In a schoolwide email sent Dec. 17, University President John DeGioia informed the Georgetown community of a Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus report which named over 20 Jesuit priests credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors over the past six decades. The list includes four who spent time at Georgetown: Michael L. Barber, S.J., Martin J. Casey, S.J., Augustine J. Ferretti, S.J., and William J. Walsh, S.J.
“Our community will continue our work to respond to this moment through dialogue, reflection, and action, building on the convenings we held this past semester, ongoing conversations with members of our community, as well as actions taken by official Church bodies to address abuse,” DeGioia wrote. “Our University is deeply committed to preventing and responding to sexual assault and misconduct and to protecting the most vulnerable among us—let us all take part in this responsibility.”
Of the four priests connected to Georgetown, none of the alleged offenses took place at the university and none of the four are still in ministry. Barber was stationed at the Georgetown University Hospital between 1976-1978, Casey served the university from 1997-2006 and the Georgetown Jesuit Community from 1973-1997, Ferretti was assigned to the university from 1944-1947, and Walsh served the university from 1966-1967 and Woodstock Theological Center between 1996-1998.
The abuses from the priests listed in the report spanned from the 1950s to 2002. The list contains all current or former/deceased Maryland Province Jesuits who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor whether or not the abuses occurred while in the Province. None of the priests listed are still in the clergy. According to the FAQ sheet posted on Maryland Province website, “an allegation is deemed ‘credible’ if there is a preponderance of evidence that the allegation is more likely true than not.”
DeGioia’s email made no mention of Cardinals Donald Wuerl and Theodore McCarrick, who both hold honorary degrees from the university. Wuerl was named in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s report on sexual abuse in the Church and resigned as Archbishop of Washington in October. McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals after public allegations that he committed sexual abuse. A petition was delivered in September calling for the revocation of the honorary degrees. There has been no word on the university’s decision regarding the degrees.
Image Credits: Brooke Dudek