5 Jesuits with Indiana ties among those accused of sexually abusing minors


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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Five priests with ties to Indiana, including three formerly with Indianapolis’ Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, face allegations of sexual abuse.

The Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus released their names this week. The group said those appearing on the list have had at least one “established allegation” of sexual abuse of a minor since 1955. The organization defined an “established allegation” as a case in which there is “a reasonable certainty that the sexual abuse of a minor occurred.”

Here’s the list of priests with ties to Indiana:

  • Michael E. Dorrier had at least one incident with a minor while at Brebeuf in 1990. He has been permanently removed from public ministry.
  • Benard P. Knoth had at least one incident with a minor while at Brebeuf, where he was missioned from 1986 to 1988. He was dismissed and laicized in August 2009. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis said in October that Knoth was accused of abuse in 1978.
  • Donald O’Shaughnessy faces at least one allegation of sexual abuse. He was at Brebeuf in the 1960s and Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, in the 1970s. He died in 2013. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis said O’Shaughnessy was accused of sexually abusing two minors in 1965.
  • Thomas Gannon is accused of multiple abuse cases in Gary as well as Cleveland and Chicago. He died in 2001.
  • Charles Sullivan faces a single abuse allegation at Our Lady of the Springs Church in French Lick that happened between 1958 and 1959. He died in 1996.

“The Midwest Jesuits take this step in the spirit of transparency and reconciliation. As we look back at our history, the failures of the Society of Jesus and the Church to protect those entrusted to its care fill our hearts with outrage, sorrow and shame. On behalf of the Midwest Jesuits, I apologize to victim-survivors and their families for the harm and suffering you have endured,” wrote the Rev. Brian G. Paulson, S.J., on the organization’s website.

“Many of you have suffered in silence for decades. Our concern and prayers are with you and we hope and pray that this step will strengthen the trust of those we serve. We recognize that our feelings on this day are nothing compared to the depth of suffering endured by those who have been abused, especially by one as trusted as a priest or vowed religious.”

The list includes Jesuits in Indiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and parts of Illinois and Iowa. You can find the full list here.

In October, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis released the names of more than 20 priests facing a “credible” claim of sex abuse involving a minor. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend released a similar list in September.

In August, a groundbreaking report from a Pennsylvania grand jury detailed hundreds of instances of sexual abuse involving priests and minors.

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