PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Jesuits West released a list of Jesuits accused of sex abuse of minors or vulnerable adults Friday morning from allegations dating back 60 years.
Eight individuals previously worked at Brophy College Preparatory School in Phoenix:
-Carlton E. Whitten: Accused of sex abuse of a minor in 2008. Whitton worked at Brophy from 1972-1977 and has been removed from the ministry.
-Edward T. Burke: Accused of sexual abuse of vulnerable adults from 1990-2000. Burke was employed at Brophy from 1958 to 1966 and again from 1970 to 1977. Burke died in 2009.
-Eugene J. Colosimo: Accused of sexual abuse of a minor from 1957 to 1959 and worked at Brophy between 1955 and 1960. Colosimo died in 2006.
-Charles L. Connor: Accused of sexual abuse of vulnerable adults between 1990 and 2000 and worked at Brophy between 1977-1979. Connor died in 2011.
-James T. Monaghan: Accused of sexual abuse of a minor from 1988 to 1989. Monaghan worked at Brophy from 1955-1962 and died in 2004.
-Thomas E. O'Rourke: Accused of sexual abuse of a minor in 1969. He was employed at Brophy from 1975-1993 and died in 1993.
-John R. Shepherd: Accused of sexual abuse of a minor in 1978 and in the 1980s. Shepherd worked at Brophy from 1955-1956 and died in 1991.
-Philip Sunseri: Accused of sexual abuse of a minor in 1986. Sunseri worked at Brophy from 1978-1982 and was dismissed in 1988.
CORRECTION: In a previous version, we listed nine individuals were identified in the release of names. The actual number is eight. We apologize for the error.
None of the people accused who previously worked at Brophy are still employed there.
Brophy College Preparatory School sent a letter home to parents in November about the investigation, seemingly preparing for the possible mention of a priest currently or previously employed at the Phoenix school.
The letter sent from Brophy President Adria Renke makes reference to the investigation by Jesuits West into priests who may have abused minors.
"I write today with a heavy heart to inform you of an impending announcement by Jesuits West Province," writes Renke. "Under the direction of Father Provincial Scott Santarosa, SJ, Jesuits West has been conducting an investigation and will release the names of all Jesuit priests under jurisdiction of the Province who have been found to have credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors since 1950."
"All Jesuit priests missioned to Brophy are assigned through Jesuits West - formerly the California Province of the Society of Jesus - and it is through the Province that a thorough investigation and accounting of accusations has been taking place," writes Renke.
Stan Marks, an Phoenix attorney who was formerly the president of National Crime Victims Bar Association, says it's unfortunately too late for almost any of the victims to take any legal action now.
"It's good that they're announcing an acknowledging that they've abused children in the past. The problem is these are way in the past," he said. Why didn't they find out about this 20 years ago? 30 years ago? And give the victims at least some opportunity of bringing a claim."
The civil statute of limitations in Arizona is 2 years beyond majority, meaning a child who is sexually abused can't file a lawsuit against their abuser once the victim is 20 years old. Only a few of the alleged abuses happened recently enough that there might still be time for civil action; most of the cases were decades ago.
Jesuits West announced the province will undergo an external review to ensure the list is complete and that cases of abuse were handled appropriately.
According to Jesuits West, if the review identifies additional names, the province will release the information to the public.
Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, provincial of Jesuits West, said, "On behalf of the Society of Jesus, I apologize to victims and their families. There is no greater betrayal of pastoral care than the abuse of a minor by someone with a sacred duty to protect and care for the People of God."
If you or someone you know has been victimized by a Jesuit contact local law enforcement. You are also encouraged to contact the province's Advocacy Coordinator, Mary Pat Panighetti at 408-893-8398.
Renke sent the following letter to parents Friday morning after the Jesuits West list was released:
December 7, 2018
Dear Parents, Alumni, Faculty and Staff, Members of the Board of Trustees and Regents, Benefactors and Friends of Brophy College Preparatory, The Jesuits West Province, under the direction of Father Provincial Scott Santarosa, SJ, has released the names of Jesuits who have had credible claims of sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult.
The list dates back to 1950 and includes the names of Jesuits who were missioned to Brophy at one time. None of the Jesuits whose names are listed have served at our school in at least the last two decades, and the persons who served at Brophy are now either deceased or no longer in ministry.
We were not aware of any of these names prior to the Province’s release, and Brophy does not have any information regarding any claims made by Brophy students who were victimized by the Jesuits on this list. I can assure you that no current Jesuits or faculty members are implicated in this issue, and no child is currently at risk as a result of these revelations.
In the spirit of transparency, I am providing the Brophy community with the names of those Jesuits who were missioned to Brophy, and that list is attached below. I repeat my unwavering commitment to a culture of safety and protection for the care of all members of our community, especially our precious children, among God’s greatest gifts.
Brophy has a zero-tolerance policy regarding incidents of inappropriate conduct with minors or vulnerable adults. If a sexual abuse claim should ever be made by a student at Brophy, we would swiftly and immediately report the incident to law enforcement, the appropriate child protective agency and the Jesuits West Province. Brophy would fully cooperate with the investigation and would also provide pastoral, ministerial care to the victim.
If you or anyone you know has felt victimized by a Jesuit or any Brophy employee, please contact law enforcement, child protection, and me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am available at your convenience to assist in any way necessary. The Jesuits West Province also urges you to contact advocacy coordinator, Mary Pat Panighetti, at 408-893-8398 or email@example.com, for further assistance.
Please know of my profound sadness as I share this news, and join me in praying for the healing of the bodies and souls of our precious young people, past and present, who have been wounded so deeply.
On Friday, Jesuits West Province released a statement:
Today the Jesuits West Province released the names of Jesuit priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The list of names is part of a review of records dating back to 1950, which includes the names of Jesuits who were assigned in Arizona. Brophy College Preparatory made an announcement that none of the Jesuits whose names are listed have served at the school in at least the last two decades, and the school has no information regarding claims made against the priests on the list.
The Jesuits West Province and the local Jesuit community have been in communication with the offices of the Diocese of Phoenix.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and the Diocese of Phoenix takes accusations of sexual misconduct seriously and urges anyone who has been a victim of abuse to call a local law enforcement agency. For additional information about support services for those who have been abused, please contact the Office of Child and Youth Protection at (602) 354-2396 or at dphx.org/youth-protection.
If you or someone you know is being abused, please reach out to the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD or go to their website at childhelp.org