Second Lawsuit Filed against Conception Abbey Alleging Cover-up over Former Monk

By Judy L. Thomas
Kansas City Star
July 22, 2011

A second lawsuit has been filed against a northwest Missouri abbey alleging cover-up of sexual abuse by a former monk who directed its boys’ choir in the 1980s.

The lawsuit, filed against Conception Abbey by an Oregon man, claims that Bede Parry, a Benedictine monk, molested the plaintiff in the early 1980s when the plaintiff was a minor. At the time, Parry taught the boy piano lessons and led the Abbey Boy Choir of Conception Abbey.

The suit alleges the abbey knew Parry had sexually abused other students before abusing the plaintiff but kept it quiet. “He’s been dealing with this for a long time, and the memories started making it debilitating for him the last couple of years,” said Rebecca Randles, the attorney who filed the suit.

The plaintiff, who Randles said was 14 or 15 at the time, issued a statement saying the abuse left him feeling “outcast, worthless and helpless.”

“I feel overwhelming guilt because other kids were abused after I was,” he said. “I feel betrayed by the church because they knew of other reports of abuse before I came into contact with Bede Parry.”

Conception Abbey officials did not return phone calls requesting comment. Last month, after a similar lawsuit was filed, Abbot Gregory Polan said he could not discuss the case but said “we are praying for all of the people involved.”

Parry, 69, became a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2004 and until last month was the music director and assisting priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas. He told The Kansas City Star on Thursday that “my attorney has asked me not to say anything.”

Last month, Parry admitted to The Star that he had inappropriate sexual relations with several members of the Abbey Boy Choir from 1982 to 1987, when he directed the group.

The lawsuit, filed in Nodaway County Circuit Court under the name John Doe 48, seeks unspecified damages. It was announced Thursday at a news conference of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The suit alleges the inappropriate behavior began when the plaintiff began taking piano lessons from Parry in 1982 and also occurred when the boy attended choir camp at the abbey. The suit says Parry forced sexual favors from the boy and performed sexual acts on him on at least a half-dozen occasions over a span of 18 months.

Another lawsuit filed June 23 claimed that Parry molested a boy in 1987 during a summer camp at the abbey.

To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send email to


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