Accused Priest Transferred To Benilde


Documents from St. John’s Abbey show that a priest accused of sexually abusing students was transferred to teach at a Twin Cities parochial high school in the late 1980s.

A former St. John’s abbot, Jerome Theisen, had indicated in a letter before his death in 1995 that he knew about allegations against the Rev. Dunstan Moorse prior to sending him to teach at Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School in St. Louis Park, according to KSTP-TV.

While there were no accusations against Moorse while he taught at the high school, former students of his at St. John’s Preparatory School — part of the St. John’s Abbey — have successfully sued the abbey regarding the allegations.

Moorse is among the priests and monks who have lived sequestered at the abbey in Collegeville, his movements reportedly restricted.

An abbey spokesman declined to comment to KSTP-TV on the documents and telephone call Thursday night from The Associated Press haven’t been returned.

The latest revelations come as the stain of allegations and admissions of historical sexual abuse at the St. John’s Abbey continues to spread.

Current Abbot John Klassen has opened St. John’s personnel filed to Stearns County investigators who are using them as part of background checks in two high-profile, unsolved cases including the stabbing death of young sisters outside of St. Cloud in the early 1970s, and the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling outside of St. Josephs in the late 1980s.

The string of news reports detailing allegations of abuse by another priest living a restricted abbey life centering around a northern Minnesota cabin — and admission 13 monks are sequestered because they pose a community threat — has prompted a review of the abbey’s sexual misconduct policy, the St. Cloud Times reported.
There are also reports of past settlement payments, some opened to the public and others remaining private at the request of individuals or insurers, the newspaper reported.

The latest round of allegations comes on the heels of reports earlier this week that abbey officials were aware of the threat posed by one priest as long ago as 1994 and that sequestered priests have actually traveled while under the restrictions, including overseas and even to the cabin at which a series of abuse allegations are centered.


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Topics: Benilde-St. Margaret's, Dunstan Moorse, Jerome Thiesen

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