St. John's Abbey Issues List of Clergy "Likely" to Have Abused Minors
St. Cloud Times
December 9, 2013
St. John’s Abbey released a list Monday of 18 monks and priests who it believes “likely have offended against minors.”
The list includes several names that previously have been released by the abbey; some are deceased and some are living at the abbey under “supervised safety plans.”
The abbey said Monday that it was voluntarily releasing the names after inquiries from the Times and after a lawsuit filed against the abbey demanded the release of a list as a condition of the lawsuit.
“This list reflects our best efforts to identify those who likely have offended against minors,” said Brother Aelred Senna, spokesman for the abbey. “That task often is complicated by the passage of time, the deaths of some of those involved and sometimes incomplete accounts of the past. Even so, we are including all 18 names to provide as complete of a list as we can to acknowledge the pain suffered by victims. This list underscores our commitment to being transparent in our policies and procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse.”
The list includes nine monks who are living at the abbey under supervised safety plans, seven monks who are deceased and two men who have been “dispensed from their religious vows” and no longer are connected to the abbey, according to Senna.
Those listed are:
Andre Bennett (deceased).
Robert Blumeyer (deceased).
Cosmas Dahlheimer (deceased).
Francis Hoefgen (no longer a monk at the abbey).
Othmar Hohmann (deceased).
Dominic Keller (deceased).
John Kelly (no longer a monk at the abbey).
Pirmin Wendt (deceased).
Bruce Wollmering (deceased).
The release comes after a Ramsey County judge ruled recently that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis could release a list of priests with credible allegations of sexual misconduct against them. The archdiocese listed Hoefgen, Dahlheimer and Maiers among its credibly accused for what those men did when assigned to parishes within the archdiocese.
The Diocese of St. Cloud said last week that new Bishop Donald Kettler was reviewing the diocese’s history of response to sexual abuse allegations before he decides whether to release a list. Previous media reports have indicated that the Diocese of St. Cloud could have as many as 27 priests who have been credibly accused.
The list released by the abbey contains three names that haven’t been publicly released previously by the abbey -- Hohmann, Keller and Wendt. The others have appeared on lists previously released by the abbey or were identified as likely being abusers by Abbot John Klassen.
The claims against each man named were reviewed either by the abbey’s External Review Board or by Klassen, said Senna. In the case of each man, a determination was made that there was sufficient evidence to include his name on the list, he said.
In some cases in which allegation were made decades after the accused monk’s death, Klassen decided to include the name of the monk on the list despite a lack of evidence corroborating the abuse, Senna said.
The release of the list by St. John’s Abbey is a big step forward and the right thing to do, said Jeff Anderson, who represents the man suing the abbey.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” he said. “We are glad St. John’s released the list so that communities are safer. This disclosure helps us, and the survivors, come together because we all want the same thing: for kids to be protected and the truth to be known. This action is a step in that direction.”