The Society of Jesus, Jesuits of the West Province, have released the names of living and deceased members of the religious order who have been accused of sexual abuse.
The West province covers 10 states, including California and encompasses the former Oregon province, which agreed in 2011 to pay $166 million to about 500 people abused by Jesuit priests. The settlement was part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
The Jesuits West Province of the Society of Jesus, which was formed in July of 2017 when the former California and Oregon Provinces became one, is comprised of Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
The list contains the names of Jesuits who are or were members of Jesuits West Province, the former California and the former Oregon Provinces, against whom a credible claim of sexual abuse of a minor (under the age of 18) or a vulnerable adult has been made. Also included are the names of Jesuits from other provinces against whom there are credible claims resulting from their work while assigned to Jesuits West or the California or Oregon Provinces; and Jesuits of the former Oregon Province with credible claims already published as part of the Oregon bankruptcy filing. Finally, the list includes Jesuits listed in diocesan bankruptcies or listed by other dioceses.
The West province identified 111 men dating to 1950, including Father Donald McGuire, a serial child sex abuser who spent many years in Chicago. Of those identified on its website Friday, the seven living clergy are housed at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, a retirement retreat that is also where accused priests were transferred to keep them out of the ministry and away from their prey, per the organization’s self-described “Safety Plan.”
Some of the priests and brothers in the list published by Jesuits West have already been named in media reports or by other Roman Catholic entities such as the San Jose diocese, which in October identified 15 priests suspected of abuse. The Oakland diocese had announced plans to release names in November but pushed that deadline back to at least January to conduct a further investigation and notify survivors.
“While there is some overlap between the two lists, the Jesuit list provides a much better picture of Jesuit abusers who worked and/or lived within the Diocese of San Jose,” said a statement issued by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
“Of particular note is that the list shows clearly that Jesuit abusers were sent to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos,” the statement continued. “It should be a concern to the families who live in the residential area around the Center. Parents should be asking themselves what kind of supervision the Order provided in the past, and is providing today, for the dangerous men housed right in the middle of this neighborhood.”
The list contains detailed information about the men accused of abuse, including details of their assignments, the approximate period of the alleged abuse, status within the Society of Jesus and whether the men are alive or deceased.
Religious orders such as the Jesuits are facing increased pressure to release names of those who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse as many dioceses across the country have been forced to do. The release of the list is a beginning and by no means should be considered exhaustive. In many instances, credible claims of sexual abuse against members of religious orders have not been included in published lists in the past. This latest list made public by the Jesuits of the West will inevitably lead to more allegations of sexual abuse and hopefully a change in the current statute of limitations in states such as California. While outgoing Governor Jerry Brown has consistently refused to sign such legislation, it is hoped that new Governor-elect Gavin Newsom will sign legislation affording survivors of priest sexual abuse to pursue justice in the civil courts.
Admitted to practice law in all federal multidistrict litigation courts, the California State Bar and the Florida Bar. His philosophy is to provide aggressive, quality representations and seek fair compensation for individuals and their families who have suffered injury, death, or sexual abuse.