Jesuits to release names of accused priests in the west

An attendee prays the rosary Oct. 1 during a public session on the issue of clergy sexual abuse at Our Mother of Confidence Parish Hall in San Diego. (CNS photo/David Maung) An attendee prays the rosary Oct. 1 during a public session on the issue of clergy sexual abuse at Our Mother of Confidence Parish Hall in San Diego.  (CNS photo/David Maung) 

Jesuits in the western part of the United States will release the names of all members of the religious order in that region with “credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors” dating back to 1950, Scott Santarosa, S.J., the provincial of the region, announced in a letter on Friday.

“While the Church in the U.S. has experienced significant reform in this area, we are now called to deepen that reform by becoming more transparent,” Father Santarosa wrote. “In issuing this list and calling for an independent review, we hope to offer victims and their families a step forward in the healing process.”

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The list will be released on Dec. 7 and the province will conduct an external review of its files to ensure it is complete. 

According to the announcement, the list will be released on Dec. 7 and the province will conduct an external review of its files to ensure the list is complete. There are five provinces in the United States.

The region covered under Friday’s announcement is comprised of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

“I think 2018 is a moment when the people of God are both demanding and deserving of transparency,” Father Santarosa told America. “The question now, in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, really is one of trust. Can we trust that the church is actually taking care of this issue and keeping people safe? One sign of trust is asking if leaders can be transparent.”

He said the decision to make a list public was done in consultation with the heads of the other four U.S. provinces.

“We’re all going in the same direction, we just have different timetables.”

“We’re all going in the same direction, we just have different timetables,” he said.

As for announcing the decision to release a list a month before making it public, Father Santarosa said there is an immense amount of data to sort through and he added that the province is working with Jesuit schools, parishes and other institutions that may be affected by the release of the names.

“They feel they need this data to be credible with their constituents, their alumni, their parents, their students and their parishioners,” he said.

He said that no Jesuit on the list of credibly accused priests is in active ministry and that people should know that Jesuit institutions are safe, thanks in part to safeguards instituted following the 2002 wave of abuse revelations. But he conceded that the publication of the list may bring forward more victims—and open up the order to more lawsuits.

“That’s part of the risk of doing this. You don’t know what this will bring,” he said. “We just felt like it’s the right thing to do.”

The Jesuits have previously settled hundreds of abuse claims in that part of the country.

The Jesuits have previously settled hundreds of abuse claims in that part of the country, including in 2011, when the order settled about 500 physical and sexual abuse claims for more than $166 million, one of the largest settlements in the U.S. church’s ongoing abuse crisis.

That settlement covered cases concentrated in Alaska and Oregon, mostly involving Native Americans and Alaska natives who were abused at church-run boarding schools in the 1960s and 1970s. That settlement was on top of previous settlements in that region totaling more than $84 million.

Law enforcement in at least 10 states are investigating Catholic dioceses over how they handled cases of abuse by priests. In a few instances, dioceses have decided to release the names of accused priests before being forced to by investigators. But in some cases, the names of priests who are members of religious orders have been omitted from lists made public by diocesan leaders.

Father Santarosa urged victims of sexual abuse by a Jesuit to report their claims to the province’s victim’s advocacy coordinator, Mary Pat Panighetti, as well as to law enforcement.

“On behalf of the Society of Jesus, I apologize to victims and their families,” he wrote. “There is no greater betrayal of pastoral care than the abuse of a minor by someone with a sacred duty to protect and care for the People of God.”

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Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

Jean Eakins
1 month ago

Thank you for this article. As a young adult woman religious I was abused by one of these men whose name will be released. I respectfully ask that not only ‘minors’ be apologized to. I know that some of us were young adults and hurt by the betrayal and loss of innocence perpetrated by priests. The apology to us is also necessary.

J. Calpezzo
1 month ago

Roger Mahony.

Dennis Galon
1 month ago

This is exactly what every diocese and every religious order in the world ought to do. 1950 is a reasonable terminus a quo for such transparency lists.

The frank acceptance that this list may well lead to new victims coming forward is important, for that is exactly what might happen. Providing a clear single point of contact for reporting such claims is brilliant. Adding the notice that the police should also be notified is proper.

In the US at least, it is likely that every diocese that does not do essentially the same as the Western Jesuit Province is going to eventually have some DA demanding the files required to produce exactly the same list. But when a prosecutor does it rather that the diocese, the optics are entirely different.

Why has it taken so long to begin to realize this level of transparency is absolutely required. If the process brings out new claims, this too is good, for it widens the range of victims what will have been able to express their pain out loud.

sheila gray
1 month ago

Good job.

Will Niermeyer
1 month ago

Is this an early xmas present? It should be interesting.

Venus Majeski
1 month ago

I do not understand the praise for “transparency” when it comes decades later... when so many abusers are dead or of greatly advanced age... Do you not recognize the double-speak? “We are all headed in the same direction, just on different time tables?” Different time-tables to to the truth, well, there is a new concept.

Gino Dalpiaz
1 month ago

HOLY AUDACITY

I salute the Jesuits for their breathtaking chutzpah, for their brutally honest promise to release the names of all the members of their religious order in the western part of the United States with “credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors” dating back to 1950. Wow!! What a powerful example for the other religious orders in this country and elsewhere.

Mother Teresa used to say: “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway,” because as someone put it: "You are as sick as the secrets you keep." It’s going to hurt a lot, but we know that “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” In the end, the truth will set us free.

John Mack
1 month ago

Let's not forget that this "transparency" was forced on the church by the media and the often negligent secular authorities finally taking action. Does this mean that the Holy Spirit will work outside the church when the church is deaf?

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