(SC Times) Your Turn: St. John’s should disclose more

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Your Turn author Bonnie Singh helped organized the St. John’s Prep School Class of 1983 reunion held last month at which St. John’s officials had Patrick Marker, an 1983 grad and advocate for sex abuse victims, removed from the campus. Singh is upset with those actions and also concerned that students still are not being told enough about some clergy members living on St. John’s property who have faced allegations of abuse.

Your Turn: St. John’s should disclose more
St. Cloud Times
July 27, 2013
Bonnie Singh
Falcon Heights

I continue to be saddened by the events of the St. John’s Prep School reunion on June 29 and the subsequent upheaval it has caused, especially within my class of 1983.

St. John’s actions to remove Patrick Marker— a member of the class of ’83 and a sex abuse victims’ advocate — from campus was a horrific ordeal. It has opened so many wounds for members of our class.

I spent six months trying to locate and contact classmates, hosted a gathering the evening before the reunion and helped make arrangements for a gathering after the reunion event at St. John’s. The class of ’83 was among the most represented at the school that day. The incident at the reunion created both camaraderie and dissent among our classmates.

Had it not been for the actions of St. John’s, our class would have continued a joyous reunion weekend with lasting happy memories. But now that will never be.

I respect and understand that, as individuals, we have different mental and emotional states and different ways to work through difficult times in our lives. The big picture for me is prevention of further sexual abuse and violence, to create public awareness and to be a voice.

In regard to St. John’s, I am not out for blood. I simply want disclosure.

If I had children living at St. John’s, where the abbey reports (on its website) there are 10 credibly accused sex offenders living on campus (10 offenders within a 3.6-square-mile area), yet the abbey refuses to reveal who these offenders are, I would be very concerned for the safety of my children.

In an email, I asked Abbot John Klassen why the names and pictures of these 10 men are not disclosed to students as a safety measure. The response, “… these men need to be able to live full lives …”

The students at the prep school and St. John’s University need to know the people in charge are looking out for the best interests of the students. I don’t feel the students have that.

There needs to be complete disclosure. If I fall into the mode of keeping quiet, I feel I would be setting a bad example and sending the wrong message to our children.

The message sent by St. John’s was and is wrong. The best message to send is, “If down deep we know something is not right, we need to talk about it, and do all we can to make it right.” Our children need to know they are safe to talk about sexual abuse and to not feel threatened if they have something to report.

How will the students ever feel safe when the first instinct of the headmaster of the school is to call in the sheriff to hall away a victims’ advocate?

We can no longer sit in the corner and be silent on this issue.

View entire article and comments… Here.

Your Turn: St. John’s should disclose more
St. Cloud Times
July 27, 2013
Bonnie Singh
Falcon Heights

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Topics: 2013 Reunion, Opinion

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