A recent report from a prominent Catholic organization offers details about dozens of priests accused of sexual abuse who rotated through Alaska over several decades.
The Jesuit West Province includes oversight of clergy associated with the Catholic order serving communities in Alaska, as well as nine other states. In a lengthy document released on December 7th, more than a hundred priests from the implicated diocese are named, along with details about where they were placed when abuse is alleged to have occurred. The records go back to 1950. An accounting by the Anchorage Daily News found that 33 of the named priests had been appointed to at least one community in Alaska, and in most cases multiple small rural towns and villages, predominantly in the western part of the state.
The authors of the Jesuit West report caution that their investigation was not thorough. They list incidents when a claim of sexual abuse against a child or vulnerable adult was made, and where it likely took place. Many of those allegations came to light as part of court filings, but do not represent guilty convictions in civil or criminal cases. Most of the accusations emerged after priests died. It’s also likely the abuse claims from survivors in Alaska and elsewhere are under-reported.
In order to have a more accurate portrait of abuse by priests, Jesuit West says its files will be reviewed by an independent consultant in the spring of 2019.