Monk Offenders in the Bahamas

Topics: Allen Tarlton, Bahamas, Dan Ward, Daniel Durken, Dolores Schuh, Finian McDonald, Francisco Schulte, Isidore Glyer, Jerome Tupa, Jim Phillips, Mel Taylor, Paschal Brisson, Paul Richards, Paul-Vincent Niebauer, Peregrin Berres, Richard Eckroth, Timothy Kelly, Uncategorized

The following is a list of Saint John’s monks with credible allegations of misconduct who served in the Bahamas.

Fr. Othmar Hohmann (1932- )
Fr. Peregrine Berres (1957-1965)
Fr. Allen Tarlton (1962-64, 1967-1968)
Br. Paschal Brisson (?-1967-1969-?)
Abbot Timothy Kelly (1963-1964, v1993)
Fr. Richard Eckroth (1977-1993, v1997)
Br. Jim Phillips (1981-84)
Fr. Mel Taylor (1980, 1990-2012)
Abbot John Eidenschink (v1984)
Fr. Dan Ward (v1996, 1997- )
Fr. Francisco Schulte (1997-1998)
Brother Herard Jean-Noel ( -1998)
Fr. Jerome Tupa (1998)
Fr. Finian McDonald (1998-2001)
Br. Paul Richards (v1998, s2011)

v = visit
s = sabbatical

Also Note:

Father Daniel Durken (30+ visits) & Sister Dolores Schuh (12+ visits)

References to Personnel in the Bahamas:

[In 1932] St. Francis Xavier Church was designated the pro-cathedral of the Prefecture by Father Bernard Kevenhoester, OSB, the first Prefect Apostolic of the Bahamas. Father Bernard then installed Fr. Othmar Hohmann, OSB, as pastor of St. Francis Church. Fr. Othmar, a talented, friendly, dramatist, zealously continued the work of this predecessors: promoting enthusiastic congregational vocal praying; singing during liturgical services; giving catechetical instructions during evening services. (http://www.stfrancisxaviercathedral.org/church/about-us.html?start=3)

Gervase Soukup, a member of the St. John’s faculty and the financial director for the St. John’s Abbey, goes to the Bahamas every January. Fr. Gervase sacrifices part of his January here year after year to check the accounts of the Benedictine priory in Nassau. Such devotion in a man to make such a sacrifice to only check—not to keep—the books of the Priory in the Bahamas. What devotion! (The Record – February 1, 1977)

Abbot Jerome Theisen and Abbot John Eidenschink, president of the American-Cassinese Federation, recently reported on their visitation to Saint Augustine’s Monastery in Nassau. Their joint report states: “It is our conviction that progress has been made in the establishment of a core monastic community, the kind that can attract native vocations. A continuation of the experiment seems warranted for another three years.”  (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – April, 1984)

During February 1992, Father Vincent Tegeder, abbey and university archivist, visited the northern section of Andros Island, the Bahamas, where our current missionary and former philosophy teacher at Saint John’s, Father Richard Eckroth, resides. Together, they were able to traverse the catechetical domain of Father Gabriel Roerig, our pioneer herald of the Gospel there from 1894-1950.  (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Spring, 1992)

Timothy Kelly visited the Bahamas and our confreres there at Saint Augustine’s Priory and College. He also travelled to the family islands where so many of our confreres have been missionaries and where some are buried. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Fall, 1993)

From 1981-84 [Brother Jim Phillips] assisted in the business office at St. Augustine’s Monastery and College in Nassau, Bahamas. During his 25 years of monastic life he has also assisted with care of the elderly in the abbey health center. He is currently a member of the residential staff at Saint John’s Preparatory School. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Summer, 1995)

This summer Brother Paul-Vincent Niebauer will be spending seven weeks in Saint Augustine’s Priory in the Bahamas. He is in his first year of temporary vows and has, among other things, directed the drama program during the past year at Saint John’s Preparatory School. He will join the community at Saint Augustine’s Priory, bolster the choir during the summer months, work in the school on various projects, and help with maintenance and other community tasks. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Spring, 1996)

From 1977 to 1993 [Father Richard Eckroth] served Saint John’s foundation in the Bahamas. He was the associate pastor of a church in Nassau, then took charge of six churches of the Family Island of  Andros. Later, he oversaw the construction of a new church on the island of Bimini. Currently, he is in charge of the abbey-parish cemetery and monastic burials at Saint John’s and is a substitute chaplain. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Summer, 1996)

[Francisco Francisco Schulte has accepted] the invitation of Father Daniel Ward to form part of the monastic community at Saint Augustine’s Priory in Nassau, Bahamas. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Spring, 1997)

Also in July and as previously announced, Father Daniel Ward will become the new prior of St. Augustine’s Monastery in Nassau, Bahamas. Joining him and our three confreres already there – Fathers Mel Taylor, George Wolf and Fintan Bromenshenkel – will be “newcomers,” Fathers Richard Eckroth, Francisco Schulte and Antony Hellenberg. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Spring, 1997)

Former prior of the community at St. Augustine’s, Nassau, Father Mel Taylor has accepted the assignment of parochial care for Long Island and its mission stations there. Father Francisco Schulte, Subprior, speaks of his “holy envy” of Father Mel: “The island is literally One of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen – Caribbean or Mediterranean,” he waxed.  (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Fall, 1997)

Fr. Richard [Eckroth], former member of the SJU philosophy department, returns to the Bahamas where he had worked in various parishes for 16 years (1977-1993). He is now the plant manager of the monastery and the chaplain of Saint Martin’s Monastery in Nassau. (The Record – September 4, 1997)

“[Father Francisco Schulte], who taught the initial classes in Hispanic ministry offered at Saint John’s School of Theology and assisted in the retreat and conference work of the Spiritual Life Program of the abbey, has been appointed the subprior, or second ranking official, of the Nassau monastery. He is also the director of the Oblates of Saint Benedict of the Bahamas.” – (The Record, September 4, 1997)

Father Francisco Schulte broadcasts a weekly Sunday afternoon radio program (Radio Station 100JAMZ – also available on the internet). Another new area of service is his ministry to the local Spanish-language community in the Bahamas.  (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Spring, 1998)

At Saint Augustine’s Priory in the Bahamas, Father George Wolf and Fintan Bromenshenkel remain focused on their administrative duties; Father Antony Hellenberg continues his work as the registrar/coordinator of student services at the Benedictine University College, overseeing admissions and recruitment, academic records and assisting the Dean; Father Mel Taylor takes care of seven churches on Long Island and Brother Herard Jean-Noel has returned to the abbey for reassignment. Helping do major renovations and other duties at the monastery this summer were: Brothers Isidore Glyer and Zachary Wilberding; Fathers Jerome Tupa, Finian McDonald and Daniel Durken. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Summer, 1998)

Early January found the Saint John’s Boys’ choir, under the guidance of Brother Paul Richards, on a ten-day tour in the Bahamas, giving concerts at various locales on the islands as well as at St. Augustine’s Priory and the Benedictine University College there. (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Winter, 1998)

After his ordination in 1957, [Father Peregrin Berres] began to put this principal into practice. He first perigrinated to Nassau, Bahamas and for the next eight years (1957-1965) he taught Latin and general science at St. Augustine’s College, a Benedictine sponsored high school and also served as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church and a chaplain at Her Majesty’s Prison. (Obituary – April, 1999)

Father Allen [Tarlton's] first assignment was teaching English at the preparatory school 1953-62. There followed assignments at St. Augustine’s College, Nassau, Bahamas, (1962-64) and then service as associate pastor of St. Mark’s Church in Cincinnati (1965- 69)·  (Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly – Summer, 1999)

St. John’s Abbey was told in the late 1980s that the Rev. Richard Eckroth had allegedly sexually abused a boy years earlier. But officials at the Collegeville abbey allowed him to continue working as a parish priest in the Bahamas for at least six more years, according to records obtained by an attorney who settled a lawsuit with the abbey in 1995. It was not until 1993, when allegations surfaced that Eckroth had raped two boys when they were ages 7 or 8, that then-Abbot Timothy Kelly ordered Eckroth back to the United States for a psychiatric evaluation. (May 14, 2002 – Star Tribune – View)

Abbot John Klassen, OSB, and Mr. Michael Mullin, liaison for Saint John’s and Saint Augustine’s College, visited the Nassau monastery and school January 17-20. In consultation with Prior Mel [Taylor] and Fathers George [ Wolf ] and Fintan [Bromenshenkel] it was agreed that they would reduce their presence in the college by fifty percent by the end of June 2002, and completely cease their employment there by the end of this year. (The Abbey Banner, Spring, 2002)

Abbot Timothyʼs [Kelly] first assignments were in Mexico, Bahamas, The Bronx, and Crookston, Minnesota. He then served as Novice Master, taught theology at Saint Johnʼs and was administrator of Belmont Abbey, North Carolina. He led the Collegeville community as abbot for eight years and is now Abbot President of the American-Cassinese Congregation. (The Abbey Banner, Fall, 2005)

On June 8, 2006, Archbishop Pinder, attorney Michael Barnett and Mel Taylor, OSB, who remains in Nassau as pastor of Sacred Heart Church, signed the necessary papers to complete the transfer of Saint Augustine’s Monastery to the Archdiocese of Nassau. (The Abbey Banner, Fall, 2006)

Dean of men, faculty resident in campus student housing, director of counseling, director of academic advising, missionary monk at our communities in Japan and the Bahamas, head community barber, cultivator of orchids and assistant sacristan—such assignments have kept Father Finian [McDonald] busy. (The Abbey Banner, Fall, 2006)

When Brother Jim [Phillips] served in the Bahamas, he did not work in an environment where he had access to minors. He worked and lived in the monastery. All evidence suggests that he is a situational offender, that is, one who engages in inappropriate sexual behavior in the relationships he forms in the context of ministry. These opportunities were not available to him in the Bahamas. He lived and worked in the community. (Email from John Klassen – September 5, 2007)

In 1997-98, [Father Francisco Schulte] was sent to St. Augustine’s Priory in Nassau, the Bahamas, a monastic community founded by St. John’s Abbey in 1891. Under the supervision of the Rev. Daniel Ward, a St. John’s monk then serving as St. Augustine’s prior, Schulte was one of four monks maintaining the declining priory, which was dissolved in 2005. (Aaron Raverty, OSB – June 9, 2010)

[Father Francisco Schulte] was all over the map in this timeframe: For a time in the mid-1990s, he worked with migrant workers under the auspices of St. John’s School of Theology. In 1994 he was in Rome studying for his doctorate. From 1997-98, he was at St. Augustine’s Priory in the Bahamas. (CityPages.com - Jun. 10 2010)

Following his ordination, [Timothy Kelly] began his career first as an English instructor at Saint John’s University and prefect in Saint Anselm’s Hall (1961-62). Timothy then spent a year in our monastery foundation in Mexico where he taught theology at Colegio del Tepeyac (1962-63), followed by a year at our foundation in the Bahamas at Saint Augustine’s College where he taught English. During the summer months, he attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota. (Obituary - October 7, 2010)

Topics: Allen Tarlton, Bahamas, Dan Ward, Daniel Durken, Dolores Schuh, Finian McDonald, Francisco Schulte, Isidore Glyer, Jerome Tupa, Jim Phillips, Mel Taylor, Paschal Brisson, Paul Richards, Paul-Vincent Niebauer, Peregrin Berres, Richard Eckroth, Timothy Kelly, Uncategorized

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