We are no strangers to the institutional failure of Jesuit leaders in Chicago and nationwide. The Jesuits (also known as the Society of Jesus) routinely conceal predator offenders and protect their priests and put them before the safety of children.
Yesterday we learned of charges against another Jesuit priest after he was arrested in Chicago by the FBI. Father Richard James Kurtz is charged with sexually assaulting a boy 10 years ago in Colorado. While the Jesuits claim that after hearing of the abuse they reported to civil authorities and restricted Kurtz’s ministry, Kurtz’s facebook profile suggests that up until recently he had access to kids. According to Kurtz’s facebook, from October 2008 to October 2011 he worked at the Columbiere Retreat Center in Clarkston, Michigan, which hosts youth retreats and children’s choir and band groups. Unfortunately, Kurtz’s case is another reminder of how the Jesuits, despite knowledge of egregious, offender priests, endanger children by keeping the priests in ministry.
The case of Donald McGuire demonstrates the great lengths the Jesuits will go to protect their own. The Jesuits knew in the early 1960s that McGuire was engaged in sexual misconduct but chose to keep him in ministry. Even after the Archdiocese of Chicago suspended McGuire in 2003 because of allegations of abuse, the Jesuits, calling the Archdiocese’s actions “regrettable” and “extremely unfortunate,” reassigned him. McGuire was convicted of sexual assault in 2006 and finally, 45 years after the first report of sexual abuse, the Jesuits dismissed him.
This June, on behalf of three courageous survivors of sexual abuse by Donald McGuire, we asked the court for permission to seek punitive damages against the Jesuits. The court granted the motion, allowing us to seek punitive damages to punish the Jesuits for their reckless behavior and to make sure this conduct is never repeated.
If you or someone you know suffered abuse from a Jesuit priest, we are familiar with the Jesuit order and we can help. We are licensed in Colorado and Illinois, where we know Kurtz sexually assaulted at least one minor, and we have years of experience working with survivors to bring the Jesuits to justice.