Letter to CLSA regarding Dan Ward Investigation

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[Webmaster’s Note: Sr. Sharon Euart is the Executive Coordinator of the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) and serves of Board of Directors of the Resource Center for Religious Institutes (RCRI) where Father Dan Ward, OSB serves as Executive Director. Sr. Sharon Euart did not respond to this letter. Another member of the CLSA, Rita Joyce, did response. Ms. Joyce wrote in an email, “Your email will receive attention after convention. There is nothing that I can do until the program is over.” It is believed that the CLSA allowed Father Dan Ward, OSB — a clergy member under investigation for sexual misconduct — to speak at their convention.]

October 8, 2012

Sr. Sharon Euart,

It is my understanding that Rev. Daniel J. Ward, OSB is scheduled to present at the Canon Law Society of America conference in Chicago, Illinois (USA) tomorrow.

Please be advised that an independent investigation into sexual and other alleged misconduct perpetrated by Rev. Daniel J. Ward, OSB is currently underway, having been commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey on or before October 4, 2012.

Bishop John Kinney (Diocese of Saint Cloud) has been made aware of the investigation. Abbot John Klassen, of course, is also aware.

I received an email from the lead investigation on October 6, 2012, requesting the information that I have regarding Father Dan Ward. I began that process yesterday.

Among the six statements in my possession alleging misconduct by Rev. Daniel J. Ward, OSB is the one I have attached, alleging sexual misconduct/exploitation allegedly perpetrated in the 1970s.

It reads, in part:

“When I felt that it was time for me to leave, I stood up, thanking Fr. Ward for his hospitality. He stepped toward me and began hugging me, then—in a move which took me completely by surprise–kissed me full upon the lips. It was not a brief kiss, but rather was very passionate—I had been kissed by girls in this way, but never by a man. I just stood there enduring it, not knowing what to make of what was happening. The kiss went on for a very uncomfortable amount of time. As he kissed me, I also felt him rub his obviously aroused genital area against me. I had never been kissed or touched by a man in this way before, and it was repulsive to me. And I could not understand what prompted it. I remember thinking that if I ever needed to be convinced about my true sexual orientation—and I did not—this incident certainly would have been enough. As soon as it was reasonably comfortable for me to leave Fr. Ward’s embrace, and to leave his room, I did so.”

The following quote may help you understand that serious nature of these allegations:

“For a monastic, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation involve the abuse of the trust placed in the monastic, which can involve other members of the monastery. Such misconduct is more than a moral issue of abuse because society places a great deal of respect, trust and authority in members of a monastery. Such misconduct can also become an issue involving professional, ministerial integrity. It is not surprising, therefore, that society judges the monastic not only by common moral standards, which include an aspect of forgiveness, but with religious and professional standards which might require the withdrawal of the right to practice a profession.” – Rev. Daniel J. Ward, OSB (1998)

Source: http://www.osb.org/aba/law/mll10.htm

In an email on September 6, 2012, you reportedly sent an email to a gentleman who brought allegations regarding misconduct by Rev. Daniel J. Ward, OSB to your attention. Your response to him read, in part:

“Thank you for your message regarding Mr. Marker and his allegations about Fr. Dan Ward. I serve on the Board of Directors of the Resource Center for Religious Institutes (RCRI) where Dan serves as Executive Director. The board has addressed these allegations with Dan and his Abbott. His Abbot has written to the Board indicating that he or the monastery has never received any allegations and that Dan remains a priest in good standing with the Institute.”

Please be advised that I was available by phone and email in early September had the Canon Law Society of America, the Diocese of Washington and/or the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance (all of which you represent) endeavored to follow up on the allegations, per reasonable common sense, if not as required per the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the Dallas Charter.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Patrick J Marker
Circle Path Media, Inc.
Post Office Box 39
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
360-421-5849

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Topics: CLSA, Dan Ward, John Kinney, John Klassen, Sharon Euart

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