St. Ben’s Response Self-Serving

Topics: Ann Marie Biermaier, Dan Ward, Dunstan Moorse, John Klassen, Nancy Bauer

During a ten minute phone call on Monday, April 25, 2011, Sister Ann Marie Biermaier was made aware that allegations of sexual misconduct (by her) had surfaced, involving a minor in the 1970s. Over the next eight days, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict had to decide how to deal with the allegations.

St. Ben’s First Response to Public Allegations Self-Serving

In April of 2010, the Diocese of Superior (Wisconsin) suspended a priest from any active role in the diocese in the wake of allegations that he engaged in sexual activities with a young man, perhaps a minor.  The allegations were based on second- and third-hand reports, and the diocese didn’t even know the full name of the alleged victim.

Compare Superior’s actions [ View ] to the way St. Benedict’s Monastery handled recent allegations against Sister Ann Marie Biermaier.

During a ten minute phone call on Monday, April 25, 2011, Sister Ann Marie Biermaier was made aware that allegations of sexual misconduct (by her) had surfaced, involving a minor in the 1970s. Over the next eight days, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict had to decide how to deal with the allegations. On day three,  the monastery’s Susan Sink said that the sisters were, “deciding what to do.” On day four, Prioress Nancy Bauer was offered the detailed statement but refused to speak with the person who had the statement. On day five, the sisters were provided with more details via email.

On the eighth day, Sister Nancy Bauer from the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict made a public statement. [ View ]

Why did they wait so long? Could it be that they were determining which one of Biermaier’s victims had come forward? It’s likely.

So how did the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict respond to the first public allegations made against a member of their community?

Sister Nancy Bauer (a canon lawyer) from St. Benedict’s responded in the same way that Fr. Dan Ward (also a canon lawyer) from St. John’s Abbey, responded in 1991. [ View ]

Both reacted in a self-serving, anti-victim, pro-perpetrator, blame-the-messenger, manner.

How did that strategy work for St. John’s?  The 1991 “alleged” perpetrator, Fr. Dunstan Moorse, has over fifteen known victims. Twenty years later, St. John’s continues to react [ View ] in a self-serving, anti-victim, pro-perpetrator, blame-the-messenger, manner.

St. Benedict’s had the opportunity to do the right thing. They failed.

In a few days, St. Benedict’s will again have the opportunity to do the right thing.

Which path will they take?

Originally Posted on April 27, 2011. Updated May 3, 2011.

Topics: Ann Marie Biermaier, Dan Ward, Dunstan Moorse, John Klassen, Nancy Bauer

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