Jesuits to Release Names of Abusive Clerics, SNAP Responds
According to reports, US Jesuit provinces will begin to release the names of proven, admitted and "credibly accused" child molesting clerics tomorrow.
We are glad that officials from the Jesuit order are taking this first step towards transparency. Releasing these names publicly not only helps survivors heal, but also encourages victims who may be suffering alone and in silence to come forward. These lists also expose men who may not have been previously identified as dangerous but who may be living and working in places that gives them access to children.
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 urge Jesuit officials to also ask for an independent investigation into their handling of sex crimes and cover-ups by outside law enforcement professionals. Such a probe is the only way to determine who knew what, when they knew it, and what they chose to do with that information. Too often, the lists released by the Catholic entities are incomplete or carefully curated by Church officials. By inviting an independent investigation, Jesuit officials would demonstrate their confidence in their lists.
When looking at each name on the list, there are the two crucial questions:
- How long haveJesuit officials known about the allegations and potentially endangered other children by keeping the name of this abuser hidden?
- Will Jesuitofficials will visit all the places where these men worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistle blowers to call law enforcement and report their abuse?
We hope that these questions are answered when the lists are released, but we suspect that it will take investigations by independent law enforcement officials to produce complete disclosure and outreach.
If Jesuit officials are truly looking to acknowledge past abuse and cover-ups and to prevent future sex crimes, then releasing a complete and unedited list is the best first step they can take. The second step would be to turn over each and every allegation of abuse -- even those found to be "not credible" -- to the local police or attorney general for investigation.
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)