Taking Responsibility:

Jesuit Educational Institutions Confront the Causes and Legacy of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Keynote Plenary Panel

Thursday April 21, 2022

5:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Register here to receive Zoom link

Fordham faculty, staff, and students may attend in person on the 12th floor of the Lowenstein building. Due to Covid regulations, all others are asked to attend via zoom. There will be opportunities for both the online and in-person audience to submit questions.

This panel features five distinguished speakers addressing the core questions of the Taking Responsibility project. They will help us ask how to confront and handle the history of clerical sexual abuse and its many legacies in the present. This event brings together one of the foremost researchers on clerical sexual abuse in the United States; a Jesuit who is also a survivor of clerical sexual abuse and whose research is directed at the crisis; two well-known writers who are survivors and who have deep ties to Jesuit educational institutions, including Fordham; and the director of a major Truth and Healing initiative at a Jesuit-sponsored high school for Native American students. From their own perspectives, each member of this group will reflect on the long and recent history of the sexual abuse crisis. We are honored to host these colleagues as they address the pressing question what it means for today’s Jesuit institutions (and their employees, students, and graduates) to take responsibility for addressing and redressing the bitter legacy of clerical sexual abuse.


Karen J. Terry is a Professor in the Department Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and on the faculty of the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She holds a doctorate in criminology from Cambridge University. Her primary research interest is sexual offending and victimization, particularly abuse of children in an institutional setting. She was the principal investigator for two studies on sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in the U.S.

Gerard J. McGlone, SJ, PhD, is a senior research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. Previously he was an assistant professor of psychiatry in Georgetown University’s School of Medicine. Most recently, he was the associate director for protection of minors for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. He was also recently the chief psychologist and the director of counseling services, as well as faculty and staff psychologist, at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He has been executive director at several major treatment centers for clergy and religious in the United States, including the Saint John Vianney Center.

Donna Freitas, PhD, is a Brooklyn-based author of fiction and nonfiction. She has recently published Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention, about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her professor (also a Catholic priest) while getting her Ph.D. at the Catholic University of America, and is a researcher on topics related to sex on campus, Title IX, and sexual assault, as well as social media and young adults. Her work on these topics has appeared in assorted academic venues as well as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The LA Times, and she has taught at Boston University and Hofstra University. She presently teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s MFA in Creative Writing.

Paul Elie is a senior fellow in Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He is the author of two books, The Life You Save May Be Your Own (2003) and Reinventing Bach (2012), both National Book Critics Circle Award finalists, as well as dozens of essays, articles, and reviews. A third book, Controversy, about the arts and religion in the 1980s, is forthcoming. As an undergraduate at Fordham – class of 1987 — he was a Presidential Scholar and a member of the Honors Program. At Georgetown, he is the curator of the Faith & Culture conversation series, hosted since 2008 by the Office of the President.

Maka Black Elk is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation and the Executive Director for Truth and Healing at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, SD, a former Indian boarding school founded and sponsored by the Jesuits. He holds a BA from the University of San Francisco and MAs in Peace & Human Rights Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College and in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame. He was a teacher and an educational administrator at Red Cloud before taking on his current role. A descendent of boarding school survivors, Maka also has served as chairperson of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network and the secretary of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, and advocates for truth and healing in Catholic ministries and schools serving indigenous peoples.