The Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute (“ISTI”) was, and continues to be a public relations tool for St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota. Further, its leadership, including (former) Abbot Timothy Kelly, Br. Dietrich Reinhart, Fr. Roman Paur and (current) Abbot John Klassen have all either been perpetrators of misconduct or allowed others to do so without consequence.
A.W. Richard Sipe was an original ISTI member:
“Here I was Chair of a project set up and widely publicized to protect children and help eliminate dangers, first and foremost at St. John’s, but the head of the institution turned a deaf and defiant ear to the information that I was relaying to him. I polled the Executive Committee of the ISTI board for advice. They seemed supportive of my determination to speak with Kelly openly in an Executive Board meeting on September 18, 1995. The reaction of Abbot Timothy Kelly can only be described as verbally violent and rejecting. “I will not be manipulated,” are some of his words I remember.” – Richard Sipe [ View ]
ISTI has been inactive since 2002, yet information still exists on the Saint John’s University School of Theology web site [ View ] giving the appearance that it is alive and well.
Please contact the members of the ISTI advisory committee (below) and request that they participate in an effort to remove all mention of ISTI from the St. John’s web site. Allowing it to remain, and appear to be a current, credible undertaking is disrespectful to the hundreds of victims of misconduct at St. John’s.
August 1993: Timothy Kelly OSB, Abbot, and Dietrich Reinhart OSB, University President, invited twenty-two people from across the country to Saint John’s for a two-day consultation meeting in the aftermath of initial allegations of sexual misconduct against some members of the monastic community. The consultants recommended that the Abbey develop a program of systematic education, written policies, and explicit procedures as a means of prevention and to deal with its internal issues; and create an independent interfaith initiative to address issues of systemic change and prevention across religious traditions. Roman Paur OSB was asked to be the point person to shape the latter initiative into a formal program.
May 1994: The advisory board, with membership mostly of the initial consultation group, was officially established; the executive director appointed, and the initiative was named (ISTI).
August 1994: ISTI hosted and sponsored with Saint John’s Abbey the second annual three-day national conference of Linkup, a national affiliation of victims of clergy sexual abuse; and a one-day Linkup workshop for training victim advocates and group leaders. This was the first and only time a religious institution sponsored a national gathering of victims. About fifty Benedictine monks from Saint John’s Abbey participated in the conference along with the victims. Abbot Timothy Kelly OSB gave the opening and closing addresses and the then Ordinary of the Saint Cloud Diocese, Bishop Jerome Hanus OSB, was an invited speaker who received a standing ovation.
In July, 2002, ISTI was incorporated into the Saint John’s School of Theology/Seminary where it is currently administered. The ISTI website continues to be a resource of education and outreach. From time to time ISTI offers invitational workshops in Collegeville on relevant topics.
As of March 26, 2011, the roster of ISTI advisors included the following people:
|Mia Baumgartner||Minneapolis MN|
|Bill Cahoy||Collegeville MN|
|Patrick Carnes||Wickenburg AZ|
|Nils Friberg||Saint Paul MN|
|James Gill||Chicago IL|
|Gil Gustafson||Mendota MN|
|Liam Hoare||Saint Louis MO|
|Nancy Hopkins||Portland ME|
|Elisabeth Horst||Minneapolis MN|
|Sharon Howell||Saint Paul MN|
|Timothy Kelly||Collegeville MN|
|John Klassen||Collegeville MN|
|Mark Laaser||Chanhassen MN|
|John Lundin||Alexandria VA|
|Kevin McDonough||Saint Paul MN|
|Roman Paur||Collegeville MN|
|Dana Raphael||Westport CT|
|David Richards||Coral Gables FL|
|Donna Scott||Detroit MI|
|Ken Wells||Fountain Hills AZ|
|Phyllis Willerscheidt||Mendota Heights MN|
|Marcia Zimmerman||Minneapolis MN|
Faith Community Learning Resource
Like ISTI, the Faith Community Learning Resource (“FCLR”) is a good idea and doesn’t fit in Collegeville, given St. John’s history of misconduct and its ongoing deception.
The FCLR message is on point:
“Communities of faith are strengthened by the informed awareness of their membership and by the integrity of leadership at all levels. Those in positions of trust can benefit from focused learning about their challenge to create safe communities by their example of alertness and respect. “
FCLR’s primary messenger, Fr. Roman Paur, lacks the integrity to deliver such a message.