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Protecting Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults from Sexual Abuse

The California Province of the Society of Jesus recognizes that child abuse, particularly sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, by a member of a religious community is a violation of trust in human relationships, causing harm to victims, their families and their communities. The California Province takes seriously all allegations of child abuse perpetrated by one of its members. Any reasonable suspicion or act of child abuse is reported to civil authorities and investigated. The province seeks to accompany with compassion anyone reporting abuse and to promote the healing of all those harmed by abuse.

Consistent with the principles and directives articulated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops1 and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men2, the province is committed to:

  • protecting children and vulnerable adults from physical and sexual abuse
  • ensuring safe ministerial environments
  • responding promptly, effectively and compassionately to anyone reporting abuse
  • investigating all allegations of abuse
  • complying and cooperating with civil, criminal, Church and diocesan laws and policies on the reporting and investigation of abuse
  • respecting and supporting the individual rights of every person affected by abuse
  • reaching out to victims and others affected by abuse with honesty, compassion and commitment to their physical, psychological and spiritual well-being
  • responding pastorally to those accused of abuse

The California Province has appointed an Advocacy Coordinator to receive all complaints of abuse, make mandated reports to civil authorities and ensure that complaints are investigated. The Province also has established an interdisciplinary review board of professionals to review all allegations of abuse and advise the Provincial throughout the process of responding to an allegation.

ENSURING SAFE ENVIRONMENTS
Since 2003, the California Province has participated in a program of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men requiring all members in public ministry to complete educational programs on understanding and preventing sexual abuse and creating safe environments. The Province also is accredited by Praesidium, an independent and professional accrediting agency that offers accreditation and abuse prevention programs to religious orders in the United States. The Province is accredited through 2016.

HOW TO REPORT ABUSE
If you believe that you or someone you know has been abused by a Jesuit, please contact the California Province through our Advocacy Coordinator, Ms. Mary Pat Panighetti, at 408-893-8398 or at mppanighetti@calprov.org. We also urge you to contact appropriate law enforcement and child-protective agencies if you believe any incident of abuse has occurred.

1 Ad Hoc Committee for Sexual Abuse, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C., 2005/2011; Ad Hoc Committee for Sexual Abuse, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Vatican-U.S. Bishops' Mixed Commission on Sex Abuse Norms, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C., 2006.
2 Annual Assembly, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Philadelphia, PA, August 10, 2002.