Dear Gonzaga Community:
I am writing to inform you of an action taken today by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus to release the names of any Jesuit of the Province since 1950 known to have received a credible accusation of sexual abuse against a minor. This letter has been sent to all living persons in the Gonzaga database for whom we have an email address, in addition to being posted here on the Gonzaga website.
The clergy abuse crisis has been a deeply damaging and demoralizing experience for the People of God as well as for those Jesuits who have lived their vocations faithfully. However, no one has been more profoundly hurt than the victims of abuse themselves. They trusted in these men, only to have that trust shattered. Even though I know that words are completely inadequate, to any person who has been harmed physically, sexually, emotionally, or spiritually by any member of the Society of Jesus, I extend my most sincere and heart-felt apology. No person should ever have to experience abuse. It is inexcusable.
As you read the announcement from the Maryland Province, please know the Gonzaga administration remains deeply committed to protecting all of our students from abuse by any person working in our school. Gonzaga was accredited by Praesidium in 2015. Praesidium is the premier organization in the United States dedicated to abuse prevention training for those who work with minors. All Gonzaga faculty, staff, and coaches must undergo Praesidium training as a condition of employment. For many years prior to Gonzaga’s Praesidium accreditation, all of our employees completed Virtus training, a similar abuse prevention program. Furthermore, all Jesuits of the Maryland Province renew their Praesidium training annually as part of the accreditation of the Maryland Province. Gonzaga maintains clear policies and procedures in our student and faculty handbooks which outline our efforts to protect students from any form of abuse. Lastly, for many years, employment applicants to Gonzaga must go through a thorough hiring process involving a mandatory criminal background check along with multiple professional references. We are doing our best make sure our students are safe and healthy at all times.
To better understand the information released today, you should know that the territory of the Maryland Province Jesuits includes nine states on the eastern seaboard from Pennsylvania to Georgia, plus the District of Columbia. Of the more than 1,700 Jesuits who have worked in the Province since 1950, there have been 379 different Jesuits who have lived for a year or more at the Gonzaga Jesuit Community. While the majority of those Jesuits worked at Gonzaga, some ran St. Aloysius Parish, while others worked at Gonzaga for a few years as part of their Jesuit training. Others worked in ministries unrelated to Gonzaga or did graduate work while living in the community.
The names of some of the men on the list have been released before by the Province and some have received past coverage in the press. However, some of the cases going back decades are being released for the first time. As a part of this process, Gonzaga will rescind any honors or recognitions that might have been bestowed on these men by the Gonzaga community for their work on Eye Street or elsewhere if that has not already been done.
In an effort to be as transparent as possible, and in case there are as yet unknown victims, all of the assignments of each accused Jesuit are listed regardless of the assignment from where the accusation stems. Any and all victims of clergy abuse are encouraged to report allegations to their local law enforcement agency. Victims can also contact the Maryland Province Victims Assistance Coordinator at 443-370-6357, MARadvocacy@jesuits.org
, or in writing to the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, 8600 LaSalle Road, Suite 620, Towson, MD 21286.
Click here to be taken to the website of the Maryland Province
. There you will find the list of Jesuits with credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors as well as additional information and resources. Our most profound hope as Jesuits is that this release of information will aid victims in their slow process of healing. We also hope that it might help the difficult process of rebuilding the shattered confidence of so many in the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus.
Rev. Stephen W. Planning, SJ