Chaphalkar’s Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

In your article on St. John’s Abbey’s sex abuse allegations (Sept. 7), it details the story of Pat Marker, prep school alumnus and 1983 abuse victim, who resigned from the Abbey’s external review board Aug. 18 over disputed disclosure procedures.

But, you fail to mention the vindictive and libelous nature of Marker’s behavior since his resignation.

Marker’s online Web site, re-launched Aug. 23, is an unchecked reservoir of slander and contempt against Collegeville.

Since resigning, Marker has used the site to publish a list of names of St. John’s monks who have been – and initials of those who he predicts will soon be – accused of sexual misconduct.

Disclaimers carefully eschew certifying the accuracy of documents posted, dodging legal action against the site.

“This Web site has the potential to heal,” Marker said of his project. However, his goal of “notifying potential victims where these men worked,” as he told the St. Cloud Times, serves rather to foster contempt against St. John’s than to promote healing.

Openness must and does originate from the Abbey, not Pat Marker. Wickedly publicizing victims’ files without their permission cannot force open disclosure.

Marker and all abuse victims should be shown compassion and support for recovery.

That does not, however, warrant free reign to make underhanded attacks on illicit Web sites.

Abbot John Klassen should emphatically request that Marker’s site be removed, and remind him that he cannot promote healing by vilifying the entire community of Collegeville.

Rajiv Chaphalkar
SJU junior

[Webmaster’s Note: Below is Marker’s response]

September 20, 2006

Dear Editor,

Mr. Chaphalkar’s final version of his letter to the editor was written after he received a phone call and input from the abbey’s spokesperson. I also replied to his first version. In this limited space, I’ll address three (of several) issues I still have with his letter.

1) ‘Openness must and does originate from the Abbey’… How many times the abbey has come forward with the names of accused personnel without being pressured by a lawsuit or upcoming news article?

2) “The List” on the web site is not a comprehensive list, nor is it confined to accusations of ‘sexual’ misconduct solely against monk offenders.

3) I have no “contempt against Collegeville”. I am merely calling upon the abbot to disclose the institution’s painful past so that true healing can start. Consider the victim whose abuser has not yet been named or whose deeds have been understated. Victims deserve nothing less than full disclosure. The community that Mr. Chaphalkar proudly defends deserves the same.

Until the abbot takes a more pro-active and honest approach toward disclosure, victims and their families will continue to suffer and, as I was quoted in the article, “more monks will be named and more victims will come forward.”

The abbot calls this “an unfounded, false statement.”

I stand by the statement. In fact, I am willing to take down the website if incorrect. When my statement turns out to be true, however, I will ask that the abbot step down.

Patrick Marker

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Topics: Jerome Tupa, John Klassen, Pat Marker, Raj Chaphalkar

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