St. John’s Abbey monk accused of abuse reports 200-plus sexual encounters

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(StarTribune) The first batch of personnel files on monks accused of sex abuse at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville were released Tuesday, in which a former counselor and dormitory prefect at St. John’s University reported having 200 sexual encounters — some with St. John students.

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The Rev. Finian McDonald told a psychologist that his youngest victims were 13 or 14 year old prostitutes in Thailand, that he had 18 victims while serving as a prefect at St. John’s dormitories, and that he had acted out sexually and abused alcohol during most of his 29 years as a dormitory prefect.

That information, from a 2012 psychological assessment, is contained in abbey personnel files on McDonald and four other monks credibly accused of child sex abuse that were released in response to an abuse victim’s legal settlement earlier this year.

The abbey has identified 19 such monks to date, and their personnel files have been turned over to attorney Jeff Anderson.

“This reflects to us … that there are dozens and hundreds of survivors that are yet to be known and yet to have a voice,” said Anderson at a news conference.

Files were also released on the Rev. Tom Gillespie, former priest Fran Hoefgen, the Rev. Bruce Wollmering and the Rev. Richard Eckroth. Eckroth and Wollmering are deceased. Hoefgen was acquitted earlier this year of sexually abusing a boy in Hastings.

The abbey issued a written statement in response to the document release.

“There are documents in each file which may be quoted and framed in a lurid context,” wrote abbey spokesman Brother Aelred Senna. “But the huge majority of the documents in each of these files acknowledges the very real failures of some monks while showing each of the accused monks as a fallible, relatable person.

The files “show that the Abbey did not try to cover up allegations and did a reasonable job of managing the monk and the problem,” he wrote.

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Jean Hopfensperger
Star Tribune
November 24, 2015

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Topics: 2015 File Release, Aelred Senna, Bruce Wollmering, Finian McDonald, Fran Hoefgen, Jeff Anderson, Richard Eckroth, Thomas Gillespie

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