WASHINGTON (CNS) — The leaders of two U.S. provinces of the Society of Jesus released the names of more than 150 clergy with credible sexual abuse claims against them dating to the 1950s.
Father Scott Santarosa, provincial of the order’s West province based in Portland, Oregon, and Father Ronald Mercier, provincial of the Central and Southern province based in St. Louis, released separate lists Dec. 7 of priests and religious brothers who were alleged to have abused minors.
The release of 153 names by the two provinces comes as dioceses, archdioceses and religious orders nationwide have made public since summer the names of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse.
The Central and Southern province list included 42 names dating to 1955, while the West province identified 111 men dating to 1950.
Both provincial leaders apologized to abuse survivors and to the wider Catholic community in response to the claims of abuse.
The priests also said they released the names in response to calls for transparency from the faithful and survivors.
“Silence in the face of the events of recent months cannot be an option,” Father Mercier said in a statement.
“Words cannot possibly suffice to express our sorrow and shame for what occurred, our promise of prayer 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,” he said.
Father Santarosa said the release of names involving men in ministry was necessary.
“We do so 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,” Father Santarosa said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
The lists contained detailed information about the men accused of abuse, including details of their assignments, the approximate period of the alleged abuse, status within the Society of Jesus and whether the men are alive or deceased.
The provincials stressed that none of the accused men remain in active ministry today.
The Jesuit leaders also said their respective province was committed to responding to the needs of all survivors and their families.
Both provinces planned to follow up the release of the lists with reviews of clergy personnel files by Kinsale Management Consulting, whose executive director, Kathleen McChesney, is a former FBI agent. The provinces said they planned to release additional names if the review uncovers additional allegations. The reviews are planned in the spring.
The Central and Southern province covers 13 states, Puerto Rico and Belize. The West province covers 10 states and includes the former Oregon province, which agreed in 2011 to pay $166 million to about 500 people abused by Jesuit priests. The settlement was part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
The order’s Midwest province is expected to release its findings in mid-December.
Editor’s Note: The list released by the Jesuits’ West province is available here. The list released by the Central and Southern province is available here.
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Submitting priests’ personnel files to a lay administration violates the privacy of priests. Laypeople, Permanent Deacons, and women Religious should have no access to priests’ personnel files. They should have no say whatsoever in the governance of priests and the Church. Priests were not warned before their ordination of the possibility of their files being opened. At every step of the process of sanctions in Canon Law, the dignity and privacy of the accused are protected. To open personnel files of all priests altogether, whether accused or not, to any persons who are not priests is an additional violation of priests’ privacy. This is a dangerous and seriously destructive move.