Dear SLUH Community,
I write today with a heavy heart to inform you of an announcement by the U.S. Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus. Under the direction of Father Provincial Ron Mercier, SJ, the Province has released the names of all Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics under the jurisdiction of the Province who have been the subject of credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors during the period from the 1930s until the present.
This release of names – to be reviewed and further vetted in the coming months by Kinsale Management, an independent consultant retained by the Province – includes five Jesuits who were assigned at SLUH during their alleged abuse and seven Jesuits who served at the school during their ministry, although at this time they have not been accused of any abuse at SLUH or in relation to any SLUH students. All Jesuits missioned to our school are assigned through the U.S. Central and Southern Province (formerly called the Missouri Province) of the Society of Jesus.
These credible instances of abuse associated with SLUH began in the 1960s, from what we now know, with the most recent occurrence in the early 1990s. While three of the Jesuits connected with abuse at our school are deceased, be assured that if there ever were an investigation, we and the Province will fully cooperate with law enforcement in pursuing justice regarding any credible allegation of abuse at SLUH, and we will fully cooperate with the review by Kinsale Management.
The history of clergy abuse is an outrage. As a father, an educator, a long-time coach and Catholic, my heart bleeds for those affected by sexual abuse at SLUH and nationwide, regardless of the time or era. The pain is very much with us today, even if the abuse occurred decades ago. Many victims have suffered in silence for a long time, and they need our full support as they seek justice and healing.
Nothing is more important than the well-being of our students. SLUH operates under strict policies and guidelines, which are regularly reviewed and improved upon, to ensure a safe and secure environment for students. We are vigilant in prevention and reporting with a keen sense of awareness and effective operational structures to protect our student.
If anyone in our community has experienced abuse at SLUH or in connection with the school, or knows of any other such inappropriate conduct, they should contact local law enforcement or call the Missouri Department of Social Services Child Abuse Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738. SLUH also encourages anyone with experiences or knowledge of abuse in connection with the school to contact Carol Brescia, LCSW, the Province's victim assistance coordinator. Ms. Brescia is a therapist who has experience working with victims and survivors of trauma and can reached confidentially at 314-915-7168 or at email@example.com.
You have my unwavering commitment that SLUH will continue to be transparent and do absolutely everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. We cannot allow the darkness to carry this important moment. We must act and bring the light and goodness of our important mission through immediate responses, openness and action for the good of our school, our Church and the young men entrusted to our care.
Please join me in praying for healing within the Church and, most of all, for the healing of any precious young people who may have been wounded by such abuse and in many cases have lived in darkness and pain for too long. Let us be resolved in our faith to seek justice, care for the wounded and commit to the healing message of the Gospel.
Statement from Fr. Ronald Mercier on the Release of List of Accused Jesuits
Protecting the Vulnerable: Province Release of Names of Accused Jesuits (Q&A)
List of Jesuits with Credible Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
Province Safe Environment Policies and Procedures
Instilling a Safe Environment at SLUH
Jesuits with Credible Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor
List released by the U.S. Central & Southern Province of the Society of Jesus
The following Jesuits were assigned at SLUH during the timeframe of their alleged abuse. If they were still present at the time a credible allegation was revealed, immediate removal from the school was taken.
- John Campbell, SJ (deceased)
- Dennis P. Kirchoff, SJ
- George M. Pieper, SJ (deceased)
- Paul C. Pilgram, SJ
- Richard H. Witzofsky, SJ (deceased)
The following Jesuits served at SLUH during their ministry, although SLUH is not aware of allegations of any abuse at the school or in relation to any SLUH students:
- Francis X. Cleary, SJ (deceased)
- John W. Hough, SJ
- Francis J. Kegel, SJ (deceased)
- Phillip D. Kraus, SJ
- James L. McShane, SJ (deceased)
- Patrick H. O'Liddy, SJ
- Anthony J. Short, SJ
If you have any questions, please contact Therese Meyerhoff, Director of Communications at the U.S. Central & Southern Province of the Society of Jesus, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All are welcome to attend a special Mass on Sunday, December 16 at 10:30am at St. Francis Xavier College Church at Saint Louis University. The Mass, celebrated by Father Provincial Ron Mercier, SJ, will be followed by a gathering at noon in the parish ballroom with remarks from Father Mercier.