Abbot Klassen Covered Up Abuse


According to the abbey’s own records, at least twenty-one priests from Saint John’s Abbey were assigned to St. Anselm’s and St. Benedict’s in the Bronx between 1939 and 1976. In the 1960’s, one of those Saint John’s Abbey priests, Fr. Agustin Cerezo, was removed after several allegations of misconduct surfaced.  Saint John’s was made aware of Fr. Cerezo’s misconduct and replaced him, it is believed, with Fr. Virgil O’Neill in 1969.

Saint John’s was reminded of those allegations twenty-seven years later, in 2006, when Abbot John Klassen was contacted by Msgr. Desmond O’Connor from the Archdiocese of New York after O’Connor’s office was contacted by one of Fr. Cerezo’s victims.

Fr. Cerezo’s name was not included in a recent letter sent by Abbot Klassen. In fact, Abbot Klassen and the leadership at St. John’s Abbey decided to keep Fr. Cerezo’s name, and the credible allegations against him, from the public.

In June of 2009, another Saint John’s Abbey priest, Father Timothy Kelly, was publicly accused of sexual misconduct in the Bronx. Father Timothy Kelly would later become abbot at Saint John’s.

Abbot John Klassen, the spiritual leader at Saint John’s, has proven to be a deceptive administrator. Abbot Klassen’s refusal to be honest with regard to sexual misconduct is a terrible, and dangerous, example for the entire Saint John’s community.

Saint John’s Abbey priests assigned to parishes in the Bronx:

*** St. Anselm’s (Bronx, New York)

Father Agustin Cerezo
Father Timothy Kelly
Father Peter St. Hilaire
Father Stephen Wagman
Father Mel Taylor
Father Virgil O’Neill
Father Bartholomew Sayles
Father Burton Bloms
Father Don Talafous

*** St. Benedict’s (Bronx, New York)

Father Jordan Stovik
Father Emmanuel Kelsch
Father Edmund Hall
Father Julius Muggli
Father Edwin Stueber
Father Alban Fruth
Father Brennan Maiers (late 60’s to early 70’s)

***St. Benedict’s and/or St. Anselm’s (Bronx, New York)

Father Bernard Watrin
Father Sebastian Schramel
Father Patrick Okada
Father Robert Blumeyer
Father Terence Carroll
Father Damian Baker

Posted Jun 9, 2011
Updated: November 22, 2011

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Topics: Agustin Cerezo, Bartholomew Sayles, Bernard Watrin, Brennan Maiers, Burton Bloms, Damian Baker, Edmund Hall, Edwin Stueber, Emmanuel Kelsch, John Klassen, Jordan Stovik, Julius Muggli, Mel Taylor, Patrick Okada, Peter St. Hilaire, Robert Blumeyer, Sebastian Schramel, Stephen Wagman, Terence Carroll, Timothy Kelly, Virgil O'Neill

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