With an eye on transparency, Gonzaga is making another move to increase accountability after the Bea House controversy and the release by Jesuits West Province of priests with credible allegations of sex abuse.
In an email to students, faculty and staff Monday, President Thayne McCulloh announced a new commission dedicated to reforming how GU handles issues regarding sex abuse by clergy. Its task is to create a list of recommendations by the end of the fall semester for the university to adopt.
“As I have met and spoken with many people, both within and outside of the university, about these matters it is clear that there is a desire on the part of many for a longterm, sustained effort − one that seeks to more deeply understand and engage in the work of learning what the priest abuse crisis has to teach us as a Catholic and Jesuit university, and the Catholic church as well,” McCulloh said in the email.
The announcement comes after reports in December of priests with safety plans being moved by the Jesuits West Province to live at the Cardinal Bea House on campus as recently as spring 2016.
Shortly after the Bea House revelations, two GU vice presidents — Fr. Frank Case and Fr. Pat Lee — resigned from the university.
The commission will consist of members appointed by McCulloh and nominated applicants. Students, staff, faculty and local residents are encouraged to reach out. To apply, email McCulloh by April 26 and explain the value you would bring to the group.
In February, another university email outlined how the Office of Mission and Ministry was restructuring itself to be more transparent. It additionally announced six events in response to the controversy in which students could ask questions and learn more about sex abuse in the church.