Jesuits to Release Names of Abusive Clerics, SNAP Responds
According to reports, several US Jesuit regions will reportedly release the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics tomorrow.
We’re glad that officials from the Jesuit order are taking this first step towards transparency and healing. Releasing these names publicly is crucial not only for the healing of survivors, but also to encourage victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and to deter future clergy sex crimes and cover-ups. Still, the fact remains that this is a long-overdue move prompted only by pressure from prosecutors, parishioners and the public.
When the names are released, we hope that Jesuit officials will ask for an independent investigation into their handling of sex crimes and cover-ups by outside law enforcement professionals. Such an investigation would be the only way to determine who knew what, when they knew it, and what they chose to do with that information. Too often, lists are released that are incomplete or carefully curated by church officials, and so by inviting an independent investigation, Jesuit officials can demonstrate to parishioners and the public their confidence in the veracity of their lists.
When looking at each name on the list, there are the two crucial questions:
- For how long have Jesuit officials known about the allegations and potentially endangered others by keeping the name of this credibly accused abuser hidden?
- Which Jesuit officials will now personally visit the places where these men worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call law enforcement and report their abuse?
We hope that these questions will be answered when the lists are released, but we suspect that it will take much more than this initial disclosure to get to the bottom of this crisis – fully independent law enforcement officials must be involved. If Jesuit officials truly are looking to heal from the past and prevent future sex crimes, then releasing a complete and unedited list is the best first step they can take.
It remains to be seen if they will take the second.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)