Text of a News Release Issued by an Atchison Abbot

By Abbot Barnabas Senechal
Printed in Topeka Capital-Journal
April 25, 2002

An allegation against Father Donald Redmond, O.S.B., a 72 year old monk of St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas, and a veteran pastor, caused his superior, Abbot Barnabas Senecal, O.S.B., to remove him from Sacred Heart parish, Sabetha, Kansas, in February, 2002 and have him take up residence in St. Benedict's Abbey.

This allegation was made by a gentleman who wants no further publicity or involvement. He had never reported this matter to church authorities before this; the occurrence was in the mid-1960's in Iowa. When Abbot Senecal learned of the allegation, he removed Father Redmond from parish work.

Other allegations were received shortly after this, from several individuals who used to live with their families in Sts. Peter and Paul parish, Seneca, Kansas. Father Redmond served in this parish from 1961 to 1964. "These complaints came to me for the first time in March and April of 2002," said Abbot Barnabas.

"I have visited with the families or the individuals who have complained to me. They understand that Father Donald has been removed from parish duty and will not be reassigned; they felt that this action was appropriate and sufficient, and they wanted their complaints to remain confidential," said Abbot Senecal. "However, one gentleman is asking for substantial monetary compensation."

The complaints against Father Redmond involve inappropriate sexual touch. The youngsters were in the parish elementary school. "This behavior is not acceptable to me, to any church or school authority, and not to the individuals and families affected," said Abbot Senecal.

These events happened during the years that Abbot Thomas Hartman, O.S.B., was responsible for community affairs. There are no records on file regarding his correspondence in these matters, nor any records of complaints by individuals. He is deceased. The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has also stated that it finds no complaints on file.

In accordance with Archdiocesan and Abbey sexual abuse policies, Father Charles McGlinn, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, and Abbot Senecal met with members of Sts. Peter and Paul in Seneca on Tuesday evening, April 23, seeking information from parish leaders and other adults who wanted to attend. This meeting was announced over the weekend in the parish bulletin. "Those present encouraged us to take steps to assure parish members that such behavior by a parish priest would not happen again. They asked us to continue efforts toward reconciliation with individuals and families affected," said Abbot Senecal.


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