As every U.S. Roman Catholic Cardinal except one in poor health is at the Vatican preparing to meet with the Pope about the spreading sexual abuse scandal, word from one Minnesota religious institution brought the scandal close to home.
The Reverend John Klassen, the abbot and president of St. John’s, announced during the weekend that sexual abuse allegations have surfaced against one of his predecessors.
Klassen wrote a letter to university officials and students, saying that the Rev. John Eidenschink, a former abbot at the central Minnesota university, has admitted to abusing two monks in the 1970s, the St. Cloud Times reported.
The allegations stem from the 1970s. Klassen said the victims of the past abuse received settlements that included counseling, legal fees and a living stipend.
The newspaper said that Eidenschink, now 87, is in poor health and is confined to his room at the monastery, and that he is one of about 15 priests or monks at the monastery who are restricted in their activities or movements.
Klassen said his letter was spurred because he wants to end “a culture of secrecy that makes sexual abuse and exploitation possible.”