(SC Times) Victim sues Abbey, Diocese for its handling of abuse allegations

ST. PAUL – A lawsuit filed Thursday in Stearns County District Court accuses St. John’s Abbey and the Diocese of St. Cloud of creating a public nuisance with their handling of clergy sex abuse allegations against their priests and monks.

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Former priest pleads not guilty to abusing Hastings altar boy

Fr_Fran_HoefgenA priest accused of repeatedly raping a Hastings altar boy in the late 1980s and early ’90s pleaded not guilty in a Dakota County courtroom Friday.

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Jim Harbaugh and (Alleged) Perp Priest Backous

Backous_HarbaughThe results of concurrent investigations by his former employer, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Saint John’s Abbey have yet to be released, but that hasn’t stopped accused monk/priest Timothy Backous from updating his Facebook page to include a photo of himself and San Francisco 49er’s coach Jim Harbaugh. [ Link ]

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Father Tupa’s Web Site Gone, Porn Store Removed

Father Jerome Tupa - a priest from Saint John’s Abbey and the subject of a December 12, 2012 letter [ View ] to Father Bob Rolfes at the Diocese of Saint Cloud – no longer has a web site at jerometupa.com and he no longer sells his art/pornography at https://eelement.appolis.com/jerometupa/ Read More

Regarding The Hunt, Sanner and Wetterling

Patty Wetterling and Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner were featured on CNN’s “The Hunt” on Sunday evening. The show, hosted by John Walsh, featured the Jacob Wetterling story.  [ Link ]

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Backous Out, Licari In, as Trustee at Woodside

According to documents from the Woodside Priory web site, Father Timothy Backous is no longer a trustee at the Portola Valley, CA, school for students in grade six through twelve.

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Moral Theology Textbooks (Backous)

[Webmaster's Note: Rev. Timothy Backous is a credibly accused monk/priest from Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN.]


Moral theology is a constantly changing landscape of serious reflection on how to live rightly, whether as an individual or as a society. New fields unheard of twenty years ago develop, and new voices add theirs to forebears in the tradition. This book is a thorough revision of the editors original, taking into account such phenomena as the emerging field of virtue ethics, the impact of science and technology on sexual and bioethics, and the increasing importance of such issues as environmental concern to social justice. College professors will find this the go-to anthology for a wide selection of primary source readings for their introductory ethics and moral theology courses, and campus ministers will find it a treasury of stimulating, thought-provoking material for student reflection on living the moral life. (Amazon.com)

1997 Version:

Backous_Moral_1997In a world that promotes moral relativity, the Church’s voice remains clear and prophetic.Common Good, Uncommon Questions explores a variety of moral issues. Its collection of Scripture passages, current Church teaching, and contemporary reflections presents a thought-provoking path that leads the reader to consider everything from abortion to the Omega Point. (Amazon.com)

Regarding VAC Roxanne Storms

If you have experienced less than professional conduct by Saint Cloud Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator Roxann Storms, please consider sharing your story.

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Regarding Schulte, Puerto Rico and Rey Rivera

Plaintiff alleges that he “did not have knowledge of the injuries relating to the sexual abuse . . . until June 2010,” after an investigator interviewed him in May 2010 regarding another potential victim of Father Francisco. (Id. at 4.) This investigation led to the execution of Plaintiff’s affidavit of May 7, 2010, detailing the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Father Francisco; Plaintiff filed this affidavit as documentation in support of the habeas corpus petition of Reinaldo J. Rivera, another alleged victim of Father Francisco’s predatory sexual abuse at the boarding school. (Docket No. 41-1.)

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Southern Fried Homicide (Rivera/Schulte)

CSRA serial killer Reinaldo Rivera will be the focus of an episode of “Southern Fried Homicide” on Investigation Discovery tonight. Rivera was convicted in January 2004 of malice murder, three counts of rape, four counts of aggravated sodomy, four counts of aggravated assault, burglary and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime. He was sentenced to death.

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Regarding Michelle Soldo Consulting / Backous

On Monday, I learned that Michelle Soldo, an attorney from St. Paul, Minnesota, is conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Father Timothy Backous.

After viewing a draft of this post earlier today Ms. Soldo wrote, in part, that she is “an experienced and independent fact-finder with no vested interest in the outcome of any investigation I conduct.” While that may be, Ms. Soldo’s findings are reportedly provided only to those associated with Saint John’s Abbey. This is not a recipe for truth and transparency.

[Note: If you have information regarding sexual or any other misconduct Father Backous or any other individual, please contact law enforcement, an attorney or a therapist/advocate before working with anyone associated with the Saint John's Abbey.]

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MPR: Betrayed By Silence

[Webmaster's Note: At least eight monks from St. John's Abbey have ties to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Like the leadership at the abbey, the leadership at the archdiocese knew and covered up abuse for decades.]

(MPR) For decades, the archbishops who led the Catholic archdiocese in the Twin Cities maintained that they were doing everything they could to protect children from priests who wanted to rape them.

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St. John’s abbot reacts to abuse response criticism

(SC Times) COLLEGEVILLE – St. John’s Abbey Abbot John Klassen this week defended his response to clergy sex abuse allegations, issuing a statement that says the abbey strives for transparency and the truth, even when allegations against a monk are unfounded.

A 1,051-word statement from Klassen this week to the St. John’s Prep School community included his “personal reflections” on whether the abbey’s responses to abuse allegations have “fallen short of what is expected.”

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Monk Perpetrator Has Secret Identity… To Sell Online

What message does it send when one of Saint John’s Abbey’s most notorious sex offenders (including alleged acts of sodomy) takes on a new, secret, identity in order to sell flower cards in the abbey’s online store?

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Message from Abbot John Klassen

Dear SJP Community,

Recent news stories about clergy misconduct, and especially those involving monks from Saint John’s Abbey, have prompted questions and concerns from many of the people who care most deeply about Saint John’s Abbey, Saint John’s Prep and Saint John’s University. They have shared with me their disappointment and frustration. In particular, many have questioned whether our responses to allegations of abuse by members of our community have fallen short of what is expected of the Abbey. One alumnus put it directly in a recent letter: “I am asking where is the public voice of Saint John’s as it leads with Benedictine, Christian values…?”

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1969: St. Scholastica and Sexual Abuse (Duluth)

[Webmaster's Note: Benedictine Brother David Hemmerling was the founder and director of the New Direction program from approximately 1966 until 1993. During that time, the program was primarily associated with the College of Saint Scholastica (Duluth, MN), Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, PA) and Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville, MO). In 2012 and 2013, David Hemmerling was interviewed at a nursing home in Missouri on three occasions. Almost twenty New Direction participants and parents were interviewed. At least six victims of sexual misconduct (by Hemmerling) have been identified. Four were interviewed. Former and current Saint Vincent College and Saint Vincent Archabbey personnel were also interviewed. The following is based on those interviews, emails and public information. Except for a short newspaper article, officials at the College of Saint Scholastica and within the Duluth County Attorney's office were able to keep Hemmerling's sexual misconduct a secret, allowing Hemmerling to continue to sexually abuse students at two more colleges.]

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1971: Juvenile Court Used for Adult (Duluth)

Hemmerling was charged with inducing a scholarship recipient to come to Duluth, where, court records show, Hemmerling “did practice sodomy” on the youth … [County Attorney Keith] Brownell confirmed the negotiations were largely to avoid publicity on the case, juvenile records normally are not open.

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1969: “The New Direction” at Saint Scholastica (Duluth)

Recently inaugurated in Duluth was a youth program entitled “The New Direction.” The social and recreational group with no religious or organizational affiliations, The New Direction is composed of high school students and their adult advisors, a number of whom are CSS students. The young people of Duluth participating in the program represent no particular religious denomination, area of residence within the city, or economic status.

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Opinion: DELIVERANCE (Duluth)

The Diocese of Duluth, for its part, produced a letter of recommendation from the Abbot John Klassen, whose flip-flops and vacillations have become legendary. Any eight-year old could tell the Diocese was dissembling and passing-the-buck. Throughout my lifetime any ordinary Catholic approaching the Diocesan Tribunal on a matter of divorce, marriage, re-marriage, baptism, etc., has been required to produce a mountain of documents in support of the case. But, with Timothy Backous, Bishop Paul Sirba accepted one piece of paper from an unreliable source. (Hasn’t the Bishop been paying attention to news-media in the Twin Cities? The Abbot’s credibility has been challenged before the public continuously now for several years.)

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Priest on leave from Essentia, St. Michael’s parish after allegations aired

(Duluth News Tribune) A Benedictine priest has been placed on administrative leave from Essentia Health and has been asked to discontinue assisting at St. Michael’s parish in Duluth after allegations resurfaced that he sexually molested a boy during a choir tour in Europe 25 years ago.

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