ST. LOUIS — Two Roman Catholic Jesuit provinces that cover nearly half the U.S. released the names Friday of more than 150 priests and other ministry leaders who were found to have “credible allegations” of sexual abuse made against them dating to the 1950s.
In three cases, the allegations involved students of Jesuit High School of Tampa.
- NEWS RELEASE: Province Releases Names of Jesuits with Credible Accusations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor
- NEWS RELEASE: List of Jesuits with Credible Accusations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor
Jesuits West, which covers 10 western states, said its internal investigation found credible allegations against 111 priests, brothers or priests in training who were connected to it dating back to 1950. No one on the list is involved in public ministry any longer, it said.
Hours earlier, the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province, which covers 13 states along with Puerto Rico and the Central American country of Belize, released the names of 42 men who had ties to the province going back to 1955. It said four are still members of the province but are not active in ministry and live in supervised housing.
Many of the men on the two lists have died, and others have been dismissed of ordination, officials said. Most of the men on the lists were priests.
"For three of the names on the list, the allegations involved students of Jesuit High School," according to a letter from school president Rev. Richard C. Hermes.
• Tom Hidding, now deceased, assigned to Jesuit from 1980-1982, prior to his ordination to the priesthood. He was removed from ministry in 2002. He left the Society of Jesus in 2003.
• Francis Landwermeyer, now deceased, assigned to Jesuit from 1962-63, prior to his ordination to the priesthood, and then from 1978-1980, the period from which the allegations stem. He was removed from ministry in 2010. He left the Society and the priesthood in 2011.
• Norman Rogge, now deceased, assigned to Jesuit from 1950-1953, prior to his ordination to the priesthood. He was removed from ministry in 2002. In his case, the events involving a Jesuit student took place while Rogge was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in the 1960s, after his employment at Jesuit.
Hermes also wrote:
"In addition to the numerous steps we have taken to ensure the safety of today's young people, Jesuit High School and the Central and Southern Province have been pro-active in communication with local Bishops to ensure that diocesan lists correspond with records from the Province. It is important to note that it is the Province that makes assignments for Jesuits and keeps their complete personnel records, not Jesuit High School nor any Diocese. We also continue to make every effort to support victims and respect their requests for privacy.
"I am deeply sorry that a letter such as this has to be written. However, the goal is to foster a greater sense of accountability and transparency regarding the grave matter of the sexual abuse of minors. We condemn these actions which have done such serious harm to young people entrusted to the Church's care, and to their families. We continue to pray for healing for all victims of abuse. Finally, we remain vigilant in creating the safest environment possible for our students and the entire Jesuit community."
A third province that covers several Midwestern states, the Midwest Province, is due to announce its own findings on Dec. 17.
The Jesuits are a Catholic order that includes more than 16,000 men worldwide. Jesuits also operate several high schools and universities, including St. Louis University and Marquette University. Jesuits take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and many also take a vow of allegiance to the Pope.
The Jesuits have previously settled lawsuits across the country, including a $166 million settlement involving about 500 abuse claims in Oregon in 2011, which was one of the largest settlements involving clergy abuse allegations.
U.S. Central and Southern Provincial Ronald Mercier, who heads the U.S. Central and Southern Province, said the “storm” facing the Catholic church must be confronted with transparency.
“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,” Mercier said in a statement. “Caring for these survivors — and preventing any such future events — must be our focus as we move forward.”
Jesuits West Provincial Scott Santarosa apologized on behalf of the province.
“It is inconceivable that someone entrusted with the pastoral care of a child could be capable of something so harmful,” Santarosa said in a news release. “Yet, tragically, this is a part of our Jesuit history, a legacy we cannot ignore.”