Abbey releases list of offenders

Categories: Around the Diocese

December 20, 2013, edition
By Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully

On Dec. 9, St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville released the names of 18 monks who likely offended minors.

The list includes nine monks who are living at St. John’s Abbey under supervised plans: Brothers Michael Bik, Richard Eckroth, Thomas Gillespie, Brennan Maiers, Finian McDonald, Dunstan Moorse, James Phillips, Francisco Schulte and Allen Tarlton.

Seven of the monks are deceased: Brothers Andre Bennett, Robert Blumeyer, Cosmas Dahlheimer, Othmar Hohmann, Dominic Keller, Pirmin Wendt and Bruce Wollmering.

Two of the monks on the list have been dispensed from their religious vows and are no longer connected with the abbey: Francis Hoefgen and John Kelly.

According to a statement from the abbey, the cases were reviewed by either Abbot John Klassen or the Abbey’s External Review Board, which is a seven-member panel that includes experts in the treatment of sexual abuse of minors, judges, attorneys, law enforcement and a victim of sexual abuse.

There was sufficient evidence of offenses for each person included on the list, the release states.

“In some cases, however,” the release said, “all the facts could not be completely substantiated. Claims against some of those named on the list, for example, were not brought to the abbey’s attention for decades after the accused monk’s death. It is in several of these cases where the abbot made the determination to include the name of the monk on the list despite the lack of corroborating evidence.”

Abbey spokesperson Benedictine Brother Aelred Senna said the 18 names were included to provide a list as complete as possible to acknowledge the pain suffered by victims.

“This list underscores our commitment to being transparent in our policies and procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse,” he said.