My alma mater, John Carroll University, recently sent out a letter addressing the current investigations into Catholic Church sex abuse. I am grateful for the time I had at John Carroll and it is a wonderful school. Below is a copy of the letter. I am glad to see the University taking this issue very seriously.
John Carroll University Addresses Catholic Church Clergy Sexual Abuse Allegations
As a valued graduate and friend of John Carroll University, I’m writing to share some important information with you.
This year has been especially difficult for the Catholic Church as it grapples with renewed revelations of sexual abuse of minors by some members of the clergy. As a Jesuit Catholic institution, John Carroll shares in the sorrow, sadness, shame and anger over such behavior as the Church seeks increased transparency.
In the wake of the greatly disturbing Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report returned in the summer, several dioceses and religious orders have released lists of names of other clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors dating back several decades. We expect two such lists for this region to be released soon, one from the Jesuit Midwest Province in Chicago on December 17, and one followed in early 2019 from the Diocese of Cleveland.
We strongly believe that confronting the Church’s painful history with honesty and transparency reinforces our ongoing commitment to the safety and well-being of our students, as well as alumni, faculty, staff and those who visit our campus. Nothing is more important to us.
I want to assure you that we don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, abuse, or misconduct. We take very seriously any report alleging sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct. We have had in place for many years strict policies, procedures and protocols that allow us to respond and investigate promptly, to notify appropriate authorities of any criminal allegations, and to provide support to victims. We continually encourage students, faculty, staff and alumni to report sexual misconduct or abuse allegations to the University, and if the incident involves criminal or potentially criminal behavior, then to law enforcement as well.
As part of our Minors on Campus Policy, faculty, staff and students who interact with minors in University-sponsored programs complete online child protection training. The Province requires mandatory, annual training for all Jesuits, while all clergy must participate in Diocesan VIRTUS training.
We encourage any member of the University community to use one of the options to come forward and report sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct to us, and if the incident involves criminal or potentially criminal behavior to law enforcement as well. Students can report sexual abuse to our Title IX Office or via our Title IX webpage. Our Violence Prevention and Action Center, Title IX Office, and Dean of Students Office have implemented programming to help students, faculty and staff recognize and report sexual misconduct.
If you would like to learn more about the strict programs and protocols in place to help prevent abuse and support victims should it occur, or if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Doreen Riley, Vice President for University Advancement, at [email protected]
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.