How the nationwide release of names of Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Catholic priests who served in Utah in the 1980s are named in new lists outlining credible abuse allegations against Jesuit leaders.

The Diocese of Salt Lake City was already aware of allegations against Father Raymond Devlin and Father Edward J. Konat, and the priests were removed from public ministry soon after victims came forward, according to Jean Hill, government liaison for the diocese.

“The Diocese of Salt Lake City is committed to protecting children. Sexual misconduct by church personnel is an affront to human dignity and the mission of the church,” reads a press release from the diocese issued Friday.

The alleged abuse occurred in the 1980s, but was not reported until years later.

Father Devlin was reported in 1990, and he was then barred from performing marriages or baptisms, leading public masses, hearing confessions and performing other priestly duties. He is named on the Jesuits West Province list of credibly accused priests, which was released Friday. Father Devlin died in 2011.

Father Konat was not accused and removed from public ministry until 2002. He will be named on the Jesuit Midwest Province list, which is expected to be released on Dec. 17. Father Konat left Utah in 1985.

Both priests were Jesuits, which means they were ordained by the Society of Jesus, a Catholic order known for founding schools like Georgetown University and its vow of poverty. Jesuit priests serve at the permission of a local bishop, but they’re also under the jurisdiction of Jesuit leaders, Hill said.

The Catholic Church has been under scrutiny regarding its treatment of sexual abuse allegations for decades, but a Pennsylvania grand jury report, released in August, brought renewed attention to the problem. The report outlined abuse allegations against more than 300 priests and involving around 1,000 victims.

Since August, Catholic groups and dioceses across the country have released lists of priests who were credibly accused of sexual assault in an effort to be more transparent.

“The question now, in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, really is one of trust. Can we trust that the church is actually taking care of this issue and keeping people safe? One sign of trust is asking if leaders can be transparent,” said Father Scott Santarosa, head of the West Province of Jesuits, of which Father Devlin was a part, to America magazine in November.

The Diocese of Salt Lake City’s list, released Sept. 14, outlines credible allegations against 16 priests, one religious brother and one seminary student, which involved around 34 victims, as the Deseret News reported at the time.

“In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, we take our sacred responsibility of protecting our children very seriously. We are saddened by and ashamed of the sexual abuse scandal in our church,” wrote Bishop Oscar Solis, who leads the diocese, in a message accompanying the list.


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Bishop Solis held a discussion this fall with Utah Catholic leaders on preventing and responding to sexual abuse and will take part in a summit on the issue hosted by Pope Francis in February.

Friday’s press release from the diocese encourages victims of clergy sexual abuse to reach out to Sandy Growe, victim assistance coordinator, at (801)328-8641 ext. 344.

“Anyone who has been a victim of abuse or exploitation by clergy, religious or lay church personnel and has not yet reported it is encouraged to do so,” it reads.