Bishop Jaime Soto responds to Jesuit West Province releasing names of credibly accused priests

Bishop Jaime Soto issued a statement following the decision today by the Western Province of the Jesuit religious order to release the names of Jesuit priests who have been credibly accused of abusing minors:

“Today, the Jesuit West Province released a list of priests from their order credibly accused of child sexual abuse. This list includes 11 priests who served in the Diocese of Sacramento at Jesuit High School, St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish or St. Elizabeth Parish.

“My staff is reviewing this list carefully and will incorporate all the information it contains into the list of credibly accused priests who served in our diocese. We are compiling that list now, and have enlisted the help of an independent auditor respected for her work in protecting children and the vulnerable from abuse.

“The list will include all priests who served in our diocese over the past 50 years, whether they served as diocesan priests or as members of religious orders, including the Jesuit order.

“Regardless of where a priest may have been assigned in the diocese, families in our parishes and schools placed trust in him. The actions described in the list released today represent profound, terrible betrayals of that trust. The evil of sex abuse has caused lasting pain for the victims, and damaged the trust placed in clergy and bishops.

“I am committed to confronting the evil of sex abuse in our past and to atoning for it. A key step in that atonement is a thorough and public accounting of the past.  It is my hope the list being prepared will help in this effort.

“Today, the Diocese of Sacramento adheres to a zero-tolerance policy; any priest credibly accused of abuse of a minor is removed from ministry and law enforcement is notified. We also follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety of children and the vulnerable in our parishes, schools and ministries.  

“Our Churches, schools and other pastoral facilities should be sanctuaries where all God’s people are respected and protected.  

“Let us pray for the victims of sexual abuse and their families.  The wounds are deep and lasting.  Our prayers should always accompany them.”