Policy for Addressing Allegations
of Sexual Abuse of a Minor1 by a Jesuit
The New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus [the Province] recognizes 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. We will also respond pastorally to those accused of this misconduct.
Consistent with the principles of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, revised June 2011); compliant with 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, 2006 revision); and Improving Pastoral Care and Accountability in Response to the Tragedy of Sexual Abuse (Conference of the Major Superiors of Men, August 2002); and in accordance with canon law and the law of the Society of Jesus, the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus will seek to respond promptly and pastorally to the person bringing the allegation, and promptly to investigate and respond to the allegation.In all circumstances we will always strive toward protection, healing, and reconciliation. To this end, we commit ourselves to:
- Protect minors and vulnerable adults who are at risk of abuse.
- Respond promptly to anyone bringing an allegation or report of sexual abuse of a minor.
- Report allegations or reports of sexual abuse of a minor to the appropriate civil authorities as required by civil law.
- Investigate allegations or reports of sexual abuse of a minor 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 the Province's Review Board for recommendations regarding the disposition of allegations or reports, resolution of inconclusive allegations or reports, and placement of Jesuits with established allegations or reports of sexual abuse of a minor.
- Remove from public ministry assignments those with have been credibly accused of abuse against a minor or vulnerable adult, which includes intentional viewing of child pornography.
- Cooperate with local bishops and diocesan policies regarding sexual abuse of minors.
- Assure that the Provincial and local superior of a Jesuit with an established allegation or report of sexual abuse of a minor have received appropriate confidential information. This includes out-going Provincials and local superiors reviewing personnel matters with their successors, Provincials providing appropriate background information to local superiors when a new assignment is made, and regular review by the Provincial and local superiors of personnel and ministry assignments.
- Provide all our members with the necessary information and training to ensure adherence to this policy, including reception and explanation of the policy and opportunity for clarification; explanation of the obligations for reporting abuse, the Province's investigatory process, and potential civil, ministerial, and ecclesial penalties; and training for appropriate behavior in ministry, including proper ministerial boundaries.
1 This definition of a minor reflects the stipulation of the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (revised June 2011), which state that "for purposes of this Charter, the offense of sexual abuse of a minor will be understood in accord with the provisions of Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (SST), article 6, which reads:
- The more grave delicts against morals which are reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are:
- The delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years; in this case, a person who habitually lacks the use of reason is to be considered equivalent to a minor."
Procedure for Bringing an Allegation or Report Of Sexual Abuse of a Minor by a Jesuit
The New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus takes allegations of sexual abuse seriously and will promptly and thoroughly investigate every allegation and report that is brought to its attention. The Provincial has appointed Ms. Carol Zarinelli Brescia, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, as the Pastoral Outreach Coordinator for the Province. The Pastoral Outreach Coordinator is the person designated to receive allegations and reports of sexual abuse. Ms. Brescia can be reached at 314-915-7168 or by e-mail at her confidential e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Often there exists an overlap of jurisdiction when an allegation or report is submitted. Our goal is to ensure the safety of all persons and respect for the privacy and reputation of the persons involved. Therefore, the Province commits itself to work with the appropriate Church offices or Jesuit institutions in investigating allegations or reports, and will cooperate fully with any investigation by law enforcement.
The New Orleans Province is fully accredited by Praesidium, Inc, an organization providing consultation, risk management assessment, policy development, and training materials for use in preventing sexual misconduct and responding to allegations of sexual misconduct. The Province maintains Praesidium Accreditation through periodic audits by Praesidium's independent auditors.