“We use the word “community” quite a bit in places like ours but forget its most elemental meaning – caring for each other.” – Blog Entry by Fr. Tim Backous, September 2, 2009
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Earlier this week, some members of the St. John’s Prep community received some devastating news — if they happened to read a local paper or watch the local news. Others members of the St. John’s Prep community will never hear the news because of the effect that it would have on enrollment, fundraising efforts and public relations. These are three of the reasons why the news was not made public by St. John’s 18 years ago.
On Tuesday, former Prep School chaplain Fr. Francisco Schulte was named in a lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that Fr. Schulte engaged in sexual misconduct with children. Schulte’s youngest victim was reportedly only twelve years old. Fr. Schulte convinced the families of at least two of his victims that their children should attend the Prep School. When the victims arrived, Fr. Schulte continued the abuse.
Fr. Francisco Schulte joins a long list of Prep School employees associated with allegations of misconduct. The list includes Fr. Bruce Wollmering, Br. John Kelly, Fr. Michael Bik, Br. Isaac Connolly, Fr. Dan Ward, Fr. Dunstan Moorse, Fr. Nathan Libaire, Fr. Tom Andert, Fr. Allen Tarlton, Mr. Steve Pavkovich and Mr. Terry DeSutter.
As a member of the monastic community, Fr. Tim Backous (Headmaster of St. John’s Preparatory School in Collegeville, Minnesota) has been aware of credible allegations of sexual misconduct against Fr. Francisco Schulte for almost two decades. During that time, not a single letter has been sent, nor has there been any other coordinated effort, to contact all of Schulte’s potential victims. Like the rest of his monastic brothers, Fr. Backous remained quiet. Those who participated in the coverup, including Fr. Backous, are responsible for the pain suffered by the victims of abuse.
Since the late 1970’s, Schulte’s victims have had to deal with their pain without the support of their community.
At least one of Schulte’s victims attempted suicide.
Those who participated in the coverup are responsible for that victim’s pain. Fr. Backous participated in the coverup.
By not speaking up when he worked at the Prep School with Fr. Schulte in 1981-1983, or when Fr. Schulte’s conduct was made known inside the monastery in 1992, or when he took over as headmaster of the Prep School in 2006, Fr. Backous failed — time and time again — to care for the members of the St. John’s Prep community.
Fr. Backous cannot faithfully serve and care for the Prep School community (including its young students and a victimized alumni) while putting the interests of his monastic brothers (including at least two pedophiles and many other sexual deviants) above all else.
Fr. Backous’ decision to act in the interests of his “counter-cultural” brothers [ view ] has had a devastating effect on the entire St. John’s Prep community.
He must step down — for those who, without reservation or conflict, care about that community.
May 20, 2010