December 7, 2018
Dear Friends in the Lord:
Today, Jesuits West Province releases the names of priests and brothers who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1950. 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. We do so because while the vast majority of Jesuits of our province are not on this list, it is important that parents not wonder whether their children are safe in a church, in a school or in any other setting where a Jesuit may be present.
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.
Thankfully, sixteen years after shocking cases of clergy sexual abuse were brought to light in Boston in 2002, there has been significant reform in how the Church and religious orders like ours handle allegations of sexual abuse. Jesuits West has both a zero-tolerance policy for credible allegations made against a Jesuit involving a minor or a vulnerable adult and stringent procedures to ensure the safety of minors. No Jesuit who has a credible allegation of sexually abusing a minor is allowed to remain in public ministry. The majority of the cases related to the names that we release today date back decades. While even one case is abhorrent, it is consoling to know that the safeguards we have put in place are helping to create safe environments for everyone.
While we attempted to be as thorough and accurate as possible in compiling the list, Jesuits West will undergo a review of our files in the spring of 2019 to be conducted by former FBI Executive Assistant Director, Dr. Kathleen McChesney, of Kinsale Management Consulting. If additional cases of Jesuits with credible allegations of abuse are identified, we will release those names as well.
I encourage anyone who has felt victimized by a Jesuit to contact both Mary Pat Panighetti, Advocacy Coordinator for Jesuits West, at 408-893-8398, and appropriate law enforcement and child-protective agencies.
St. Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Jesuits, said that love is shown more in deeds than in words. In releasing names of those credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor, we ask for God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of the People of God. We pray for victims and pray for our Church, remembering that God’s love is a powerful, transformative force for good.
Fr. Scott Santarosa, S.J.
If you or anyone you know has felt victimized by a Jesuit at any time, please contact Mary Pat Panighetti, advocacy coordinator for Jesuits West, at 408-893-8398 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and appropriate law enforcement and child-protective agencies.
La Provincia anima a cualquier persona que se haya sentido victimizada por un jesuita comunicarse con Mary Pat Panighetti, Coordinadora de Apoyo para la Provincia Jesuita del Oeste, al 408-893-8398 o email@example.com, y también con las autoridades apropiadas y agencias de protección infantil.