“The abbey’s own statements reflect knowledge of Schulte’s misconduct since 1992. The fact that the abbey has failed to reach out to victims of Schulte even while calling on victims of other monks to come forward represents unprecedented deception and hypocrisy.”
On May 19, the St. Cloud Times reprinted St. John’s Abbey’s statement regarding the Rev. Francisco Schulte. The ease with which the abbey attempted to deceive a worldwide audience via its website is shocking unless, like a growing number of people, you expected it.
The abbey’s “Statement on Father Francisco Schulte” is contradicted by its own historical account, as chronicled in its Abbey Quarterly publication and other publications.
It is untrue that, “From that time (1992) through June of 2002, Father Francisco was living at Saint John’s Abbey with ‘prudent, non-risk’ limitations on his ministry.”
According to three different Abbey Quarterly reports from that time, Schulte was in Rome in September of 1992 and did not return from Rome until February of 1994. When he did return, he taught college students in the School of Theology and worked “in diocesan locales in multicultural ministry.”
Also, according to a Sept. 4, 1997 report in the St. John’s University Record, Schulte was subprior at St. Augustine’s Monastery in the Bahamas, where he worked with young oblates. St. John’s seemed proud to report in a 1998 Abbey Quarterly that a, “new area of service is (Schulte’s) ministry to the local Spanish-language community in the Bahamas.”
When Schulte returned from the Bahamas he, along with the Rev. Allen Tarlton — who also faces allegations of abuse — had access to a group of young men in the oblate program (“Students at CSB/SJU Nurture Their Faith”, The Oblate, November-December 2001.)
None of these positions seem “prudent” or “non-risk.”
The abbey’s own statements reflect knowledge of Schulte’s misconduct since 1992. The fact that the abbey has failed to reach out to victims of Schulte even while calling on victims of other monks to come forward represents unprecedented deception and hypocrisy.
St. John’s enormous alumni community, its current and potential student base, and every victim deserves better. It is time for the abbey to do what they should have done when the scandal first became public: Fully disclose any credible allegation of sexual misconduct (by any monk, visiting faculty member or lay employee), attempt to contact every potential victim of misconduct (including graduates, transfers, church members and camp participants) and then care for these victims. And work to prevent future victimization without regard for enrollment, giving and/or public relations.
This is the opinion of Patrick J Marker, a 1983 graduate of St. John’s Prep School, an abuse survivor and an original member of the External Review Board at St. John’s Abbey. Marker is an outspoken advocate for victims and a frequent critic of St. John’s handling of misconduct by its monastic and other personnel.
Abbey’s reports contradict its claim
May 28, 2010