How to Report an Abusive Priest

I recently shared in Crisis my experience of sexual harassment and misconduct by a Jesuit priest during one of my application interviews to the Society of Jesus.

What surprised me was how there is not a clear-cut path to reporting a harassing and abusive priest.

After several Google searches and moments of frustration, I want to share a guide to help those who wish to report an abusive priest so that they do not have to experience the frustrations that I encountered.

  1. Report the abusive priest to the State Attorney General, the State Department of Justice, and local law enforcement.

Don’t worry about trying to figure out if what happened was a crime, whether or not it satisfies the statue of limitations, or what type of repercussions may occur for reporting abusive.

Even if state or local prosecutors decide not to move forward, what is paramount is the report of abuse is on the record.

2. Contact the local diocese where the abuse took place.

Most dioceses (and hopefully all) have a specific division to report abuse to. One might be hesitant to contact the diocese, especially if there is the potential for the local church to protect the accused priest.

3. If the priest is in a religious order, one must also contact the order.

I hesitated contacting the Jesuits, since my gut told me they would likely protect one of their own.

The Jesuits have a victim advocacy coordinator in many (if not all) of the North American provinces.

The victim advocacy coordinator connected me with a third-party investigator who was a seasoned former law enforcement professional.

For various personal and legal reasons, I will not comment any further on this.

4. For additional support, contact the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

This organization can provide additional advice and support, including group sessions.

If you have experienced harassment and/or abuse by a priest or member with religious standing, I express my sorrow with and for you along with my solidarity. I firmly believe that we who have experienced harm from priests do much good for the Church by reporting such priests. The punishment due to the abusive priests is good and necessary for them and for the Church. Abusive priests deserve the millstone (cf. Matthew 16:8), and they need to be fully removed from ministry and society so that they might not cause further harm. Their solitude with God is needed to experience and express their needed contrition.




Cradle Catholic living in LA with my wife and two sons. Views are my own. I mainly write on Catholic spirituality and Church Social Teaching. Twitter: matt_k007

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Matt Kappadakunnel

Matt Kappadakunnel

Cradle Catholic living in LA with my wife and two sons. Views are my own. I mainly write on Catholic spirituality and Church Social Teaching. Twitter: matt_k007

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