St. John’s abuse suits settled, 17 monks named

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ST. PAUL (SC Times)— An agreement to settle nine lawsuits against St. John’s Abbey and St. John’s Prep School includes the release of a list of 17 monks who have had credible allegations of sexual misconduct brought against them.

The settlement, announced at a news conference Monday, also includes a provision that releases all victims from any confidentiality restrictions that had been in place. It also includes payments to the victims, the amounts of which weren’t disclosed at the news conference.

Three lawsuits remain unsettled, two involving the Rev. Francisco Schulte and one involving the Rev. Dunstan Moorse.

The list of credibly accused includes numerous names that previously had been released to the public. The names are in a letter signed by Abbot John Klassen and Jerry McCarthy, a former Prep School student who was a victim of the Rev. Bruce Wollmering.

That letter will be posted on the website of St. John’s Abbey and outlines counseling resources available for victims.

The names of the men who’ve had credible allegations against them are:

Brother Andre Bennett
Brother Isaac Connolly
Rev. Richard Eckroth
Rev. Thomas Gillespie
Brother John Kelly
Rev. Brennan Maiers
Rev. Dunstan Moorse
Rev. Francisco Schulte
Rev. Bruce Wollmering
Rev. Michael Bik
Rev. Cosmas Dahlheimer
Abbot John Eidenschink
Rev. Fran Hoefgen
Brother Steve Lilly
Rev. Finian McDonald
Brother Jim Phillips
Rev. Allen Tarlton

The accused clergy all taught at St. John’s Preparatory School or were assigned to parishes, attorney Jeff Anderson said. He declined to disclose a dollar amount.

The alleged abuse occurred from the 1960s to 2004. At least one of the alleged offenders is now dead. The settlement requires St. John’s to send a letter to anyone who attended the prep school, disclosing the names of alleged offenders against minors, Anderson said. Anderson distributed a draft of the letter that names the 17 priests and abbots to reporters today. Anderson said he expects Abbot John Klassen, who heads the monastery, to sign the letter according to the terms of the settlement. None of the men accused in the lawsuits still works at the school and none has ever been criminally charged, Anderson said. Anderson has filed thousands of lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests. He calls the settlement “another step forward to protecting others and requiring St. John’s to come clean and transparent with the crimes of the past so those don’t occur in the future.” The Order of St. Benedict operates the prep school and abbey at St. John’s University in Collegeville. This report contains material from The Associated Press.

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St. John’s abuse suits settled, 17 monks named
St. Cloud Times
David Unze
March 28, 2011

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Topics: Settlement Information

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