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Dear St. Paul’s High School community members,
Today, after a comprehensive audit and investigative process, the Jesuits of Canada released the names of Jesuits who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The list goes back to 1950. The Jesuits hope that this act of accountability and reconciliation will help victims and their families in the healing process and continue to seek forgiveness from all those who have been hurt by this profound betrayal of pastoral care. The Jesuits believe that it is the right thing to do to promote institutional transparency and accountability, an important step to help correct the causes of the crisis.
I am incredibly saddened to learn that two Jesuits who worked at St. Paul’s High School are named on this list. They are:
Father George Topp, S.J. – teacher from 1968 – 1974
Father John Pungente, S. J. - teacher from 1964 – 1967, 1971 – 1976, principal from 1976 – 1983
It is with deep sorrow that I share these names and I painfully recognize the life-long impact that the trauma of abuse has on the victims.
St. Paul’s High School remains committed to providing a safe and supportive learning and growth environment for all our students. While we cannot change the past, I want to assure our students, parents, alumni and community that we are and have been dedicated to doing everything we can to prevent abuse.
St. Paul’s has long-established policies in place for reporting, investigating and preventing abuse and we work in cooperation with authorities, as required. All staff and coaches must undergo a Police Information Check including a Vulnerable Sector Search as well as a Child Abuse Registry Check. These checks are renewed every three years. All staff have received certificates in Respect in Schools/Commit to Kids training and all our coaches have certificates in Respect in Sports. In addition, we have collaborated with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to provide learning opportunities for our students, faculty and staff.
We have a team of trained counsellors who build long-term relationships with students to ensure they have a safe space to have open dialogue and seek support whenever needed. Students are supported in reporting incidents of abuse and are provided with the necessary resources. St. Paul’s High School strongly encourages any victims of abuse to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency in the location where the abuse took place.
For reports of abuse involving Jesuits, victims are further encouraged to contact Mr. William Blakeney, the Province’s delegate for allegations of misconduct. He can be reached confidentially via email at email@example.com, or in writing to the Jesuits of Canada, 25 Jarry St W, Montreal, QC H2P 1S6.
Once again, I want to express my deepest sorrow to the victims. St. Paul’s High School is guided by the principles of compassion, respect and dignity for all people. As a community of faith and learning, we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our school is a safe and welcoming place for all students and our community at large.
I ask our community to join me in prayer for the victims who have been gravely harmed by those who betrayed the trust placed in them. May the Lord grant that all harmed by abuse find peace. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Mr. Kevin Booth ‘78
St. Paul’s High School
Click HERE to read full statement from the Jesuits of Canada Province.