Caught in a Coverup

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On October 2, 2002 the St. Cloud Times reported that a settlement agreement between St. John’s and several victims had been reached. Three days later, and one month before Joshua Guimond disappeared, another article appeared in the St. Cloud Times.

This October 5, 2002 article [ Link ] was about Brother Isaac Connolly taking a leave for “conduct concerns”. According to Abbey spokesperson William Skudlarek there was one allegation, that “Connolly’s conduct does not fall under any legal definition of sexual abuse”, that “the allegation does not involve a student”, and that Abbot John Klassen didn’t know about the allegation until the spring of 2002.

The previous paragraph contains four separate lies by the Abbey and Abbot. They almost got away with it.

Brother Isaac Connolly was accused of two separate incidents of misconduct with students at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. After supplying and drinking alcohol with a 19 year old student, Connolly took a nude shower with the 19 year old male. In a separate incident, after several years of grooming, Connolly made an attempted to sodomize a 23 year old student.

Connolly had plenty of contact with students at both the Prep School and University between 1975 and 2002. Connolly worked in the SJU residence halls until the first incident occurred in 1979. He was then shipped off to Japan for several years. According to a former monk, Japan was a known destination for monks who had been caught. Connolly returned to work at the Prep School in 1986. [Note: Connolly replaced a departing Father Dunstan Moorse, who was being sent to New Mexico for therapy.]

The Abbey learned of the first accusation against Connolly in 2000. What happened after that?

According to St. John’s PR Machine: “Br. Isaac Connolly, dean of students and director of residential life, is on an administrative leave for the 2000-01 academic year. During the year, Br. Isaac will be visiting other college and university residence life programs to study residential learning communities.”

The Truth: Connolly went to St. Luke’s for therapy.

Br. Isaac Connolly returned to campus and worked in several capacities including a stint as assistant to the vice president. According to St. John’s University spokesman Michael Hemmesch, “Connolly is one of the most visible monks to university students”.

In May of 2002, Stearns County Sheriff Jim Kostreba met with the Abbot to ask to review the records as part of investigations into two unsolved cases (the Reker sisters and Jacob Wetterling).

It is believed that Brother Isaac Connolly was not part of that May of 2002 record review, even though the Abbey and Abbot Klassen knew of his past. Connolly was not fully investigated when Guimond disappeared either.

There is no evidence that any monk had a role in the disappearance of Joshua Guimond.

There is plenty of evidence that many monks at St. John’s have abused, threatened and violated students on campus.

Each monk should have been investigated.

Originally Posted: Nov 9, 2009
Updated: March 7, 2010
Updated: July 2, 2010

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Topics: Dunstan Moorse, Isaac Connolly, Jacob Wetterling, Jim Kostreba, John Klassen, Joshua Guimond, Michael Hemmesch, William Skudlarek

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