On 7/29 the St. Cloud Times reported the names of 3 priests accused of sexual abuse. Among them was a man named Fr. Michael Bik, who I knew during my four years attending St. John’s Preparatory between 1998 and 2002. The article says that he taught and worked in the Campus Ministry office at the Prep school until 2002, but fails to mention the leadership role he played in that community, and the trust placed in him by students who sought his council.
The Prep school first hired a counselor for the students my second year there, and before that it was Fr.Mike who students would go to if they needed advice or just to talk. They allowed and encouraged students to have this relationship with him; all while knowing he had been accused of sexual abuse. Even more appalling, he worked and lived in the Boys Dorms.
The St. John’s University’s own webpage lists him as Freshman Chaplain and Faculty Resident. The Prep school allowed and encouraged a close relationship between students and a man the administration knew had been accused of sexually abusing teen-age boys. In 2002 the St. Cloud Times reported on sexual abuse at St. John’s and an all school assembly was held to tell the students the ‘truth’ about the claims.
The Abbott said that the abuse had nothing to do with the Prep school and that the abuse had happened between Priests and students at the University, children in the community and other priests. The Abbott told the students that the priests who were accused were not allowed in the Prep School, any dorms on campus, the athletic facilities and locker rooms or any public restrooms outside the monastery.
At the end of the assembly we were told that if we had questions or concerns about this we should talk to Fr. Mike or the school Counselor. Though the allegations the Abbott was referencing were not against Fr.Mike, I have trouble understanding how we could be told all this and then led in prayer by a man who had been accused 5 years earlier. Fr. Mike always had a group of boys that he was close with. I was invited by this group, who were casual friends of mine, to go out to pizza with them and Fr. Mike.
At dinner I realized that it was common for them to socialize with Fr.Mike outside of school. My house was on Fr. Mike’s drive back to the Abbey that night so he gave me a ride home. They have suppressed information and lied when that doesn’t work. The Abbott ensured us it was being handled appropriately while we were encouraged to trust Fr. Mike. In his time at the Prep School he was often invited to student’s homes for dinner or holidays, he was liked and trusted by all students and their parents. He has presided over multiple alumni weddings and baptized numerous alumni’s children.
How could all this happen if they are truly handling these accusations in the manner they allege? I have no choice but to feel that for four years of my adolescence, my fellow students and I were unknowingly placed in insecure environment.[Name Withheld] Letter re Michael Bik