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SOS Abuse Unit

Un chemin

Listening to you

The SOS Abuse Unit set up by the Brothers of Saint John welcomes any testimony against a Brother of Saint John and assesses the measures to be taken.

To report a case of sexual abuse to this unit, please contact us directly by e-mail at the following address:

We strongly encourage you to report such cases to the courts.

In the case of sexual abuse of minors, we remind you that a report must be made either to a police station or directly to the Public Prosecutor.

Processing cases of abuse

Complaints are handled by a unit composed mainly of people from outside the Congregation and chaired by a magistrate. This unit has two functions. Firstly, to receive testimonies and complaints, and to offer people the opportunity to be heard directly by two members of the cell. Secondly, to advise the Prior General on the action to be carried out. It is up to the relevant state and/or canonical authority to follow up the matter, leading possibly to a judgement and the appropriate sanction.

Origins of the SOS Abuse Unit

In the spring of 2024, the “SOS Abuse Commission” was renamed the “SOS Abuse Unit” to better reflect the terms used by the Church and to mark its continuity.

The establishment of this commission, in order to facilitate the reception of testimonies, is one of the many actions put in forwards by the Brothers of Saint John following the revelations made by the Congregation back in 2013.
Created in 2015, the commission was originally made up of three brothers, including a canonist. Since 2019, it has been composed of a psychologist, two jurists – one a magistrate and the unit president, the other an honorary lawyer, both canonists – lay people independent of the Congregation, another lay person and two brothers, none of whom belong to the Congregation’s government.

Milestones of the SOS Abuse Commission

– March 2015: institution. Composed of three brothers.
– September 2016: addition of 3 new members, including lay people from outside the Congregation: a psychologist and a lawyer.
– November 2018: creation of the address to encourage direct referral to the commission.
– February 2019: request from the Prior General for a critical review of the commission’s operations by Ms. Ségolaine Mogg, Director of the National Service for the Protection of Minors at the French Bishops’ Conference.
– April 2019: the commission’s first report, made public.
– September 2019: appointment of a lay president from outside the Congregation, Mr. Olivier Echappé, magistrate and academic, advisor to the Cour de Cassation (Supreme French Court), and two brothers who are not members of the Congregation’s government.
– February 2023: agreement with the CRR (Commission Reconnaissance et Réparation / Recognition and Repair Commission).

Request for forgiveness – Commitment to reform – First report of the SOS Abuse Commission

The government of the Brothers of Saint John has begged the victims’ forgiveness for the wounds caused by the perpetrators and for past shortcomings in reaction and decision-making. This provoked a painful recognition that led the Congregation to implement further measures to prevent and manage situations of abuse, and to initiate important reforms for the Congregation.

The commission has issued a first activity report for the 2019 General Chapter.
“This report, which we wished to have ready for the General Chapter, is both proof of the distressing evil that has affected our community and proof of our determination to eradicate the evil at its roots. In turn, as the newly elected Prior General, I say sorry in the name of all the Brothers of Saint John to all those who have been hurt by our founder or by a brother,” said the Prior General, Brother François-Xavier.

In February 2023, the work of the SOS Abuse Commission is strengthened by the establishment of a partnership with the CRR founded by CORREF (Conférence des Religieux et Religieuses de France / French Conference of Religious).

In June 2023, the Brothers of Saint John published the report of the interdisciplinary commission “Understanding and Healing”. This three-part report (historical, theological, psychological and systemic) presented by a joint commission is an important step in understanding and analyzing the Community’s past. It allows us to analyze the essential means for pursuing the Congregation’s reform.
In July 2023, Brother François-Xavier Cazali, Prior General, addresses an “Open letter to the victims, especially those who have not come forward”.
The Brothers of Saint John remain totally determined to do everything in their power to prevent any kind of abuse.

Partnership with the CRR

On November 19, 2021, CORREF voted unanimously to set up an independent Commission for victims of sexual abuse by religious. It is staffed by a president, Antoine Garapon, a former magistrate and former member of the CIASE, by a general delegate and a team of commissioners with multidisciplinary skills.

The CRR has been given 4 missions which apply within the scope of religious members of CORREF only:
– To provide a forum for listening, dialogue and recognition for anyone who has been victimized by a member of a religious institute.
– Guarantee a process of reparation: offer a process of mediation, or even adjudication, with the institute in question.
– Create a center for archives, resources and research.
– Raise awareness on the subject of sexual abuse committed within the Church to help prevent it.

On February 10, 2023, the three institutes of the Saint John Family (Brothers of Saint John, Apostolic Sisters of Saint John and Contemplative Sisters of Saint John) signed an agreement establishing a framework for collaboration with the CRR.
The CRR can be contacted directly at the following address:

Delve a little deeper

What are the Brothers of Saint John doing to combat abuse?

Go to the Reforms and prevention against abuse page
Read An open letter to victims - July 7, 2023
Download the letter from the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life - February 18, 2019
Download the Brother Thomas’ letter - February 20, 2019
“侵犯求救”委員會進度報告 2019 年 5 月代表大會
Letter of his Hiliness Pope Francis to the People of God, 20 August, 2018