A brother at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., has been accused of sexually abusing a young man who was a student in the prep school and St. John’s University in the 1980s.
Brother John Kelly, who was a counselor at St. John’s, was sued Tuesday in Stearns County District Court in St. Cloud. The suit, brought by a student called only John UU Doe, claims that
from 1981 to 1984, Brother Kelly systematically abused the young man by fondling him and performing oral sex on him.
The suit contends that the sexual abuse occurred in the brother’s office, the young student’s dormitory room and on school grounds.
The suit also contends that in 1982 the young man complained to others at the school of the abuse and that nothing was done.
Jeffrey Anderson, the young man’s attorney and a specialist in clergy sexual abuse cases, said the suit was filed only after the Abbey refused to pay for the young man’s therapy, which
Anderson contends is necessary to help him recover from the abuse.
In a July letter to Anderson, Brother Daniel Ward, of the abbey, denied that a systematic pattern of sexual abuse had occurred. He also said, in part, “In fact, what I did discover was that [the young man] was involved in a very promiscuous homosexual lifestyle when he came to the prep school. If any sexual activity with Brother Kelly took place at the prep school, as you allege, it would be miniscule (sic) compared to the sexual activity which [the young man] engaged in prior to, during and after his tenure at the prep school.”
Abbot Jerome Theisen was unavailable for comment, but in an Aug. 15 letter to friends of St. John’s Abbey he said, “Our investigation revealed an isolated incident of sexual abuse.
“Along with the entire community of St. John’s, I am sorry for harm done in this situation.
Because of the Abbey’s and my own concern for victims of sexual abuse, I am committed to providing the necessary pastoral care and assistance.”
The letter said that Kelly had been removed from his work at the prep school and the university.
Theisen’s letter also said the school’s policy for clergy sexual abuse cases was followed and Kelly was referred to therapy.
The suit asks for $ 50,000 in damages. It alleges that the young man has suffered severe and permanent emotional damage and will need therapy for a long time.
Brother at St. John’s Abbey named in sex abuse lawsuit;
$ 50,000 in damages sought by former student
Martha Sawyer Allen; Staff Writer
Thursday, August 27, 1992 – Mpls Star Tribune