St. John’s Abbey responds to lawsuit announcement


(SC Times) St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson is expected to file a sexual abuse lawsuit against St. John’s Abbey and one of its monks, Richard Eckroth on Monday.

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The suit was served last Friday, Anderson said.

Eckroth is accused of sexually abusing two young boys at a cabin in northern Minnesota during the early 1970s when they were parishioners at the Church of St. Joseph in St. Joseph.

Anderson held a news conference at noon Monday to announce the filing in Stearns County court.

“Sorting out the truth of allegations against Father Eckroth is complicated by his advanced dementia,” St. John’s Abbey spokesman Aelred Senna wrote in a press release on Monday.

“He has suffered from dementia for well over a decade, and the disease has taken an increasingly serious toll on his health and cognitive abilities,” the release states. “Incidents involving Eckroth are alleged to have occurred more than forty years ago. While there have been credible claims of inappropriate behavior by Eckroth, there has also been conflicting testimony regarding allegations against him.”

On Monday, Anderson also released files on the late Robert Blumeyer, the late Cosmas Dahlheimer, Thomas Gillespie, Francis Hoefgen and Brennan Maiers — other St. John’s monks accused of sexually abusing children and all former employees of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese. The files were obtained in a 2013 Ramsey County lawsuit.

Eckroth, Blumeyer, Dahlheimer, Gillespie, Hoefgen and Maiers were all listed as clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors by the Diocese of St. Cloud in a January report. Eckroth was living in Collegeville at the time of that report.

Anderson is also requesting that St. John’s release its files on Blumeyer, Dahlheimer, Gillespie, Hoefgen and Maiers plus 17 other clerics from the institution whom Anderson says have been credibly accused of sexual abuse involving minors.

Senna also wrote: “As a community, Saint John’s holds any form of sexual abuse to be morally reprehensible and a violation of our vow to a celibate and chaste life committed to mutual respect among all persons. Thus, over the past decade, we have developed policies and procedures to respond responsibly and effectively to investigate allegations of abuse, to hold accountable those who have abused, to keep the community safe and to reach out to victims with sincere offers of pastoral counseling … . We are committed to doing everything possible to assure that the mistakes of our past are not repeated.”

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St. John’s Abbey responds to lawsuit announcement
Saint Cloud Times
May 19, 2014

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Topics: Aelred Senna, Richard Eckroth

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