National Catholic Reporter reports that Gonzaga University, a Jesuit-run institution in the state of Washington, released a 46-page report on Sept. 1 from its University Commission on Gonzaga’s Response to the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis.
The commission’s work coincided with media reports that detailed a decades long pattern of sexually abusive Jesuits being permitted to live on campus while being shielded from accountability.
The Gonzaga report symbolizes the culmination of more than a year’s worth of commission meetings, presentations at faculty conferences, lectures and open listening sessions for students, faculty and staff where deep reservoirs of community pain, hurt and distrust related to sex abuse in the church and the university’s own complicity in the crisis were made evident.
“We could not and did not want to ignore the reality that this had actually impacted people right here as well,” Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh told NCR in a Sept. 1 interview to discuss the report.
But some Catholics expressed skepticism about the report:
“Just the spectacle of a group of academics entirely beholden to the person they’re advising, for the most part, dancing around the issue; that, I think, is my first takeaway,” said McKiernan, who in an interview with NCR said the report sidesteps uncomfortable questions about the relationship between Gonzaga and the Jesuits’ U.S. West Province.
McKiernan said that by his count, the province had at least 34 men credibly accused of sexual abuse who worked or were housed at Gonzaga’s campus over the years.
“Nowhere in the report, as far as I can see, is there any interest in figuring out who made these decisions, and actually advising or even establishing some kind of accountability about what happened. You just don’t see it,” McKiernan said.
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