Entangled Responsibility

Loyola University Chicago

Project Description

The sexual abuse committed by priests in the Jesuit Midwest Province who were affiliated with Loyola University Chicago was barely mentioned as a part of the university’s history prior to 2022. This is surprising, since one of the most publicized cases of clerical sexual abuse in the U.S. concerned the late former Jesuit priest Donald McGuire. McGuire not only received his Ph.D. from Loyola in 1976, he also taught at Loyola Academy and developed mission and retreat programs in Chicago and numerous other locations. His official posting and address, however, was always Chicago. He officially lived here during the years 2002-2005, when criminal charges were brought against him, and well-publicized lawsuits followed. McGuire was arrested in 2005, and subsequently sentenced to seven years of prison time in 2006. His sentence was increased to twenty-five years in 2009 after he was additionally convicted of a federal crime. McGuire died in federal prison in 2017. But as recently as 2019, a new victim has come forward.

The grant from the Taking Responsibility project allowed for the creation of a publicly available digital documentation of McGuire’s case, as well as of other cases of credibly accused and/or convicted Jesuits who were at one point in their life affiliated with LUC. These documented cases are limited to publicly available information, but they lend the abstract knowledge of “clergy sexual abuse” faces and narratives, and the latter often include stories of failed responsibility by multiple actors, as well as the indifference of Catholic institutions.

The documentation on our website builds upon the officially published lists of Jesuits credibly accused of sexual abuse that were being released and regularly updated by the Midwest Province. These lists were searched for every mention of Loyola University Chicago in order to identify any priests affiliated with the university. The data were then compared with those provided by the Minneapolis law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates that record Catholic priests credibly accused of sexual abuse in all of the United States. In a third step, bishopaccountability.org, an online archive of clerical sexual abuse, was searched. We exambined old course catalogues at the Loyola library in order to find the affiliation and/or position the accused priests held at the university. Research in newspaper archives and some other miscellaneous data repositories rounded out our data collection. In sum, the documentary website details twenty-three cases of Loyola-related priests accused of sexual abuse, with four cases chosen for a comprehensive, in-depth narrative.

Key Findings

With the research complete, the publicly available information on those cases is now more easily accessible and more comprehensive. Some false and/or misleading data was eliminated through cross-referencing sources and reports. Two facts stand out in the overall findings: first, only a few of the twenty-three Jesuit priests who abused minors did so during their affiliation with Loyola, while the documented cases span over six decades. Second, the accused Jesuits can be found at every level of the university, from undergraduate students who would engage in sexual abuse later in their careers, to faculty, campus ministers, or members of the Board of Trustees. 

Another important conclusion from the project concerns Loyola University Chicago itself: sexual abuse by those Jesuit priests affiliated with the University is part of the institution’s history. It ought to be remembered instead of being forgotten. Clergy sexual abuse ought to be recognized as affecting Loyola directly and indirectly, mostly through the close relationship between Jesuit community and the university. Despite being neither legally or morally accountable for the crimes committed by these Jesuit priests, the university ought to develop ways of taking responsibility for the past.

Further Reading/Viewing

1. Entangled Responsibility website, https://entangledresponsibility.com/

2. “Invisibility and Vulnerability: The Institutional Roots of Clergy Sexual Abuse,” a lecture by Doris Reisinger given at Loyola University Chicago as the 2022 Richard A. McCormick, SJ, lecture.

3. Hille Haker, Terence McKiernan (bishopaccountability.org), and Sebastian Wuepper present on “Entangled Responsibility: Clergy Sexual Abuse…and What It Has to Do with Loyola University Chicago” (beginning at minute 58 in the recording.)

Principal Investigators

 Hille Haker, Ph.D., holds the Richard McCormick S.J. Endowed Chair in Catholic Ethics at Loyola University Chicago. She has taught at Frankfurt University (2005 to 2009), and Harvard University (2003 to 2005) and holds a Ph.D (1998) and Habilitation (2002) in Christian Theological Ethics from the University of Tübingen, Germany.  Hille Haker served on several Bioethics Committees, including the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Commission (2005-2015). From 2015-2018, she was the President of Societas Ethica, European Society for Research in Ethics, currently serving on its Board. In Frankfurt, she was a Fellow at the Frankfurt School Institute of Social Research and a member of the Cornelia Goethe Institute for Women Studies. She has published multiple articles and co-edited several books in the field of bioethics and social ethics. She has written four monographs: Towards a Critical Political Ethics. The Renewal of Catholic Social Ethics, Würzburg, Schwabe Verlag (2020); Hauptsache gesund? München, Kösel (2011); Ethik der genetischen Frühdiagnostik, Paderborn, mentis (2002); Moralische Identität. Literarische Lebensgeschichten als Medium ethischer Reflexion (1999). She is currently working on a book on Recognition and Responsibility.

Hille Haker is the project leader of Entangled Responsibility and represents, together with Miguel Diaz, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago for the Fordham University Network Project Taking Responsibility. She works with Sebastian Wuepper on the analyses for the documentation and is responsible for the ethical conceptualization of sexual assaults and abuse. She has worked on the topic of sexual violence and ethical violence for many years.

Sebastian Wuepper, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in history and M.A. in public history from Loyola University Chicago. A native of Berlin, Germany, he wrote his dissertation on nineteenth century German-American Chicago newspapers. He is currently engaged as a collections consultant with the D.A.N.K. Haus German American Cultural Center where he researches post-World War II German immigration. He works on the project as a visiting postdoctoral scholar, responsible for the documentation part of the project, including the historical background research and compiling the case studies of LUC-related cases. He is also developing the project website and provides further public and digital history consulting.