February 27, 2004 — Today the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York released a report of its comprehensive compilation of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy in the United States. Saint John’s Abbey participated voluntarily in the survey and submitted all relevant data to the John Jay College for inclusion in its report.
Since 1950, credible allegations of the sexual abuse of a minor have been made against 13 priests of Saint John’s Abbey. These allegations involved 27 victims.
In 1950 there were 193 priests in the abbey. Between 1950 and the present 211 more priests were ordained, bringing the total number to 404.
Over the same period of time, credible allegations of the sexual abuse of a minor were also brought against two non-ordained members of the community. These allegations involved seven victims.
It is difficult to provide a precise number of the non-ordained members of Saint John’s Abbey over this period of time. In 1950 there were 95 non-ordained members in the community. Between that time and the present 317 men made first (temporary) vows. Many left the community during or after their temporary vows, others after their final vows. Some of these monks were ordained to the priesthood.
Of the 15 (that is, 13 ordained and two non-ordained) monks who have sexually abused a minor, six have left the community or have died; three are on a canonical leave of absence; six are living at the abbey with restrictions on their ministry and social contacts.
Some monks of Saint John’s Abbey have been accused of the sexual abuse of an adult. The three monks accused of such misconduct who are still members of the community also have restrictions on their ministry and social contacts.
Prior to 1992 financial records do not distinguish amounts related to sexual abuse. Since 1992 the abbey has paid $2,363,000 – all from its own resources or insurance coverage – for settlements to victims ($1,720,000), therapy and counseling for victims ($140,000), and attorneys’ fees and expenses ($503.000). This amount includes settlements, therapy, and legal expenses related to the sexual abuse of minors and adults.
Consistent with its Policy on Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, the Abbey will report any new allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by its members to law enforcement authorities and to its nine-member External Review Board, which was established in 2003.
Saint John’s Abbey deeply grieves the suffering that some of its members have caused. We renew our commitment to reach out to all who have been harmed by sexual abuse. We repeat our earnest appeal that anyone who has been a victim of sexual misconduct by a member of our community come forward so we can seek justice and healing.