Dear Seattle University Community,
Earlier today, the Jesuits West Province released a list of the names of all Jesuits who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults since 1950. The Province, which includes the former Oregon and California Provinces, has responsibility for assigning Jesuits to universities, schools, parishes and other works and ministries in Washington as well as Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.
There are 13 individuals on the list who were assigned at some point in their career to the Jesuit community at Seattle University, most more than four decades ago and none since 1992. All but one is deceased. The names of these individuals have previously been shared by the former Oregon Province under the terms of a legal settlement or otherwise become part of the public domain through legal proceedings and news reports. The full list of names, dates of their assignments and related details can be found here with additional context and information available in the summary of "Frequently Asked Questions."
The Province has also enlisted a former Executive Assistant Director of the FBI and her firm Kinsale Management Consulting to conduct a thorough review of the files next spring. If additional cases of Jesuits with credible allegations are identified, they will be added to the list. The Province encourages anyone who has felt victimized by a Jesuit to contact both Mary Pat Panighetti, advocacy coordinator for Jesuits West, at 408-893-8398, and appropriate law enforcement and child protective agencies.
The release of the list serves the following purposes:
- It reflects a commitment by Jesuits to help survivors and their families find healing through this act of transparency and accountability;
- It reassures those who may have been abused that there are resources and people available to help them;
- It provides an additional step forward from the horrific abuse and the cover-ups that occurred in the past. More broadly, the Catholic Church will need to act to implement additional reforms. The revelations in 2002 in Boston of sexual abuse of minors by priests led to a number of important changes within the Church. Further action is called for as reports of what occurred in Pennsylvania and other areas have come to light in recent months. While the majority of the cases on this and other lists date back decades, we must recognize the seriousness of each with a deep resolve to do everything we can to prevent future abuse; and
- It reminds our students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff of the measures that have been taken and the safeguards put in place by the Province and Seattle University over the past couple of decades. The Province and Seattle University have zero-tolerance policies for sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults and stringent protocols to help ensure their safety.
As a Catholic and Jesuit university, we recognize the special obligation we have and remain firmly committed to the work that has been going on for many years to protect children, support survivors of sexual abuse and combat sexual misconduct. A summary of the policies, initiatives and programs that reflect our commitment can be viewed here.
I know you join me in expressing our support, compassion and hope for the healing of all survivors and their families.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.