Jesuits to release names of "credibly accused" members

Latest effort of Catholic officials to acknowledge sexual abuse

Chris Miller
December 07, 2018 - 7:30 am

Today, the Society of Jesus -- the Jesuit order -- releases names of its members who have been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Much like the release from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, this is expected to reach back decades.

A news release say the Jesuits will be "Publicly releasing the names of all Jesuits and former Jesuits of the province who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors."

Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says he doesn't think there's any legal benefit to them doing this -- in fact, it could be a risk.

"At worst, it could result perhaps in memories being refreshed, some claims being revived," he said. "It could result in some civil litigation."

But Ciolino said that risk appears to be only a slight one: "Doubtful, given what we saw with the archdiocese release."

Ciolino says there may be a public relations benefit for the Jesuits by laying their cards on the table.

“The People of God deserve transparency from the leadership of the Church,” said Ronald A. Mercier, SJ, provincial of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. “It is my hope that through the publication of this information, we can work to rebuild trust, always with the well-being of victims in mind."

The Jesuit's presence is most prominent in New Orleans at it's namesake high school, and Loyola University.

Mercier added, “On behalf of the Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province, I apologize to the victims for the pain caused by Jesuits in the past.”

The release explains what will be made public.

"The list from the Jesuits, which will cover the past 63 years, comes as Catholic leaders locally as well as across the U.S. have begun to recognize the need for greater transparency on abuse that occurred at the hands of the church over the past several decades."

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