January 15, 2019
Dear Friends in the Lord,
Hoping to contribute to healing from the pain and anger caused by clergy sex abuse and the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of church leadership, I am making public a list of any Jesuit in the USA Northeast Province who has had a credible allegation of abuse against a minor or vulnerable adult since 1950. The USA Northeast Province is composed of what were separate Provinces at various periods over the past seventy years: Buffalo in the 1960s; New England and New York separately until 2014. This list includes Jesuits who belonged to any of those Provinces.
At the heart of this crisis is the painful, sinful and illegal harm done to children by those whom they should have been able to trust. We did not know any best practices to handle these violations many decades ago and regrettably made mistakes along the way. What winds up being a very shameful history for the Church at large was made clear by investigative reporting in Boston in 2002. It was the subsequent Dallas Charter that was accepted by the US Bishops that allowed us to codify and implement best practices. Under the watchful eye of our accreditation agency, Praesidium, Inc., we have implemented these best practices for more than fifteen years and can be grateful, although no less vigilant, that there have been no new cases of abuse of minors or vulnerable adults in the Northeast Province.
Changed practices do not erase past history. The list I publish today notes criminal and sinful failures in the pastoral care of children. The majority of these allegations were made years or even decades after abuse occurred. This list includes any allegations where the offense was admitted by a Jesuit, or where it was established as credible after an investigation. Any living Jesuit with a credible allegation of abuse is removed from ministry and assigned to a community that does not serve minors where he lives under a closely monitored safety plan. Any case of abuse is shocking and a profound failure. Jesuits who have offended can no longer offend. Safeguards put in place since 2002 help create safe environments for everyone.
On behalf of all of the Jesuits of the USA Northeast Province, I apologize for any of our brothers who have committed crimes of abuse and pledge to work to provide safe environments for all to whom we minister and to offer support and possibilities for healing to victims. I urge anyone who has experienced abuse by a Jesuit to contact Kristin Austin, our Victim Assistance Coordinator at 443-370-6357 or UNEadvocacy@jesuits.org. She will offer both compassion and confidentiality.
These have been trying times for our Church, and the Body of Christ knows the suffering of its Lord in real ways. May we together pray for healing that our wounds may be transformed by the God of love.
In Corde Jesu,
Fr. John J. Cecero, S.J.
Provincial, USA Northeast Province
CLICK HERE for the full list.
CLICK HERE for Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.
CLICK HERE for our Ethics in Ministries Policies.
CLICK HERE for the Provincial's letter in PDF format.
Director of Communications