Letters and Statements to the Saint John’s Community

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[Webmaster’s Note: For almost twenty years, the leadership at Saint John’s claims to have written articles and sent letters and emails regarding sexual misconduct to the members of its community. If you are a member of the Saint John’s community, I am interested to know how many of these messages (below) you received and, approximately how many fundraising and other promotional correspondence you received in the past twenty years.]

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Letter from Prior Jonathan Licari
October 22, 1992

“As you are aware because of reports in the media, monks who have been members of the Preparatory School faculty have been accused of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of former students. We, as a monastic community, are deeply pained by these allegations, and particularly by the harm any sexual abuse has caused victims.”

View… Here

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Abbot Timothy Kelly’s Letter to Community:
July 1993

“Several commented concerning the healing prayer that we should now be able to put the issues of sexual abuse and exploitation behind us and move on to the future. These issues have been very hard on us individually and as a community and as with all unpleasant topics we would like very much to get them over with.”

View… Here

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Abbot John Klassen – Letter to Friends and Constituents
April 19, 2002

“The last months have been filled with painful stories about sexual abuse committed by priests and religious. The fact that the stories are most often about events which occurred years, even decades ago, does not diminish the anguish which so many members of the Catholic church are experiencing.”

View Letter… Here

View Article… Here

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A Letter from Br. Dietrich Reinhart, President of Saint John’s University
June 1, 2002

“The occurrence of sexual abuse is devastating to the victims and a grievous wound to communities of faith. Recent media coverage in Minnesota of allegations against some members of the monastery prior to 1990 are deeply disturbing. We can lament the coverage, but the pain many feel is real and Saint John’s is committed to addressing it.”

View Letter… Here

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Statement from Saint John’s Abbey on Compliance with the U.S. Bishops
June 19, 2002

“The U.S. Bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” requires that “for even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor – past, present or future – the offending priest or deacon will be permanently removed from ministry.” The monastic community of Saint John’s Abbey will comply with that requirement. ”

View Statement… Here

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Abbot John Klassen OSB: An Open Letter of Apology
June 7, 2002

“The Rule of Saint Benedict teaches, “Receive everyone as Christ.” I am deeply sorry that some members of the Saint John’s monastic community have violated such a fundamental part of our commitment by engaging in abusive sexual behavior with people in our schools and parishes. They have not simply broken their vow of chastity, but have inflicted serious harm on their victims.”

View Letter… Here

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A Letter from Abbott John Klassen, O.S.B. ’67
April 1, 2003

“Last June I pledged to you to do all in my power to lead Saint John’s monastic community through a period of healing and reconciliation, and all 183 of our confreres joined me in that pledge. Because you are an important and valued member of Saint John’s extended family, it is important to me and Fr. Gordon Tavis to keep you posted from time to time on our progress.”

View Letter… Here

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Abbey Statement on Father Francisco Schulte
May 18, 2010

“In February of 1992, Abbot Jerome Theisen received an allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor in 1984 by Father Francisco Schulte. From that time through June of 2002, Father Francisco was living at Saint John’s Abbey with “prudent, non-risk” limitations on his ministry.”

View Statement… Here

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Counsel’s statement on legal status of accused monks
August 2, 2010

“A recent news feature aired on a Twin Cities television outlet [ View ] revealed confusion or misunderstanding regarding Saint John’s Abbey’s program to deal with its members who have faced credible accusations of sexual misconduct. As the program has evolved since its inception in 1992, a variety of words have been used to describe the status of monks charged with misconduct. The words have included “supervision,” “restriction,” and “safety plan,” and all refer to the same individual, voluntary agreements entered into by the Abbey and accused monks who have chosen to continue as members of the monastic community.”

View Statement…. Here

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Abbot Klassen’s Letter to St. John’s Community
April 12, 2011

“Over the past years, I have been very aware of the fact that it is not only the monks who feel the impact of allegations of misconduct by members of our monastic community. All of you, our students, our faculty, staff, and administration, both here and at Saint Ben’s, feel the impact of these past events. I am deeply sorry for the harm done to survivors, and also for the pain it causes you now.”

View Letter… Here

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Abbot John Klassen, OSB
To the Saint John’s and Saint Benedict’s Communities
April 29, 2011

“I was disheartened to watch the WCCO report last night regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by members of the abbey and see the very negative image it tried to portray of Saint John’s. Building on the work of Abbots Jerome and Timothy, since I was elected abbot in 2000 I have worked very hard to ensure that the abbey is dealing appropriately with the issues of sexual misconduct by monks of Saint John’s.”

View Letter… Here

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AN UPDATE FROM ABBOT JOHN
Sent to St. John’s Employees
June 22, 2011

“Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation are morally reprehensible. Saint John’s Abbey works honestly and openly with victims of sexual abuse and their attorneys. We are committed to doing all we can to help those who have been harmed to begin their healing and to correct the grievous wrongs that have been committed in the past by some members of our community.”

View Email… Here

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Topics: Dietrich Reinhart, Francisco Schulte, Gordon Tavis, John Klassen, Jonathan Licari, Letters to Community, Timothy Kelly

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