The Midwest Province announced plans today to release the names of those Jesuits with established allegations of sexual abuse of minors since 1955. An established allegation is based on the facts and circumstances where there is a reasonable certainty that the accusation is true and that the sexual abuse of a minor has occurred. The list of names is planned to be posted on the Province website on December 17, 2018, along with a public letter from the Midwest Provincial, Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ.
“We take this step in the spirit of transparency and reconciliation,” said Fr. Brian Paulson about the decision. “As we look back at our history, the failures of the Church and the Society of Jesus to protect those entrusted to its care fill our hearts with outrage, sorrow and shame. On behalf of the Midwest Jesuits, I sincerely apologize to victims and their families for the harm and suffering you have endured. Many have suffered in silence for decades. Our concern and prayers are with the victim-survivors and we hope and pray that this step will strengthen the trust of those we serve.”
An established allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor leads to the Jesuit’s permanent removal from public ministry and possible criminal prosecution.
When the Province receives an allegation of abuse of someone who is currently a minor, the Province takes steps to ensure that the relevant civil authorities have been notified. All Jesuits of the Midwest Province are required by Province policy and law to immediately report any suspected abuse of a current minor to the relevant child protective service agency. In cases where the victim of abuse is now an adult, but was a minor at the time of the abuse, the Province notifies the prosecuting attorney in the jurisdiction where the abuse took place.
The Province will conduct an independent, external review of its files to ensure that the list is complete. If this external review identifies additional names, the Province will release those names as well. The identity of the individual or firm selected to conduct the external review is also planned to be announced on December 17.
Anyone who has been abused by a member of the Province should contact the appropriate law enforcement or child protection agency, no matter what amount of time has passed since the abuse. Contact information for Province staff, as well as for law enforcement and child protection agencies, is posted on the Province web site at www.jesuitsmidwest.org. In addition, victims may contact Ms. Marjorie O’Dea, the Province Director of the Office of Safe Environment at 773 975 6876 or by mail at the USA Midwest Province, 1010 North Hooker Street, Chicago, Illinois 60642.
Media inquiries regarding the announcement should be referred to Fr. Glen Chun, SJ, at UMINamesInquiry@Jesuits.org or 773-975-6883.
Said Father Paulson: “Let us continue to pray for healing graces for all victims of abuse in our church, for atonement by all of us collectively for these egregious sins—for “what we have done, and what we have failed to do” – and for light to guide us forward as a church, the body of Christ in our world.”