AN UPDATE FROM ABBOT JOHN
Sent to St. John’s Employees
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation are morally reprehensible. Saint John’s Abbey works honestly and openly with victims of sexual abuse and their attorneys. We are committed to doing all we can to help those who have been harmed to begin their healing and to correct the grievous wrongs that have been committed in the past by some members of our community.
On June 7, allegations of abuse were made against the late Abbot Timothy Kelly who served as abbot from 1992-2000. These are the first allegations that Abbot Kelly violated his vows or was an abuser. Abbot Kelly died from cancer last year.
Saint John’s is investigating the allegations. We are reaching out to those who might have additional information, including representatives of the parish where the abuse allegedly occurred. And, of course, we will continue to cooperate with others who are pursuing the facts surrounding these allegations.
On a personal note, these charges are being made against a person many of us knew and loved. In his time in leadership, Abbot Kelly was personally affected by the pain inflicted on so many survivors of abuse – their suffering was not an abstraction to him. He assured that the voices of survivors were included in the work of the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute.
Our own feelings about Abbot Kelly, though, will not preclude a thorough investigation. We will proceed with an open mind and with a commitment to seeking and sharing the truth. Our solemn pledge in this and all of our investigations is to do all we can to contribute to the healing of those who have been harmed and also to restore the reputation of those who are falsely accused. And, our community will continue to hold in our prayers all those who have been victims of abuse.
I will continue to keep you informed of what we are doing to deal with this issue.