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Under growing global pressure like never before, Jesuits in the western part of the United States announce Friday in a letter that they will release the names of all members of the religious order in that region with “credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors” dating back to 1950.
According to the announcement, the list will be released on Dec. 7 and the province will conduct an external review of its files to ensure the list is complete. There are five provinces in the United States.
The region covered under Friday’s announcement is comprised of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
In the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, this is a truly significant development.
A key church leader conceded Friday that the publication of the list may bring forward more victims—and open up the order to more lawsuits.
“That’s part of the risk of doing this. You don’t know what this will bring,” he said. “We just felt like it’s the right thing to do.”
The Jesuits have previously settled hundreds of abuse claims in that part of the country, including in 2011, when the order settled about 500 physical and sexual abuse claims for more than $166 million, one of the largest settlements in the U.S. church’s ongoing abuse crisis.
That settlement covered cases concentrated in Alaska and Oregon, mostly involving Native Americans and Alaska natives who were abused at church-run boarding schools in the 1960s and 1970s. That settlement was on top of previous settlements in that region totaling more than $84 million.
In addition, law enforcement in at least 13 states are currently investigating Catholic dioceses over how they handled cases of abuse by priests. In a few instances, dioceses have decided to release the names of accused priests before being forced to by investigators.
Victims of sexual abuse by a Jesuit going back as far as 1950, please contact Advocacy Coordinator, Mary Pat Panighetti, 408-893-8398 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and appropriate law enforcement and child-protective agencies nationwide. Please SHARE this info as widely as possible.
“There is no greater betrayal of pastoral care than the abuse of a minor by someone with a sacred duty to protect and care for the People of God.”
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