SNAP Responds to Jesuits Canada list of Credibly Accused
(For Immediate Release March 13, 2023)
A list of Jesuits who have been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children from 1950 to the present has been made public by the Jesuits of Canada. According to Fr. Erik Oland, the head of the Jesuit Order in Canada, the list is the outcome of an investigation that started in 2020 and was carried out with the assistance of an independent investigator. All but three of the 27 persons on that list are deceased.
It is difficult for us to believe that an “exhaustive file review” would have shown that only 27 Jesuits were found to be perpetrators. While we do not have a total for the number of Jesuits who worked in Canada during the period of time examined in the investigation, according to the Jesuits of Canada website, by the early 1960s Jesuit numbers were around 1270. In independent governmental investigations around the globe, the rate of abusive clergy has regularly been shown to be close to 10%. Yet the Canadian Jesuits are claiming an abuse rate that is slightly more than 2% of the clerics working in just a portion of the time covered. Such an outlier appears to us to be implausible at best.
Moreover, the list that was released is extremely deficient. Important information was omitted, including the dates of each person's assignments, the time the claims against them were made, and the actions taken by Church officials in response to those accusations. Understanding what went wrong in the past, who was responsible, and what has to be done to stop abuse in the future depends on this information. No promises about the future can be taken seriously without an honest examination of the past, and we do not believe this review passes that muster.
If the Jesuit Order truly stands behind this accounting, then its leaders should be willing to voluntarily turn over all records to the government and request a secular investigation and report. These records should include information related to schools or residential facilities run by the Jesuit order. Secular officials, not someone employed and compensated by the Church, should be empowered to evaluate these claims. We are sure that clergy abuse survivors would be more willing to come forward and participate in a secular investigation than one launched by the very institution that enabled and abetted their abuse in the first place.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)
(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)
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