AURORA, Colo. — Catholic Jesuit provinces covering much of the United States have begun releasing names of hundreds of Jesuits who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse dating back to the 1940s.
The list includes 13 Jesuits who worked in Colorado, including 8 at Regis Jesuit High School, now located in Aurora.
“What we’re looking at now is the tip of an iceberg,” says Jeb Barrett the Denver leader of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).
Barrett says it’s not uncommon for victim-survivors to wait years to share their stories. In fact, he says he waited years himself.
“I didn’t touch on my own abuse until I was 63 years old,” he says. “I never even told my parents.”
Barrett says he was abused by a number of people in power he trusted, including a priest in Montana.
“That freaked me out. A supposed man of God was doing those things and it involved me, and I lived with that shame for a long time.”
Barrett moved to Colorado in 2004 and has spent the past 14 years counseling victims of similar assaults.
In a letter to the Regis Jesuit community, President David Card said two Jesuits on the list, Mark A. Clark, SJ and Paul C. Pilgram, SJ, had allegations related to Regis Jesuit students.
Barrett says it’s likely there are more victims who haven’t come forward.
“The more states that are publishing names, the better it is,” he says. “There are more that we call ‘hidden predators.’ They’re like mine fields that could explode at any time and grab the kid.”
Barrett is hoping those who haven’t yet come forward find the strength to do so.
“It shouldn’t happen,” he says. “All we can do is try to protect the next generation.”