The Washington Post: The Maryland Province Jesuits, a Catholic religious order with clergy serving throughout the Washington area and across eight states, released a list Monday of priests in the order who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children since the 1950s.
The men accused of sexually abusing minors worked for decades in high schools, including Gonzaga College High School in the District; in colleges, including St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, Wake Forest University in North Carolina and several more; at Georgetown University’s hospital; at churches in the District and Baltimore; and other institutions.
One Jesuit priest, Neil P. McLaughlin, is believed to have abused children from the 1950s to the 1980s. Accusations came in from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Massachusetts and New York. McLaughlin was removed from ministry in 2007.
Much of the abuse detailed in the reports dates back more than half a century. But other accusations are much more recent, and the list reveals that some of the Jesuit priests were not removed from ministry until well after 2002, when the Boston Globe published its expose of abuse in the church and the U.S. Catholic bishops committed to rooting out abusive priests.
The admission by the Jesuit order, which is widely known for educating youths in its high schools and colleges, comes at a time when Catholic institutions are under tremendous pressure to respond more transparently to claims of sexual abuse by priests.
Religious orders — including the Jesuits, the Catholic church’s largest male order with almost 17,000 priests and brothers around the world — have been particularly criticized by victims’ advocates for their opacity…
In October, the major umbrella organization for male orders urged the groups to publish names of their accused members, and on Monday, the Maryland Province Jesuits named five living Jesuits, three who left the order after being accused of misconduct, and five who have died.
“We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused to victims and their families. We also apologize for participating in the harm that abuse has done to our Church, a Church that we love and that preaches God’s care for all, especially the most vulnerable among us,” the Rev. Robert M. Hussey, leader of the Maryland Province Jesuits, wrote in a letter accompanying the detailed list of names and accusations. “The People of God have suffered, and they rightly demand transparency and accountability. We hope that this disclosure of names will contribute to reconciliation and healing…”
The Jesuit order has long been respected for its emphasis on education; Jesuit priests run some of the country’s oldest and most prominent Catholic secondary schools and universities. After the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the umbrella organization for religious orders, urged orders to release accused priests’ names, and after victims’ groups highlighted the lack of transparency from orders in a letter to U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Callista Gingrich last month, the Jesuits started publishing names.
First the West Province and the Central and Southern Province released names on Dec. 7. The Northeast Province, which stretches from New Jersey to Maine, said it will publish names on Jan. 15.
Terry McKiernan, co-director of the organization Bishop Accountability that tracks the Catholic church’s response to abuse, said the Jesuit provinces are ahead of other religious orders. One province each of the Benedictine, Capuchin, Crosier, Christian Brothers and Oblates of Mary Immaculate orders also have published lists of credibly accused members, he said…
Becky Ianni, a leader of the victims’ advocacy group SNAP in Virginia… pointed out that the religious orders have escaped some of the accountability currently facing dioceses across the country, which have been subpoenaed by attorneys general in numerous states who are investigating crimes by their local clergy in light of Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking statewide report on abuse there…
In the wake of a Pennsylvania grand jury report in August that named more than 300 accused priests in the state and brought renewed attention to sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, dioceses across the country and some religious orders such as the Jesuits have published lists in recent months of credibly accused priests. That includes the Archdiocese of Washington, where Cardinal Donald Wuerl stepped down in October amid furor about his handling of abusive priests in the past — and where religious orders are under new scrutiny. At Washington’s Sacred Heart parish, a prominent congregation run by the Capuchin order, a priest was arrested recently on charges he abused teenage girls.
The tragic saga continues and now exposes the Jesuits too. While the report gives more details of various priests who were publically named, it mainly points out the systemic system of abuse that has been covered up for many decades.
Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues. Revelation 18:4.