Sexual abuse scandal in the Society of Jesus

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The Society of Jesus has had different episodes of Catholic sex abuse cases in various jurisdictions.

Abuse in the United States[edit]

Diocese of Chicago[edit]

Internal church records released in 2013 indicate that the Jesuits of the Archdiocese of Chicago willfully concealed sex crimes committed by Jesuit priest Donald McGuire for more than four decades. A letter written in 1970 by John Reinke, the president of Loyola Academy where McGuire worked, admitted that McGuire's presence at Loyola was "positively destructive and corrosive," but suggested transferring him to Loyola University instead of sending him to treatment or turning him over to the legal system.[1] McGuire was finally tried for his crimes and found guilty of molesting two teenage students in Wisconsin in 2006.[2] McGuire was sentenced to seven years in prison for this, and was later tried and found guilty for another act of abuse in 2009. This time, he was sentenced to 25 years, making it likely that he will die in prison.[3]

Diocese of Fairbanks[edit]

In February 2008, the diocese of Fairbanks announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming inability to pay the 140 plaintiffs who filed claims against the diocese for alleged sexual abuse by priests or church workers dating from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, was named as a co-defendant in the case, and settled for $50 million. The Diocese, which reports an operating budget of approximately $6 million, claims one of the diocese's insurance carriers failed to "participate meaningfully".[4][5][6][7]

Diocese of Portland[edit]

The lawsuits in the Fairbanks diocese have also affected the Jesuit community in the diocese of Portland, given that the Western Province of the American Jesuits is located in the State of Oregon.[8][9]

Diocese of Boston[edit]

In 2002, criminal charges were brought against five Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area of the United States, John Geoghan, Paul Desilets,[10] Paul Shanley, Robert V. Gale and Jesuit priest James Talbot, which ultimately resulted in the conviction and sentencing of each to prison.[11]

Cheverus High School[edit]

In 1998, nine male alumni claimed that they had been molested while attending the Jesuit school Cheverus. Two former faculty members, Jesuit priest and teacher James Talbot and teacher and coach Charles Malia,[12] were accused. The school, located in Portland, Maine, confirmed the abuse and apologized to the victims. The victims also accused both Cheverus High School and the Portland Diocese of hiding information, and that they had previously known about the abuse. Settlements to victims have reached a cumulative seven figures, with ongoing counseling additional. Talbot, who was the former chair of the English Department, and Malia, the former head of the Track Team, have admitted they are guilty. Both teachers lost their jobs at Cheverus in 1998.[13] Before public accusations surfaced that he committed sex abuse at Boston College High School, James Talbot had been accused of molesting a student at Cheverus. [14] On September 24, 2018, Talbot pled guilty to the sex abuse charges in Maine and immediately began serving two concurrent three year prison sentences.[15][16]

List of Accused Clergy in Northeast United States[edit]

On January 15, 2018, the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus released a list Tuesday of 50 priests under its jurisdiction who have been "credibly accused" of sexual misconduct with minors[17] The list includes priests who served in Jesuit high schools and colleges throughout New England, New York and northern New Jersey.[17] However, the list only includes ordained Jesuits and does not include some accused people who were affiliated with the Jesuits.[17] Seven on the list taught at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine.[17] All but 15 of the Roman Catholic priests on the list are dead, and all of the alleged abuse took place before 1997.[17]

Abuse in Germany[edit]

Canisius-Kolleg Berlin[edit]

In 2004 and 2005 two former students of the school told the headmaster of this Jesuit school that they had been sexually abused by two of their former teachers. In December 2009 and January 2010 two other boys contacted the headmaster and claimed the same about the same teachers. The headmaster decided to write a letter to all former students in which he stated that he was deeply sorry for what happened. After receiving the letter several others of the former students contacted the headmaster and said that they too had been abused.

The names of the former students claiming to be sexually abused have been withheld from the public, but the public was told that many of them were notable scientists or held political or economic positions of power. It was also revealed that some of the alumni who had been abused decided to send their children to the Canisius-Kolleg.[18] One of the teachers has spoken out and said the allegations made against him were true, because he really had abused boys. The teachers might not be sued for what they did, because it seems that in most cases the statute of limitations has passed, but the abused boys want them to apologize.[19]

An investigative report detailing allegations of substantial abuse was released in 2010.[20]

Jesuit College of Sankt Blasien[edit]

In 2010, Padre Wolfgang S. admitted to several acts of sexual abuse of minors during his years as a teacher in Sankt Blasius from 1982 to 1984. Prior to that he had taught in another Jesuit college in Berlin (Canisius-Kolleg) where he had also molested children. The order in 2010 concedes that upon discovery, his superiors did provide help for him to emigrate to South America. Other cases of sexual abuse of minors in the Jesuit order have also been reported lately and are being investigated. As of February 2010, it seems that all cases have become time-barred.[21]

Abuse in Latin America[edit]

Affair in Chile[edit]

Rev. Stefan Dartmann disclosed that the same abusive teacher in Germany had been guilty of similar crimes in Jesuit schools in Chile and Spain.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brachear, Manya (22 May 2013). "Chicago Jesuits hid sex crimes". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Community Notification Statement - Former Jesuit priest Donald J. McGuire". Diocese of Phoenix. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  3. ^ Schulte, Sarah (11 February 2009). "Former priest sentenced to 25 years". ABC 7 News. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Fairbanks Catholic Diocese filing for bankruptcy". WorldNow. 2008-02-15. Archived from the original on 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2008-03-03. More than 150 claims were filed against the church for alleged crimes at the hands of clergy or church workers between the 1950s and 1980s.
  5. ^ United Press International (2008-02-15). "Diocese of Fairbanks plans bankruptcy". ArcaMax. ArcaMax Publishing, Inc. Archived from the original on July 20, 2009. Retrieved 2008-03-03. Robert Hannon, who serves as a special assistant to Bishop Donald Kettler and is the diocesan chancellor, told the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News that officials believe bankruptcy is the fairest way to compensate victims.
  6. ^ Baldino, Megan (2008-02-15). "Diocese of Fairbanks to file for bankruptcy". CNA. Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2008-03-03. The negotiations allegedly failed because one of the diocese's insurance carriers did not "participate meaningfully." ... Robert Hannon, chancellor and special assistant to Bishop Donald Kettler, said bankruptcy would provide a way for church assets to be distributed fairly among abuse victims.
  7. ^ "Diocese hopes to continue operations despite Chapter 11 petition". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20.
  8. ^ More than 500 abuse victims’ claims filed in Jesuits’ Oregon Province bankruptcy case
  9. ^ Jesuits' Oregon province, facing abuse lawsuits, files for bankruptcy at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived 2009-03-11)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Boston Globe / Spotlight / Abuse in the Catholic Church / Scandal and coverup". The Boston Globe.
  13. ^ "Boston Globe / Spotlight / Abuse in the Catholic Church / Scandal and coverup". The Boston Globe.
  14. ^
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  17. ^ a b c d e
  18. ^ Die Zeit: "Canisius Kolleg - 17 Schüler berichten von sexuellem Missbrauch". 29.1.2010
  19. ^ Susanne Vieth-Enthus: "Schüler an Jesuiten-Gymnasium jahrelang missbraucht" 28. January 2010
  20. ^ "Report Outlines Abuse Claims at German Jesuit Schools" article by Judy Dempsay in The New York Times May 27, 2010
  21. ^
  22. ^ Jesuit coverup of sex abuse on two continents