“As we discussed, I believe that misconduct by men such as Father Dan Ward and Abbot Timothy Kelly as perpetrators, and perhaps even more as concealers of misconduct perpetrated by others, have destroyed the integrity of the institution and the lives of far too many innocent, good people.” – Patrick Marker to Vatican Officials
March 30, 2011
His Excellency, Archbishop Tobin
Congregatio pro Institutis Vitae Consecratae et Societatibus Vitae Apostolicae
Palazzo della Congregazioni, 00193 Roma, Piazza Pio XII, 3
Vatican City State
Thank you for recently taking the time to discuss St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota (USA) on March 17, 2011.
As we discussed, I believe that misconduct by men such as Father Dan Ward and Abbot Timothy Kelly as perpetrators, and perhaps even more as concealers of misconduct perpetrated by others, have destroyed the integrity of the institution and the lives of far too many innocent, good people.
As I listen to victims’ stories and assist in their recovery, I am ever mindful that St. John’s must also recover. Often, a victim’s first step is a phone call or email to me. St. John’s journey toward recovery/restoration will require difficult first steps as well, steps which have not yet taken.
I am asking the Congregation to intervene on behalf of all those victims and concerned parties who have implored St. John’s to act with honesty and compassion.
Between 2003 and 2006, I was a member of the St. John’s Abbey External Review Board. As a member of that board, I was asked to cover-up abuse by three members of the abbey so as to not disrupt their fundraising efforts. I resigned in protest.
In June of 2010, I met after mass with Abbot John Klassen. I told Abbot Klassen that four men had approached me, asking for a recommendation. I was sincere in my offer to be part of the solution and in my desire to discern whether St. John’s would act in the best interests of these men. The Abbot agreed to meet with me but two weeks later said in an email, “I don’t think a meeting is necessary.” This past Monday, at least one of the men settled their complaint, via the legal process, for an undisclosed amount of money. St. John’s failed these four men… for the second time.
The majority of people who have approached me are not interested in mass litigation. They, as do I, simply wish to have the veracity of their experience acknowledged. I will provide documentation which supports this and other claims made herein.
I believe that the Congregation in Rome is the only avenue now available to properly investigate and address the deep-rooted, systemic issues and the long history of misconduct at St. John’s. Without the Congregation’s direct intervention, I believe that St. John’s will continue to make poor, short-sighted decisions. These decisions impact not only victims but the entire community.
Sadly, men like Kelly and Ward are but the tip of an enormous iceberg of hypocrisy and deception at St. John’s Abbey. It has been suggested on at least one occasion that opinion should be sought from Cardinal De Paolis into the canonical conduct of Father Ward. With Father Ward’s guidance, the leadership at St. John’s Abbey has proven to be horribly reactionary — rather than visionary, as they would have others believe — when it comes to matters of misconduct. Documents show that St. John’s has been, at times, more concerned with the financial implications of full disclosure than the emotional and spiritual well-being of those whose lives have been effected.
It is my sincere belief, based on twenty-two years of research and hundreds of conversations, that full-disclosure is the only path to restoring the integrity of a once-proud and deserving institution. The 300+ victims of misconduct by personnel at St. John’s deserve to be heard and the 50+ perpetrators of misconduct must be held accountable.
Thank you once again for your willingness to receive this information.
As you instructed, I will be communicate my findings in writing and to your attention.
Patrick J Marker