Letter to the Winona Daily News (Re Abbot Klassen)

Topics: John Klassen, Opinion, Review Board

St. John’s Abbot John Klassen promised my family and other survivors as a part of an agreement they would create a model of prevention, healing, reconciliation and an external review process created by and through the survivors’ community. Another empty promise that left many questions and victimized the survivors again.

Letter to the Winona Daily News
From: Al Vogel
Sent: Friday, December 10, 2010

It is hard for me to put into words the pain my family feels every time we learn of another victim of abuse caused by the actions of a member of clergy from the Catholic church. St. John’s Abbot John Klassen promised my family and other survivors as a part of an agreement they would create a model of prevention, healing, reconciliation and an external review process created by and through the survivors’ community. Another empty promise that left many questions and victimized the survivors again.

My father has passed away and thankfully does not have to read or see on the news any more tragic stories of children that suffered sexual abuse at the hands of clergy. Sadly, I am reminded of a quote by my Father in a article written by Pam Louwagie in the Mnpls Star and Tribune published September 29th, 2002. [ View ]

“Since I’ve known about this. I haven’t had one free day or night without it,” Ray Vogel said. “I know one day the anguish and pain will end, but it won’t be here. It’ll be when almighty God makes that call. . . .

“The day my wife and children take me to the cemetery, that’s where my agony will end.”

With that said, without hesitation, I will stand up and speak on behalf of my family and those who no longer have a voice any time I am asked. For more information, please visit BehindThePineCurtain.com

Respectfully,

Allen Vogel
Albany, MN

In response to: Our view: Bad publicity: What’s it worth to Winona diocese?

How much publicity could you buy with $134,000?
Probably a whole lot less than the Diocese of Winona and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis got for free last week.
The two dioceses decided to seek attorneys fees from a man who apparently was molested by a priest, Thomas Adamson.
Let’s review: Adamson is no stranger to the Diocese of Winona. The diocese had to pay more than a million dollars because he had committed sexual abuses while working as a priest for the diocese. He scurried to the archdiocese where the abuse continued. A victim decided to sue the diocese two years ago. He won in trial, but an appeals court later said the statute of limitations prevented him from winning a judgment, handing both dioceses a technical victory.
Let’s also make this clear: This was no exoneration. This was no victory. This was a technicality.
So, the dioceses have decided to seek attorneys fees because they technically prevailed.
If we have this right: They’re asking a victim to pay for their attorneys even though he was sexually abused by a priest whom the dioceses knew to be a threat (he first admitted to abusing children in 1964).
The sheer gall of such a request is stunning. But this is no mere civil litigation between two private parties. This is an institution that purports to be the legacy of Jesus Christ’s compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love.
To think the dioceses would ask for money from a victim is not only disappointing, but it shows a basic lack of compassion. If this is how the church acts, how can it reasonably expect its parishioners to turn the other cheek? The quality of mercy appears to be strained in the church, especially when it comes to attorneys fees.
Beyond the sheer audacity of such a move, it’s equally sad that when the dioceses announced they would “postpone” a claim for attorneys fees, it appeared to be little more than a publicity stunt, meant to assuage a storm of bad publicity. The truth is while the dioceses said they’d “postpone” their action, the suits still are active, and it hasn’t really stopped the legal action.
So why haven’t the requests been dropped?
Could the dioceses’ action be more a warning to other victims of clergy sex abuse?
And what about Pope Benedict XVI’s vow to root this cancer of clergy sex abuse out of the America Catholic Church by openness, transparency and
reconciliation?
These requests for attorneys fees seems to suggest there’s something more here than the money. After all, what is $68,000 to a diocese that just renovated its cathedral for
millions?
We understand that not every single suit that’s been brought against any church – Catholic or otherwise – has been legitimate. But that is for the courts to decide. And far too many cases have had merit.
This most recent case was hardly frivolous.
If the dioceses aren’t seeking attorneys fees to serve as an example, then the Catholic Church should be more savvy and realize its actions would appear vindictive.
By Darrell Ehrlick, editor, on behalf of the Winona Daily News editorial board, which also includes publisher Rusty Cunningham and deputy editor Jerome Christenson. To comment, call 453-3507 or send e-mail to letters@winonadailynews.com.

Topics: John Klassen, Opinion, Review Board

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