ST. LOUIS | Two Roman Catholic Jesuit provinces that represent nearly half the U.S. released the names Friday of more than 150 priests and other ministry officials who were found to have “credible allegations” of sexual abuse made against them dating to the 1950s.
Jesuits West, which covers 10 western states, noted its internal investigation found credible allegations against 111 priests, brothers or priests in training who were involved in some form dating back to 1950. No one on the list is working with the public ministry any longer, it said.
Hours earlier, the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province, which covers 13 states along with Puerto Rico and Belize, sent out the names of 42 men who had connections to the province going back to 1955. It said four are still members of the province but are not active in ministry and live in supervised housing.
Several of the men on the two lists have died, and others have been dismissed of ordination, officials said. Most of the men on the lists were priests.
A third province that covers several Midwestern states, the Midwest Province, is due to make its own findings known on Dec. 17.
The Jesuits — a Catholic order that includes more than 16,000 men worldwide — also operate several high schools and universities, including St. Louis University and Marquette University. Jesuits take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and many also take a vow of allegiance to the Pope.
The Jesuits have in the past settled lawsuits across the country, including a $166 million settlement involving about 500 abuse claims in Oregon in 2011, which was one of the largest settlements involving clergy abuse allegations.
U.S. Central and Southern Provincial Ronald Mercier, who heads the U.S. Central and Southern Province, said the “storm” the Catholic church is dealing with must be confronted with transparency.
“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,” Mercier said in a statement. “Caring for these survivors — and preventing any such future events — must be our focus as we move forward.”
Jesuits West Provincial Scott Santarosa apologized on behalf of the province.
“It is inconceivable that someone entrusted with the pastoral care of a child could be capable of something so harmful,” Santarosa said in a news release. “Yet, tragically, this is a part of our Jesuit history, a legacy we cannot ignore.”
Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based attorney who specializes in clergy abuse lawsuits, said publishing the lists was the “right thing to do,” and it empowers victims to both come forward and move ahead in their lives.
“To a survivor who has been abused by one of these people, it helps them realize, ‘I’m not the only one, I’m not alone,'” Anderson said. “It can inspire them to get help, to share the secret, and to find a better way of life.”
David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, urged the Jesuits to “explain exactly when each of these allegations was deemed credible. That way Catholics will know just how many months, years or decades church officials have kept these men and their crimes hidden.”
Accused Jesuits include 13 who worked in Colorado, Wyoming
A list of Jesuits found to have credible allegations of sexual abuse made against them includes 13 priests who worked in Colorado, two of whom also worked in Wyoming.
Eight of the priests named in the list released by the Catholic order’s U.S. Central and Southern Province Friday worked at Regis High School, once located in Denver but now in Aurora. Two also served at St. Stephen’s Mission on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation.
The priests held various assignments and the list doesn’t specify where the alleged abuse happened. However, in a letter to the Regis High School community, president David Card said two had allegations related to students at the school.
Seven of the priests have died. The others have either left the order or been removed from ministry.