Nov. 16, 2018 - The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province has retained an outside organization, Kinsale Management Consulting, Inc., to review all personnel files of Jesuits going back to 1955 in preparation of publicly releasing the names of all Jesuits and former Jesuits of the province who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.
Kinsale Management Consulting is a respected organization comprised of retired FBI agents and law enforcement personnel.
This review will include all Jesuits for whom the province has records who have entered, worked in, or died in the current province, the former New Orleans Province, the former Missouri Province, or the Region of Puerto Rico of the Society of Jesus since 1955. The audit will result in a list of Jesuits and former Jesuits of this province against whom there are credible allegations of abuse of a minor consistent with the standards of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
A thorough review such as this will take time. Due to the scale of their work, it will be spring 2019 before Kinsale can produce a comprehensive report. In the meantime, the province is compiling a preliminary list; it will be released December 7, 2018.
“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.
“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,” Mercier said.
The release of information about Jesuits with credible allegations must balance the desire for transparency with the privacy of the victims, many of whom have requested confidentiality. The province is committed to protecting the identities of these people so that there is no possibility of additional harm or distress.
The health and well-being of victims and survivors of sexual abuse is a primary concern for the Jesuits of the U.S. Central and Southern Province. Jesuits condemn the abuse of children, adolescents and vulnerable adults and will not tolerate it by our members. More than a decade ago, the province instituted educational programs to ensure that all members are trained in maintaining professional boundaries, and it has detailed policies in place to prevent abuse and respond to allegations.
The province always has and always will cooperate fully with civil authorities.
The Jesuits encourage any person who has suffered abuse by a Jesuit to notify the appropriate law enforcement or child-protection agency in the location in which the incident took place. They are further encouraged to contact Carol Brescia, LCSW, the province’s victim assistance coordinator. Ms. Brescia is a therapist who has experience working with victims/survivors of trauma. She can be reached confidentially by phone at 314-915-7168 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who suspects child abuse is urged to report their suspicions to the police.
The U.S. Central and Southern Province includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, southern Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma as well as the Central American country of Belize and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The former New Orleans Province, which is now part of the current Central and Southern Province, also included the state of Georgia.
For more information on the province's Policies for Protecting Children and Responding to Allegations, visit here.
For questions about this statement, please contact Director of Communications Therese Fink Meyerhoff.