(StarTribune.com) The attorney for nine people who say they were abused by Roman Catholic clergy announced a settlement Monday of lawsuits against St. John’s Preparatory School of Collegeville, Minn.
Attorney Jeff Anderson declined to say how much money his clients received as part of the settlement, emphasizing that the case has always been more about exposing the names of clergy being accused.
At least 17 monks who had “credible allegations of sexual abuse, exploitation or misconduct brought against them” were listed in a letter being sent to the St. John’s community by its abbot, John Klassen.
The letter, a part of the settlement, was made public by Anderson during a news conference at his St. Paul offices and also will be posted by St. John’s on its website, he said.
The suits were brought against the Order of St. Benedict, based in Collegeville, St. John’s Preparatory School, St, John’s Abbey and 11 clergy members. The order runs the school and the abbey at St. John’s. Telephone and e-mail messages were left Monday for the Abbey’s spokesmen seeking comment about the developments.
The settlement covers allegations against 10 clergy, Anderson said. The abbot’s letter includes the names of most of those 10, Anderson added.
One of the accusers, Jeramiah McCarthy, spoke on behalf of the others who were at the meeting but did not want to be identified.
McCarthy said that the late Rev. Bruce Wollmering served as his counselor and “attacked me in his office” when McCarthy was 15 years old.
“I just hope that it does stop,” McCarthy said. “I hope people who this has happened to come forward and get some help.”
Anderson said the victims in the settlement ranged in ages from 9 to 16 years old at the time of their alleged abuse. The abuse occurred between 1960 to 2000, the attorney said.
For the past 27 years, Anderson has taken on thousands of clergy sex abuse cases in the United States and is also pursuing cases in Europe.
Anderson has filed lawsuits in recent years against the Vatican, accusing Catholic leaders of fraud and not doing enough to stop clergy sex abuse in its ranks.
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Sex-abuse settlement with St. John’s Prep names 17 monks
By ROSE FRENCH and PAUL WALSH, Star Tribune Staff Writers
Last update: March 28, 2011 – 7:04 PM