|Website Sheds Light on Abbey History
By David Unze
May 19, 2010
The former St. John's Prep School student had occasionally tried to find information about the Rev. Francisco Schulte in the years since he was an altar boy at a North Carolina church where Schulte had once served.
When he did a Google search in January for Schulte, he found one of the first links was to a website started by an abuse survivor named Pat Marker.
BehindthePineCurtain.com had been around in some form since 2002, but in recent months has added waves of new information about the monks of St. John's Abbey. Its "Meet the Monks" section reads like a history of the abbey, with profiles of each monk gleaned from official order directories.
The man who filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Schulte "was overwhelmed" by the information he found on Schulte, including learning for the first time that Schulte likely had other victims besides him, said Jeff Anderson, the attorney who is representing the man known publicly as John Doe SS.
"This website and the effort by Pat Marker is one of the most significant achievements in child protection in the country, in terms of dissemination of information and speaking and telling the stories," Anderson said.
BehindthePineCurtain.com was launched in 2002 as the "Abuse Disclosure Project." It was taken down by the former St. John's Preparatory School student and clergy molestation victim when he joined the St. John's Abbey external review board.
Marker resigned from the board in 2006 in protest of what he said was abbey foot-dragging in making public the names of monks and priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse against them. A few days after resigning, Marker relaunched the website under the new name as a resource for people interested in the history of sexual abuse and misconduct in Collegeville.
"If I wanted it to be done, it wasn't going to get done in Collegeville," Marker said. "It was going to have to be done by someone on the outside."
Using abbey bulletins, official directories and news accounts, Marker has assembled an extensive repository of information about St. John's Abbey and its members. The abbey has expressed concern in the past about the truthfulness of some of the information on the site.
Marker stands by it and said his website will continue to put out the information.
"It's a powerful tool for survivors," said Anderson, "and it's really the alarm bell being sounded every day."
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