Gonzaga students worked at on-campus home of accused priests

gonzaga Gonzaga University. | Matthew Hendricks SCUMATT/wikimedia CC BY SA 3.0

Gonzaga University students were hired to serve as aides at an on-campus retirement home in which lived several priests accused of sexual abuse.

Between 2000 and 2015, students at the university were hired for positions in food service, maintenance, gardening, and direct engagement with residents in the Jesuit retirement home, Cardinal Bea House, at which at least 20 Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse and misconduct were sent to live, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Some student-workers were assigned to accompany retired Jesuits on errands during the course of their employment.

The students in food service positions were hired through the university's employment office. The rest were hired directly by the Jesuit province that had assigned the accused priests to residence at Bea House.

"Before being hired, the students were briefed by the community's superior that there were Jesuits at Bea House on safety plans who were monitored and restricted," Primrose told the Spokesman-Review on April 9. "None of the students reported any inappropriate behavior by the Jesuits to the superior or the nurse/healthcare coordinator who helped supervise their work."

The credibly accused priests living at Cardinal Bea House were reportedly subject to "safety plans" which forbade them from engaging with students, though it is not clear whether they had interaction with the student-workers at Bea House.

From 2003 to 2016, several Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse were housed at the Cardinal Bea House on the campus of Spokane's Gonzaga University, according to a series of investigative reports published in December 2018 by Northwest News Network, and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The sexual abuse accusations against the priests living on Gonzaga's campus were not made known publicly by the university, the Jesuit province, or the diocese. Most of the accused priests were reported to be living at the Gonzaga residence in retirement or due to their declining health.

The house is a residence owned by the West Province of the Society of Jesus, and not overseen by the university.

According to the media reports, at least some credibly accused priests had regular unsupervised access to the university campus and unsupervised visits with students, and were permitted to lead prayer services in other settings, including Native American reservations.

No priests known to have been accused of abuse are now living in the campus house.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.