Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by Religious Order Priests (Including Abuse of Adults) Jesuits – The Society of Jesus

Religious OrganizationsThe Society of Jesus – or the Jesuits – is a religious order of priests and brothers within the Roman Catholic religion. The Order was founded by St. Ignatius Loyola in the 1500s. In the United States, the Jesuits are most commonly known for their educational ministries including the assignment of priests and brothers to faculty and administrative positions at some of the most prominent colleges and universities. These include:

  • Boston College located just outside of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Canisius College located in Buffalo, New York
  • College of the Holy Cross located in Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Fairfield University located in Fairfield Connecticut
  • Fordham University – located in New York City (Bronx)
  • Georgetown University – located in Washington DC
  • Le Moyne College located in Syracuse, New York
  • Loyola University located in Baltimore, Maryland
  • St. Joseph’s University located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • St. Peter’s University located in Jersey City, New Jersey
  • University of Scranton located in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Reports of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by Jesuit Clergy

There are many reports of sexual abuse perpetrated by Jesuit priests and brothers – some of which are alleged to have occurred at one of the Universities or Colleges identified above.

One public database of clergy that have been credibly accused of sexual abuse lists more than 300 Jesuit order clergy members as abusers. Jesuit clergy serve in many different capacities throughout the United States, Canada and the World. Some are assigned to Diocesan parishes, some are assigned to humanitarian missions and some are assigned to educational institutions. Of this last group, an example of a deceased Jesuit educator who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse is Fr. J. Donald Freeze, former Provost at Georgetown University from 1979 through 1991.

Fr. J. Donald Freeze (deceased) – Accused of Sexually Abusing Students

Fr. Freeze served as Provost and in other executive positions at Georgetown University. He was awarded an honorary degree from Georgetown in 1991. Recently, former Georgetown students have come forward with reports of sexual abuse perpetrated by Fr. Freeze. In response, the University has established a “Working Group of the Board of Directors” that is responsible for investigating and addressing the allegations of abuse by Fr. Freeze and possibly others employed by the University.

NOTE – “Sexual abuse” includes any form nonconsensual physical contact of a sexual nature as well as exhibitionism.

Other Georgetown Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse

The Hoya, Georgetown University’s oldest and largest student newspaper, reported that 14 clergy members affiliated with Georgetown University were accused of sexual abuse1.

The 14 are:

  • Fr. Engelbert M. Axer, S.J.
  • Fr. Michael L. Barber, S.J.
  • H. Cornell Bradley
  • Fr. Neil Carr, S.J.
  • Fr. Martin J. Casey, S.J.
  • Fr. Augustine J. Ferretti, S.J.
  • Fr. Thomas M. Gannon, S.J.
  • Fr. Jack Kennington
  • Bernard Knoth
  • Fr. Anthony McGinley
  • Fr. Neil P. McLaughlin, S.J.
  • Fr. Daniel C. O’Connell, S.J.
  • Fr. William J. Walsh, S.J.
  • Sr. Lisa Zuccarelli.

Abuse Victims Including Former Students - Contact Us

If you or a family member was abused by Fr. Freeze or other Jesuit priest or brother who was serving at an educational institution in the United States – particularly those identified above - we would like to confidentially speak with you.

To reach us, please complete and submit our CONFIDENTIAL E-Contact Form or send us an email to

1The Hoya, March 15, 2019 “14 Abusive Priests Found in Georgetown’s Past, Present” by Adam Shaham, Will Simon and Will Cassou.


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