NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A local attorney says the Jesuits' release of a list of those credibly accused of child sex abuse is a first step, but he says there’s still more to be done.
The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern published 42 names total; 18 of the men credibly accused of child sex abuse have ties to New Orleans.
At least publishing this list, attorney Roger Stetter says, is a step toward transparency. Stetter is an attorney who represents child sex abuse victims and has settled more than half a million dollars in cases against the archdiocese.
He says what stands out to him about the Jesuits’ published list of credibly accused is that it includes few high-ranking Jesuit leaders.
“I know for a fact that certainly with respect to the archdiocese, that there were high-level priests, seniors, others higher up in the church hierarchy who abused children. None of those people are on any of these lists,” said Stetter.
One of those on the list is former Loyola University President Bernard Knoth. He resigned from the school after being accused of abusing a minor at a school in Indianapolis. One of Knoth’s relatives, who didn’t want to be identified, says he was accused of something that wasn’t true.
“He went through a hearing with Jesuit society and was he was never able to be proven it was true. He was not asked the leave the society. He was in fact, offered another job at Loyola of Chicago,” said the relative.
Stetter says it’s difficult for victims to come forward. Most he says don’t seek help about the abuse until they’re well into their 50′s. Stetter suspects there will be more names published when more recent cases of abuse finally come to the surface.
“Don’t tell me this isn’t going on anymore that isn’t true moreover these children being abused today they don’t blame themselves and they don’t tell their parents,” said Stetter.
Which is why Stetter wants to see more. He says those credibly accused couldn’t have abused children for so long without others helping conceal their crimes, and it’s time to hold them accountable as well.
“The higher-ups who facilitate this who cover it up they’re not mentally ill, they’re running a business for profit and they were more concerned for their profit and power and reputation and they preserve that at the expense of children,” said Stetter.
Stetter said when the archbishop published the list of credibly accused last month, he took on more victims as clients and is working through that case load.
He says he expects the same to happen now the Jesuits have published today’s list.