Former Prep School Student Sues School, Monk, Abbey

By David Unze
St. Cloud Times
May 18, 2010

A former St. John’s Prep student is suing the school, a monk who used to teach at the school and the Order of St. Benedict and St. John’s Abbey, alleging a cover-up of sexual abuse.

The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Raymond Francisco Schulte of abusing the boy in the mid-1980s and accuses St. John’s Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict of concealing a pattern of abuse by Schulte and other members.

The school and abbey have not yet returned phone calls requesting comment on the suit.

Schulte, who is known by the names Father Ray and Father Francisco, was listed as a monk subject to restrictions in fall 2002. Schulte later requested and was granted a leave from the abbey and recently was in Rome giving tours of a monastery there.

The lawsuit alleges that Schulte sexually abused a boy in North Carolina in the 1980s when the boy as an altar boy and when Schulte was serving a parish there as a liaison to the Hispanic community. The lawsuit also accuses Schulte of abusing the boy on a trip to Mexico. It accuses Schulte of recruiting the boy to enroll at St. John’s Prep. The boy and his brother enrolled at the Prep School, but left before graduating.

The suit accuses Schulte of abusing three boys at a boarding school in Puerto Rico, where Schulte was assigned as a priest and teacher. It accuses Schulte of recruiting at least one of the boys to attend St. John’s Prep at the time when Schulte returned to teaching at the Prep School.

The lawsuit accuses the Prep School, Order of St. Benedict and Abbey of knowing about Schulte’s history of abuse and concealing it, along with abuse perpetrated by several other monks. The lawsuit alleges that the cover-up was intended to protect priests from criminal prosecution, “maintain or increase charitable contributions and/or avoid public scandal,” according to the suit.

The lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County District Court by attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented 13 victims in a settlement with St. John’s in 2002 that was hailed as landmark. The suit against Schulte and St. John’s Abbey was filed because promises made by the abbey at the time of the settlement “seem to have been broken,” Anderson said.

One of the promises in the settlement, he said, was that St. John’s would place restrictions on members who had credible allegations against them of sexual misconduct. Allowing Schulte to travel to Rome while remaining a member of the Order of St. Benedict “seems to be a direct, grievous” violation of that promise, Anderson said.

“We’re really sad and full of sorrow that this action is taken today,” Anderson said.



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