St. John’s Abbey releases files on child-abusing monks

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(Star Tribune) St. John’s Abbey released its personnel files on 18 monks credibly accused of sexually abusing minors on Tuesday, but the files already were being labeled incomplete by victims’ advocates.

It marks the first time the abbey, long the subject of sex abuse allegations, has made its files public. The release was the result of a legal settlement reached by a St. Cloud man who said he was sexually abused by a monk as a 14-year-old prep school student in 1977.

The monks worked as teachers, counselors, parish priests and chaplains across Minnesota and beyond. The files reveal how they were transferred to other religious work even as the abbey was aware of sexual improprieties.

“The files share heartbreaking and tragic details of suffering inflicted on survivors of misconduct,” said Abbot John Klassen. “We in the monastic community grieve the pain and suffering of those who have been harmed.”

But Patrick Marker, a former St. John’s Preparatory student who has long run a website focusing on sexual misconduct at the abbey, said the list is incomplete.

“There are several monks who have been credibly accused of abuse who are not on this list,” said Marker, who also said that certain documents appear to be missing from the files.

The files were released as part of the abbey’s settlement with Troy Bramlage, of St. Cloud.

“It is alarming that so many of these credibly accused monks were allowed to work at other parishes, dioceses and communities after St. John’s Abbey received abuse reports,” said Mike Finnegan is an attorney at the St. Paul law firm of Jeff Anderson, which represented Bramlage. “Parishioners, parents, kids and communities were not warned about the monks’ abusive past.”

The list of monks and their files have been posted at: mntransparencyinitiative.com.

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In a landmark move, St. John’s Abbey releases files on child-abusing monks
Jean Hopfensperger
Star Tribune
January 19, 2016

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Topics: 2015 File Release, 2016 Abbey File Release, John Klassen, Mike Finnegan

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