Shoreview Clergy Leaders Address Abuse Claims Again
By David Chanen
May 23, 2002
The crowd hushed as the Rev. Tom Carkhuff slowly approached the pulpit.
Ordained 26 years ago, he said he had never imagined having to address issues of sexual misconduct. But Wednesday, for the second night in a row, he saw the anger, concern, compassion and tears of parishioners from St. Odilia Catholic Church in Shoreview.
Allegations have been made public in recent weeks against priests and brothers associated with the U.S. Crosiers, the Shoreview-based religious order led by Carkhuff.
The meetings were held Tuesday and Wednesday by Carkhuff and representatives of St. Odilia to help the congregation learn more about the revelation that a Crosier brother who admitted abusing a 14-year-old boy has been living next door to the church, at Crosier headquarters in Shoreview, for 1 1/2 years.
In his opening prayer, St. Odilia's pastor, the Rev. Rick McGuire, asked God to give "us the grace to tell the truth we need to say."
In homilies April 20 and 21, he discussed three incidents of sexual misconduct at his church.
There was a report by a young woman who said she had been inappropriately touched by a priest in the early 1970s. When she made the report years later, the priest, who was then serving elsewhere, was removed from parish work by the bishop of his new diocese, McGuire said.
Lorri Kaas, spokeswoman for the U.S. Crosiers, didn't know his name or where he was serving when the allegation arose.
The second allegation was made anonymously and conveyed through a third party to St. Odilia officials in 1997. The church investigated the complaint and learned that the priest had left the Crosiers 10 years earlier and wasn't working as a priest, McGuire said in the homily. The Crosiers recently verified that he still isn't in active ministry. Kaas said they didn't learn the victim's identity.
In his homily, McGuire had said the church also fired an employee because he had sexually harassed some teenagers verbally. The incident was reported to police, but no charges were filed, he said.
"As your pastor, I assure you that to my knowledge and that of the parish administration, there has never been a cover-up of any incident of sexual misconduct by a staff person of the parish of St. Odilia," he said.
The main thing on the minds of those who attended Wednesday's meeting was Brother Gregory Madigan, who admitted to abusing a 14-year-old boy in the mid-1980s when the boy was a student at a Crosier school in Onamia, Minn. He also admitted abusing other boys, Carkhuff said.
Until Madigan's placement in Shoreview was made public last weekend by Carkhuff, he was allowed to see his therapist, visit his mother or go shopping without an escort, Carkhuff said. He also attended mass at St. Odilia with an escort.
Madigan, 66, is now required to be escorted any time he leaves the Shoreview community and was asked by parish leaders to no longer pray at St. Odilia on weekends. He will be moved into temporary housing away from the church in the next few days while an independent review of his placement in Shoreview is conducted, Carkhuff said.
The Star Tribune incorrectly reported Wednesday that other members of the Crosiers were living under restrictions in Shoreview, but Madigan is the only Crosier living under restrictions there, Crosier officials said.
Some other members of the order are under restrictions, but Crosier officials said Wednesday that they don't know where they are, how many there are or what actions led to the restrictions. The Crosiers are hiring an independent auditor to review past and future allegations.
The article published Wednesday also incorrectly implied that the priest involved in the 1970s incident in which a woman said she had been inappropriately touched had been moved from St. Odilia parish because of the allegations. The newspaper sent a letter to the U.S. Crosiers and the St. Odilia community correcting the information and expressing its regrets for the errors.
Nearly 20 people of about 125 in attendance spoke at Wednesday's meeting, including a woman who said she had been sexually abused as a teenager, though she didn't say by whom. She and many others supported Madigan staying in Shoreview, saying he doesn't present any safety risks to children at St. Odilia's school.
It was a difficult decision to place him in Shoreview, Carkhuff said. But he felt confident doing so after talking to Madigan's psychologist and because Madigan has undergone 15 years of successful treatment.
Rex Holzemar, a member of St. Odilia's lay leadership who answered members' questions, said he was angry that the church learned only last week that Madigan was living next door.
"It was wrong to have it hidden like this," he said. "We decided now it would be better for him to move so he wouldn't become a focal point, and the congregation could move forward with constructive discussions about the allegations."
For every person who wanted the church to forgive Madigan, there was a voice that he should go away.
"I'm sorry we have to be here tonight," Carkhuff said. "Would I have done things differently 18 months ago? By all means."
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