St. Norbert Abbey Releases Its Abuse Cases

Press-Gazette [Green Bay, Wisconsin]
February 20, 2004

The community of St. Norbert Abbey also released information that it provided for the national study on sexual abuse of minors that is to be released Feb. 27 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Sexual abuse of minors is fundamentally contrary to the goals and mission of the Premonstratensian Order,” said Abbot Gary Neville.

“The order, since its establishment in the United States, has been committed to the education of young people, especially in the Green Bay Diocese. Thousands of young people have had the benefit of a good moral Catholic education in the diocese and beyond. However, regrettably, some priests associated with our Abbey have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of children. The facts are these:”

• In the past 111 years, 16 out of 267 priests have been accused of sexual misconduct with children.

• Most of the accusations relate to events more than 20 years ago and some as long as 50 years ago.

• There have been 54 allegations against Norbertines, nearly half of which were levied against two priests. One died more than 10 years ago; the other left the priesthood.

• Of the 54 allegations, most were found credible. However, four were found false and several are deemed questionable.

• Of the 16 accused priests, eight are deceased and three are no longer in the order. The remaining five are still members of the order but no longer function in active ministry.

• Financial costs to the order, including settlement costs, attorneys’ fees and counseling, have been in excess of $1 million, most of which was covered by liability insurance.

“St. Norbert Abbey will continue to follow the policy that it established in 1986 and will strive to find ways to provide even better support and assistance for anyone who may have been victimized by one of our priests. We will not tolerate any type of abuse by our members,” Neville said.

“We cannot erase the pain of those who have been victimized and to them, I apologize on behalf of the order. Our order, as a part of the Catholic Church in the U.S., continues to struggle with the ugly, sad and painful reality of this history,” he said.


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