Dec. 7, 2018 – The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province today released a list of names of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
No Jesuit with a credible accusation currently serves in public ministry. Of the 42 names on the list, four men are still members of this province.
“The storm that the Church experiences today calls forth from us an unprecedented and yet needed response,” Provincial Ronald Mercier said in a statement today. “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 wrote: “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.”
The list was compiled after an internal review of Jesuit personnel files. It includes the names of Jesuits who are or were:
- members of the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province or its predecessor entities: the former New Orleans Province, the former Missouri Province and the Region of Puerto Rico;
- from other provinces, but against whom there are credible claims from their time working in this province;
- members of this province whose names have been published on diocesan websites.
The men whose names are included on the list have had a credible allegation made against them, based on the standards set forth by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. Inclusion on this list does not imply that the allegations are true and correct or that the accused individual has been found guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. In many instances, the allegations were made several years or decades after the alleged events.
While province leaders are confident that the list published today is inclusive, they have hired an outside agency, Kinsale Management Consulting, Inc., to review nearly 3,000 personnel files of Jesuits who are or were members of the U.S. Central and Southern Province or its predecessors as of Jan. 1, 1955. If Kinsale discovers any additional men with credible accusations, their names will be added to this list. That review will happen in Spring 2019.
Protocols to Prevent Abuse
Jesuits have a zero-tolerance policy regarding instances of inappropriate conduct between a Jesuit and a minor. Protocols and procedures have been in place since 2002, when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Every member of the province annually completes two units of training (similar to Protecting God’s Children offered in dioceses) and signs the province’s Code of Ethical Conduct, affirming that he has read and accepts the policies and protocols of the province regarding abuse. Every year, all members of the province renew their training by participating in “Conversations that Matter,” a program mandated by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, designed to foster within Jesuits a deeper understanding of healthy relationships and awareness of appropriate boundaries.
The province is accredited by Praesidium, Inc., an organization providing consultation, policy development, and training materials for use in preventing sexual misconduct and responding to allegations of sexual misconduct. Praesidium’s ongoing accreditation process is designed to be rigorous to ensure that the province’s practices are consistent with today’s standards relating to child protection. The province has achieved accreditation for many years.
In addition, the province has enhanced its screening process for men interested in becoming Jesuits. Before a Jesuit is accepted as a novice, he undergoes in-depth screening, including psychosexual screening, and an extensive criminal background check.
Learn more about the province’s policies and practices to safeguard children.
The province urges anyone who experienced sexual abuse as a minor to report the offense to the law enforcement or child protective services in the locale where the abuse happened.
Survivors are also encouraged to advise the Jesuits by calling Carol Zarinelli Brescia, Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She can be reached confidentially by phone at 314-915-7168 or email at email@example.com.