“The storm that the (Catholic) church experiences today calls forth from us an unprecedented and yet needed response,” Provincial Ronald Mercier said in a statement Friday. “Silence in the face of the events of recent months cannot be an option.”
The region from which the reported accusations - that date back to the 1950s - emanate covers nearly half of the United States. While four of the accused still serve the organization in some capacity, some are deceased and others have left, according to a release from the province.
The accused fall into one of three categories:
Jesuits of the province against whom one or more credible claims of sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult have been made.
Jesuits from provinces against whom there are credible claims resulting from their work while assigned to the province.
Jesuits of the province whose names have been published on diocesan websites or the websites of other Jesuit provinces.
“Words cannot possibly suffice to express our sorrow and shame for what occurred, our promise of prayers for healing, and our commitment to work with them. Caring for these survivors – and preventing any such future events – must be our focus as we move forward,” Mercier added.
On Friday, Jesuits West – which covers 10 western U.S. states – disclosed that there were credible allegations against some 111 priests, brothers or priests in training. While, Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province – which covers 13 states in the central and southern regions of the country, as well as Puerto Rico and Belize – released 42 names.
Midwestern states and Midwest Province are set to release a list of names, in under two weeks.
In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury also released a report that named more than 300 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims over several decades in that state; snowballing debates and investigations.
The Jesuit groups have stated that they now have a zero-tolerance policy regarding instances of inappropriate conduct between a Jesuit and a minor.