BALTIMORE – The Roman Catholic Jesuit province, where much of the eastern United States on Monday released the names of the Jesuit priests facing “credible or established” allegations of sexual abuse of minors dating back to 1950.
In a letter, the Maryland Province of the society of Jesus, identified five living-Jesuit faced with facts that took place in the province and the other eight who are dead. The men — in the context of a Catholic order that includes more than 16,000 people worldwide, is served in churches, high schools, universities and other institutions.
It is the latest in a string of similar reports of the Jesuits governing bodies. Earlier this month, two other Jesuit provinces that almost half of the US released the names of more than 150 priests and other ministry leaders have found “credible allegations” of sexual abuse made against them.
The letter of ds. Robert Hussey, the leader of the Jesuit province based in Maryland, contends that most of the cases date back decades and the most recent incident took place in 2002. The five still living are listed as living in assisted living “on a safety plan.” He said in the letter, dated Monday, that the province hopes that the disclosure will “contribute to reconciliation and healing.”
“We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused to the victims and their families,” said Hussey, whose statement was linked to the list of names and accusations.
None of the living with the name the Jesuits are in active service in the grouping, which extends through South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, in the south of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
While some of the aforementioned Jesuit priests were removed from ministry in the 1990s, others were not removed until after the U.S. church’s sexual abuse scourge exploded in Boston in 2002. An accused priest, Neil McLaughlin, was not removed from the ministry until 2007, despite the fact that he is believed to have abused young people from his ordination in 1959 to the 1980’s, with multiple allegations of abuse of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York and Massachusetts.
Another Jesuit, J. Glenn Murray, was only removed from the ministry in 2011, decades after he was accused of a single allegation of sexual abuse in Baltimore dating back to 1981, a few years after his ordination.
David Lorenz, a clergy sexual abuse survivor who leads the Maryland chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said he was happy that the Jesuits were put out of a list of the offenders, so that a number of victims would get some help and move forward in their lives. But he stressed that the list was “wholly inadequate” is, in his vision, and the only way to get all information about church abuse was by means of a summons by independent researchers.
“Unless you force them to their records you can’t believe that what they give you is finished,” Lorenz said in a telephone interview Monday.
The Jesuits have previously settled lawsuits across the country, including a $166 million settlement with about 500 abuse claims in Oregon in 2011, one of the largest settlements involving clergy abuse allegations.
The Jesuit president of the Maryland Loyola University, the Rev. Brian F. Linnanne, issued a statement Monday that seven Jesuits on the list were previously connected with the institution or with Loyola’s Jesuit community. None of the allegations occurred while they were on campus.
“Transparency and openness, can reveal important truths. We should confront and address, so that we can move forward with optimism, hope, and a belief that we will never allow such deplorable actions to occur in the future,” he wrote.
In an e-mail, the spokesman of the Archdiocese of Baltimore said that there was hope that the “disclosure will advance the culture of transparency that we have worked hard to create and inspire other potential brave victims, survivors to come forward.”
Catholic bishops approved widespread reforms in 2002, when the clergy abuse became a national crisis for the church in the U.S., such as the more stringent requirements for the reporting of allegations to law enforcement and a streamlined process for the removal of clergy.
But a Pennsylvania grand jury, this year made very clear that more changes are needed. In a nearly 900-page report released Aug. 14, the grand jury claimed that more than 300 Roman Catholic priests abused at least 1,000 children over the past seven decades in six Pennsylvania dioceses. It is also accused senior church officials of the systematic hedging of the treatment of complaints.
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