June, 2013 Letter to Licari’s Attorney

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Father Jonathan Licari’s personal issues and his involvement in the scandal at Saint John’s Abbey should have excluded him from consideration from the headmaster’s position at Saint John’s Preparatory School. Such an appointment puts the students and the school at risk. That risk, in both cases, is just too great.

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June 28, 2013

Robert T. Stich
STICH, ANGELL, KREIDLER, DODGE & UNKE, P.A.
The Crossings, Suite 120
250 Second Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401-2190

cc: Abbot John Klassen, Father Jonathan Licari

Mr. Stich,

I have reviewed your email dated June 18, 2013.

You wrote that the summary you received on June 11, 2013 regarding Father Jonathan Licari was “clearly calculated to harm the reputation of Fr. Jonathan Licari and to lower him in the estimation of the community.” I contend that any harm to Father Licari’s reputation has been self-inflicted, by his own actions and choices. Further, documentation in my possession clearly supports each line of the June 11, 2013 summary.

As you are aware, I have consistently sought to educate and protect the Saint John’s community. Father Licari, as you will read below, cannot make this claim.

I believe that the Saint John’s and greater community deserve the truth regarding Father Jonathan Licari and all others who participated, cooperated and/or covered up sex crimes and other misconduct by members of the community. Father Jonathan Licari is certainly among the compromised.

Information gleaned from credible sources and resources suggests that Father Licari’s appointment as headmaster could only have been made without the disclosure of Father Licari’s past issues, his involvement in the sex abuse scandal, and without consideration for the safety of the Prep School’s students or the future of the Prep School.

Since Abbot Klassen has not acted upon my request that he rescind Father Jonathan Licari’s appointment as headmaster at Saint John’s Preparatory School, I respectfully request that Father Jonathan Licari turn down his recent appointment as headmaster at Saint John’s Prep School as it in the best interest of, and overall safety for, the entire Saint John’s community.

Since my earlier revelations apparently proved inadequate, I have added to information shared in the previous summary. I am prepared to share this credible information with all those who seek transparency and will not hesitate to do so should Father Licari remain the Prep School’s headmaster.

After much consideration, the revised summary reads as follows.

START SUMMARY

In approximately September of 2003, an “issue” arose concerning conduct by Father Jonathan Licari. At the time, Father Licari was pastor at Holy Name parish in Medina, Minnesota. Father Licari was a member of the Saint John’s Abbey’s External Review Board, a nine-member committee tasked with advising Abbot John Klassen on issues related to sexual misconduct.

Following a discussion regarding the “issue” it was agreed that Father Licari would no longer be a member of the External Review Board. According to one member of the monastic community, Abbot Klassen reportedly waited over two months to share the Licari matter with the Abbey’s Senior Council, though the abbot was advised to do so immediately. It is unknown whether Abbot Klassen ever shared the Licari matter with the entire monastic community. After Father Licari left the board, he reportedly had an evaluation and went to therapy.

The scope of Father Licari’s therapy has been questioned on at least two occasions — as was Father Licari’s April 25, 2013 appointment as headmaster at Saint John’s Prep School in Collegeville, Minnesota (USA). On the day of Father Licari’s appointment, a Saint John’s Prep alum wrote to Abbot Klassen that Father Licari’s appointment was “wholly inappropriate,” and requested that, “his selection be rescinded immediately.” It was not.

Father Jonathan Licari’s appointment (and subsequent removal) from the External Review Board, isn’t Father Licari’s only connection to the sex abuse scandal at Saint John’s Abbey.

In a 1992 letter to the Saint John’s community regarding sexual abuse by monks, Father Licari asserted his “firm commitment to make every possible step to assure that this campus is a safe environment for all.” Despite Father Licari’s commitment, members of the community (including Saint John’s Abbey monk Father Bruce Wollmering) continued to offend.

In 2011, Father Jonathan Licari claimed personal knowledge of multiple, credible allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by Father Dominic Keller dating back to the mid-1950s. Two years later, Saint John’s Abbey and Father Licari have yet to make Father Dominic Keller’s name public, despite personal assurances by Father Licari.

What other secrets does Father Licari hold? How many unnamed perpetrators work or worked at Saint John’s University? The Prep School? The Liturgical Press? The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library? Does Father Licari have information regarding the disappearances of Jacob Wetterling and Joshua Guimond? Who else his Father Licari protecting? There are all fair questions given Father Licari’s past.

Father Licari not only knew the Father Keller secret, he also covered for the abbey’s lack of transparency, calling Father Keller’s omission from Abbot John Klassen’s March 2011 letter an “oversight”. [Note: In Abbot Klassen’s March 2011 letter, all credibly accused members of the Saint John’s monastic community were named. Father Keller’s name was excluded.]

The abbey’s “share only what the press might soon report, then apologize for not doing it sooner” mentality has failed. With each failure comes another push for transparency. True progress, when dealing with sexual abuse and misconduct, comes from transparency, full disclosure and a “victims first” approach.

In perhaps his greatest show of monastic solidarity and deception, Father Licari told a victim of sexual abuse that that name of his perpetrator (Father Keller) would appear on the abbey’s web site by the end of the summer, 2011. Father Keller’s name, wrote Licari, would appear on a list with “other monks with credible allegations against them”.

Father Licari knew at the time that there was no managed “list” of credibly accused monks on the abbey’s web site. The web site included only the abbot’s March 2011 letter, which was then hard to locate and has since been removed.

The letter has since been replaced with web site language that reflects an increase in the number of credibly accused members of the monastic community, without naming a single one:

“Accusations of sexual abuse by monks of Saint John’s Abbey reflected the pattern reported in the John Jay findings. Although some accusations were proven to be without basis, rigorous investigations deemed that allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct* against 23 members of the Abbey were credible.”

Source: Saint John’s Abbey (http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/response/transparency.html) June 27, 2013

The identities of these twenty-three monk perpetrators are unknown. Also unknown is how many of the twenty-three remain on campus and how many will visit the Prep School while Father Licari is headmaster.

Father Licari has a track record of protecting his monastic brothers and putting the reputation of Saint John’s Abbey ahead of the needs of victims. Father Licari monastic vows mandate that he put the needs of the monastery above all else, including the best interests and safety of those students and parents who put their trust in his leadership.

Father Jonathan Licari’s personal issues and his involvement in the scandal at Saint John’s Abbey should have excluded him from consideration from the headmaster’s position at Saint John’s Preparatory School. Such an appointment puts the students and the school at risk. That risk, in both cases, is just too great.

END SUMMARY

As stated earlier, I believe that the Saint John’s and greater community deserve the truth regarding Father Jonathan Licari and all others who participated, cooperated and/or covered up sex crimes and other misconduct by members of the community. Father Jonathan Licari is certainly among the compromised.

I respectfully request that Father Jonathan Licari turn down his recent appointment as headmaster at Saint John’s Prep School as it in the best interest of, and overall safety for, the entire Saint John’s community.

Very Sincerely,

Patrick J. Marker
360-421-5849

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Topics: John Klassen, Jonathan Licari, Pat Marker

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