 2018 — Today, two U.S. provinces of the Society of Jesus — USA Central and Southern Province and Jesuits West — released the names of Jesuits credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult.
The USA Central and Southern Province released a list with the names of the Jesuits who are or were members of the Central and Southern Province, the former New Orleans Province, the former Missouri Province, or the Region of Puerto Rico of the Society of Jesus, and against whom a credible claim of sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult has been made since 1955. Also included are the names of Jesuits from other provinces against whom there are credible claims resulting from their work while assigned to the Central and Southern Province.
“The storm that the church experiences today calls forth from us an unprecedented and yet needed response,” Fr. Ronald Mercier, SJ, provincial of the Central and Southern Province, said in a statement. “Silence in the face of the events of recent months cannot be an option.”
Acknowledging the pain suffered by survivors of sexual abuse, Fr. Mercier said: “Words cannot possibly suffice to express our sorrow and shame for what occurred, our promise of prayers for healing, and our commitment to work with them. Caring for these survivors — and preventing any such future events — must be our focus as we move forward.”
Jesuits West released the names of priests and brothers who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults since 1950. The list contains the names of Jesuits who are or were members of Jesuits West Province, the former California Province or the former Oregon Province. Also included are the names of Jesuits from other provinces against whom there are credible claims resulting from their work while assigned to Jesuits West or the California or Oregon Provinces and Jesuits of the former Oregon Province with credible claims already published as part of the Oregon bankruptcy filing. Finally, the list includes Jesuits listed in diocesan bankruptcies or listed by other dioceses.
Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, provincial of Jesuits West, wrote in a letter that the province released the names “because the People of God demand and deserve transparency. We do so because we hope that this act of accountability will help victims and their families in the healing process.”
“On behalf of the Society of Jesus, I apologize to the victims and families who put their trust in a Jesuit, only to have that trust so profoundly betrayed. It is inconceivable that someone entrusted with the pastoral care of a child could be capable of something so harmful. Yet, tragically, this is a part of our Jesuit history, a legacy we cannot ignore,” Fr. Santarosa wrote.
In both provinces, no Jesuit with a credible accusation is currently serving in public ministry. Jesuits have a zero-tolerance policy regarding instances of inappropriate conduct between a Jesuit and a minor. Both the Central and Southern Province and Jesuits West shared the policies and practices in place to prevent abuse, as well as instructions for reporting if someone has been abused by a Jesuit.
Both provinces have also hired an outside agency, Kinsale Management Consulting, Inc., to review the personnel files of Jesuits. If Kinsale discovers any additional men with credible accusations, their names will be added to the list. [Sources: Central and Southern Province, Jesuits West]