April, 2013 Letter to Abbot John Klassen (re Licari)

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Fr. Licari’s dismissal from the board was due to an alleged incident of sexual misconduct. My recollection, from conversations with you and others, was that Fr. Licari was accused of making inappropriate contact with a minor while he served as pastor at Holy Name Parish in Medina, Minnesota. It is further my understanding that Fr. Licari did not dispute the contact, though (as one would expect) he disputed the intent. 

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April 25, 2013

Abbot John Klassen,

Earlier today, I received information that Fr. Jonathan Licari, OSB has been selected as the next headmaster at Saint John’s Prep School in Collegeville, Minnesota (USA). I believe that the selection of Fr. Jonathan Licari as headmaster is wholly inappropriate. I respectfully request that his selection be rescinded immediately.

Fr. Jonathan Licari, you will recall, was an original member of the Abbey’s External Review Board. The review board was created as a condition of a 2002 settlement between Saint John’s and several victims of sexual abuse. The first board meeting took place in the summer of 2003. By the September 19, 2003, board meeting, however, “it was mutually agreed by the Board that Fr. Jonathan Licari will no longer be a member of the Board.”

Fr. Licari’s dismissal from the board was due to an alleged incident of sexual misconduct. My recollection, from conversations with you and others, was that Fr. Licari was accused of making inappropriate contact with a minor while he served as pastor at Holy Name Parish in Medina, Minnesota. It is further my understanding that Fr. Licari did not dispute the contact, though (as one would expect) he disputed the intent.

As the abbey has done on many occasion, they reportedly deemed the incident an alcohol issue and not a sexual issue. Fr. Licari was reportedly sent to treatment for issues related to alcohol abuse. You will recall that I took exception to this course of action.

Many of the monk perpetrators (of which there have been at least twenty-three, according to the abbey’s web site*) were first “diagnosed” as having issues related to alcohol, while they continued to sexually abuse children and vulnerable adults.

Until recently, I believed that Fr. Licari was one of the twenty-three monks (as stated on the abbey’s web site) who had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct. Since the abbey refuses to name its twenty-three perpetrators, my assumption had been that Fr. Tom Andert, Fr. Chrysostom Kim, along with Fr. Licari, were among the 23.

Despite my best efforts to educate the community regarding sexual and other misconduct at St. John’s, I cannot do so fully without your cooperation. It sure would be helpful if you would list the names of those 23 perpetrators. It would also be helpful if you would place back on the web site the April 15, 2011 letter ** that the abbey “released due to recent settlements with eleven (11) courageous survivors.” This letter, co-written by you, listed the names of eighteen monk offenders and was to remain on your web site.

I have to believe that every parent, whether sending their child to summer camp or to school, would appreciate knowing the identities of those community members who have been credibly accused of a variety of sexual acts, including sodomy.

As you are fully aware, many of those credibly accused perpetrators live, work and walk the campus on a daily basis. It is disrespectful to the community and unsafe (for all parties) that their identities and transgressions are held secret.

Fr. Jonathan Licari’s removal from the external review board was also kept secret, even from the monastic community for some time, as was his alleged misconduct. Placing him in an environment, which includes persons of the gender and approximate age of his alleged victim, could likewise be dangerous, for the students and himself.

Please reconsider this selection.

Very Sincerely,

Patrick J. Marker (SJP ’83)

* http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/response/transparency.html
** http://www.behindthepinecurtain.com/wordpress/18/

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Topics: Chrysostom Kim, John Klassen, Jonathan Licari, Pat Marker, Tom Andert

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