Policy for Addressing Allegations of Sexual Abuse by a Jesuit
The Jesuits of the U.S. Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus recognize that sexual abuse by a member of a religious community constitutes a profound violation of trust in human relationships and can cause devastating pain and damage for the abused and their families, the local communities involved, and the Church at large. We will strive to accompany with compassion those who have been hurt by sexual abuse.
When an allegation is made against a Jesuit, the Central and Southern Province will seek to respond promptly and pastorally to the person bringing the allegation, and a Review Board will promptly investigate and respond to the allegation.
In all circumstances we will always strive toward protection, healing, and reconciliation.
Our policies are consistent and compliant with:
- the principles of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, June 2002);
- Instruments of Hope and Healing (Standards of Accreditation, CMSM);
- the directives of the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, approved by the Congregation for Bishops, December, 2002);
- canon law and the law of the Society of Jesus.
To this end, we commit ourselves to:
- Protect children and other vulnerable persons (i.e. those incapable of looking after their own rights and interests) who are at risk of abuse
- Respond promptly to anyone bringing an allegation of sexual abuse
- Report allegations of sexual abuse to the appropriate civil authorities as required by civil law
- Investigate allegations of abuse in cooperation with civil law, in accord with Church and Society law, and with respect and consideration for the rights of all persons involved.
- Reach out with pastoral care, concern, and honesty to the alleged victims and their families
- Consult a Review Board made up of mental health and law enforcement professionals for recommendations regarding the disposition of allegations. For more information on our our Review Board, please see our policies for protecting children and responding to allegations
- Remove from public ministry assignments those who have been credibly accused of abuse against a minor or vulnerable person
- Cooperate with local bishops and diocesan policies
- Assure that the provincial and local superior of a credibly accused Jesuit have received appropriate confidential information
- Provide all our members with the necessary information and training to ensure adherence to this policy.
In accord with the documents listed above, it is the policy of the province that when even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult is established by an appropriate process in accord with canon law and the law of the Society of Jesus, the offending Jesuit will not serve in active ministry or hold a position working in proximity to minors or vulnerable adults.
View our policies for protecting children and responding to allegations. A downloadable summary is available here. See our guide for people who report sexual abuse or misconduct.