Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation are morally reprehensible. Saint John’s Abbey works honestly and openly with victims of sexual abuse and their attorneys to do all we can to correct the grievous wrongs that have been committed in the past by some members of our community. The Saint John’s monastic community continues to extend prayers to all survivors of abuse.
It is in this spirit that we are reviewing allegations against the late Abbot Timothy Kelly who served as abbot from 1992-2000. Abbot Kelly died of cancer last year. The charges were made for the first time June 7 in a news conference and in media statements. The allegations are especially serious, accusing Abbot Kelly not only of abuse, but of violating the sanctity of Confession. These are the first allegations that Abbot Kelly violated his vows or was an abuser. There were no previous accusations of sexual misconduct against Abbot Kelly.
Members of the Abbey who knew Abbot Kelly are shocked by charges made against a person we loved and respected. Abbot Kelly was profoundly affected by the pain inflicted on so many victims of abuse. He was a leader in dealing forthrightly with abuse by the clergy, cofounding the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute in 1993.
We deeply regret that in spite of working closely and cooperatively in recent months with Jeff Anderson, the attorney leading the case against Abbot Kelly, he still chose to first take his charges to the media. In all of our many conversations and meetings with Mr. Anderson in recent months, there never was a hint of any issue involving Abbot Kelly.
As soon as we learned of the allegations through the media, we began to reach out to those who might have additional information, including representatives of the parish where the abuse allegedly occurred. The investigation will continue.
We begin our review with heavy hearts, but with an open mind and with a commitment to seeking and sharing the truth. Our solemn pledge in this and all of our investigations is to do all we can to contribute to the healing of those who have been harmed and also to restore the reputation of those who are falsely accused.
A STATEMENT FROM ABBOT JOHN
Thursday, June 09, 2011 9:21 AM