The Diocese of Rochester announced March 3 that it had been notified that the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) had received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Father Carsten Martensen, SJ. Father Martensen has been serving in campus ministry at Ithaca College and Cornell University in Ithaca since 2007, the diocesan statement noted.
According to a Feb. 26 letter from Father John J. Cecero, SJ, Jesuit provincial, the abuse allegation dated to the 1970s.
Father Cecero’s letter said the Jesuits’ cautionary protocol calls for the society to temporarily suspend from ministry any Jesuit with a claim of sexual abuse until an investigation is completed and its independent review board makes recommendations.
“Therefore, Fr.. Martensen has stepped down from his current assignments until the review of this allegation is complete,” Father Cecero wrote.
While noting that “an accusation is not deemed credible until a full investigation is complete,” the Jesuit provincial said “the province takes all claims of sexual misconduct seriously, especially when the alleged victim was a minor at the time.”
“We remain committed to the protection of minors and vulnerable adults in the conduct of our ministry and encourage anyone who suspects abuse by any clergy or employee of the province to contact us,” Father Cecero wrote.
In its statement, the Rochester Diocese said it had never received an allegation against Father Martensen during his ministry in the diocese.