Statement Regarding Jesuit Priests Who Have Been Credibly Accused of Abusing Minors
On December 7, 2018, the U.S. Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) released a list of names of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. They announced that no Jesuit with a credible accusation currently serves in public ministry.
Of those Jesuits listed in the report from the Jesuit Province, four of them previously served in parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Their names are listed below. All four of them are deceased. We have notified the pastors of these parishes so that they can inform their congregations.
Rev. Edward DeRussy, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1990 to 1991. Father DeRussy also served at St. Joseph Parish, Zephyrhills (1991-1997) and St. Benedict Parish, Crystal River. He died in 2001.
Rev. Thomas Hidding, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1993 to 1997. He was removed from ministry in 2002 and died in 2005.
Rev. Austin Park, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1970 to 1976. He died in 2013.
Rev. Norman Rogge, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1960 to 1972 and again from 1973 to 1979. He died in 2009.
For questions about priests who served at Jesuit High School, please contact Father Richard Hermes, S.J., President of Jesuit High School.
For questions about the list of credibly accused Jesuit priests, please contact Fr. Ronald Mercier, S.J., Provincial Superior of the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province.
Any parishioner who is aware of abuse is urged to report the crime to local law enforcement. Parishioners can also contact the Diocese of St. Petersburg Victim Assistance Minister at (866) 407-4505 for pastoral support.
We continue to pray for all people whose lives have been wounded by crimes of abuse. We denounce all forms of sexual abuse by any person or any institution as a reprehensible crime and believe that perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.