Jesuits West Province Announcement from the President
Dear Members of the University Community,
Earlier today, the Jesuits West Province released a list of names of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults since 1950.
In a letter announcing the release of this list, the Provincial of the Jesuits West Province, Scott Santarosa, S.J., said: “On behalf of the Society of Jesus, I apologize to the victims and families who put their trust in a Jesuit, only to have that trust so profoundly betrayed. It is inconceivable that someone entrusted with the pastoral care of a child could be capable of something so harmful. Yet, tragically, this is a part of our Jesuit history, a legacy we cannot ignore.”
Releasing this list is an important step in confronting the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, but it also serves as a painful reminder that this crisis hits close to home. Some Jesuits who are on this list lived in the Santa Clara and Berkeley Jesuit residences. The abuse of power by those invested with a sacred trust has fractured lives and communities, including our own.
To those of you who have known or been impacted by someone on this list and may now be feeling grief or betrayal: I pray for the alleviation of your pain.
To those of you who are experiencing a crisis of faith in these troubling days: I encourage you to pray with your doubts, anger, or confusion, and talk to a trusted friend, mentor, or minister about them as you discern how best to move forward.
To those of you who are concerned about your safety and well-being, or that of your loved ones: I assure you that there are no Jesuits with credible allegations against them living or working on any of our campuses.
I encourage anyone who may be traumatized, or retraumatized, by this announcement to call upon the resources available to them. Current students have access to individual counseling sessions through the Cowell Center. Faculty and staff have access to individual counseling sessions through the employee assistance program. Additionally, I join Fr. Santarosa in encouraging anyone who has been victimized by a Jesuit to contact both Mary Pat Panighetti, advocacy coordinator for Jesuits West, at 408-893-8398 or email@example.com, and appropriate law-enforcement and child-protective agencies.
In addition to confronting the Church’s shameful history, Santa Clara University is committed to contributing to authentic and lasting healing and reform in the Church. In the message I sent on October 8th, I stated that the Jesuit School of Theology (JST) is well-equipped to engage in the theological reflection, spiritual discernment, and communal dialogue needed to propose concrete actions that will address critically and faithfully the urgent needs of this moment. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology, recently shared an update on this response with the JST community, highlighting three tangible initiatives that we have developed in response to this crisis. I invite you to read his letter, and in the coming months, participate in the programs that are available to the Santa Clara University community, as together we move forward through this painful time to build a safer, more just, and loving Church community.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.