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  Crosiers Address Sex Abuse
Shoreview Religious Order Identifies Eight Offenders

By Chris Graves, Warren Wolfe and Richard Meryhew
Star Tribune [Minneapolis MN]
October 10, 2002

A Roman Catholic religious order based in Shoreview on Wednesday publicly identified eight members who sexually abused minors, and it announced a stronger policy against sexual misconduct that is aimed at restoring the public's trust.

The eight Crosier priests and brothers who abused minors have been removed from public ministry and are living under restrictions, according to a summary of an independent audit released by the Crosier order.

"We are proud of the investigation, our strengthened policy and the many steps we have taken to confront this issue head on," said the Rev. Thomas Carkhuff, who leads the U.S. branch of the Crosiers, which has 87 members. "We are shedding light on these issues to renew our order and our commitment to our mission _ through these actions we hope to earn the trust of the public."

Additional victims and incidents of sexual abuse were identified during the audit, but no new perpetrators were identified in the investigation, the report said.

It also found that the last incident of sexual abuse occurred more than 15 years ago. No new incidents of sexual abuse were reported against Crosiers once they were placed on restriction, the report said.

Unanswered questions

But the summary of the audit, conducted by the Minneapolis law firm of Faegre & Benson, doesn't disclose the number of victims, how many incidents of abuse occurred or how far back the investigation looked.

Two of the identified Crosiers abused one victim each, the report said. The others abused more than one, said Dan Connolly, one of the attorneys who worked on the investigation.

In cases with multiple victims, "we felt the numbers were not as important as the fact that you are identifying the perpetrators," he said.

The law firm acknowledged that it didn't follow up on allegations involving Crosiers who are dead or who left the order.

Other Crosier members who may have been cleared were not mentioned; nor were allegations involving adults.

Disclosure in May

The Crosiers hired the law firm in June to investigate past and present allegations after Carkhuff disclosed in May that Brother Gregory Madigan had abused a 14-year-old boy in the mid-1980s at the Crosier seminary and prep school in Onamia, Minn. Madigan admitted the abuse after the victim came forward in 1988, Carkhuff said.

Madigan had lived at the Crosiers' community in Shoreview, which is next door to St. Odilia Church and school, for a year and a half but was moved to an unnamed location last summer.

He is one of the eight Crosiers living under restrictions. He was the only one whose place of residence was not disclosed in the report.

"There has been no final decision made on where he will live," said Lorri Kaas, a Crosier spokeswoman. "It's easier for us not to get into that."

Kaas also said the Crosiers, after consulting with lawyers and others, decided not to release any information about victims.

"We've done [the audit]. We are accountable. Now we are looking forward," she said.

On Wednesday, the order also released a new sexual-misconduct policy, announced that it will create a team of religious and lay members to review and evaluate future sex-abuse allegations, and again encouraged anyone who has been abused by a Crosier member or employee to report the abuse.

"Certainly, addressing sexual misconduct issues is difficult for us, but our primary concern is for the pain survivors and their families have endured for years," Carkhuff said. "To them we are deeply sorry. It is their stories that have strengthened our resolve to ensure the safety of the people we serve and provide greater accountability."

New abuse policy

The Crosier policy is based on principles adopted by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, an advisory body of more than 100 Catholic religious orders in the United States. It resembles a series of promises announced by St. John's Abbey of Collegeville, Minn., last week in a settlement with more than a dozen families and victims of sex abuse by monks.

The Crosiers' misconduct policy:

- Requires that anyone found to have sexually abused a minor be removed from public ministry.

That differs from the policy adopted by Catholic bishops in June in that the Crosiers will allow offenders to work within their communities, but not with the public, said spokesman David Kostik.

- Authorizes the provincial, or leader, of the U.S. Crosiers to impose other restrictions and begin procedures for removal from the order.

- Requires that civil authorities be notified of any report or suspicion that a child or vulnerable adult has been abused. That already is required by Minnesota law.

- Authorizes Carkhuff to create an advisory panel of members and nonmembers of the order that he can convene to review investigation results and to help him make decisions about an offender's future. He is working to set up the panel and has had advice from sexual-abuse victims.

- Directs the Crosiers to conduct background investigations on those seeking membership in the order.

- Provides continuing education about sexual health and sexual misconduct to members, employees and volunteers.

- Requires disclosure of incidents of sexual misconduct to parishes and other places where an offender worked so other victims can consider reporting abuse.

- Defines procedures for dealing with a victim and the accused when an allegation is received.

"We are acting to ensure we do not look back some day and think there was more we could have done," Carkhuff said.

Chris Graves is at cgraves@startribune.com.

THE LIST

Eight Crosier members living on restrictions

Eight Crosier members were found to be the subject of credible claims of sexual abuse of a minor.

All have been removed from public ministry; may not perform any work with minors, including volunteer work; cannot be in the presence of a minor without adult supervision, and cannot leave the grounds of a Crosier community without permission.

Some also have additional restrictions. Where the number of victims is not specified below, there were multiple victims, investigators said.

Neil Emon, 61, a priest living in the Crosier Community of Phoenix, Ariz. He served in Hastings, Neb., 1967-74; in Onamia, Minn., 1974-80; at St. Peter Church in St. Cloud, Minn., 1980-89, and at St. Alfred Church in Taylor, Mich., and the Crosier Community in Riverview, Mich., 1989-2000. Since then he has been assigned to the Crosier Community of Phoenix.

Gabriel Guerrero, 66, a brother living in the Crosier Community of Phoenix. He served in Onamia, Minn., 1953-55 and 1958-79; in Syracuse, Ind., 1955-57; in Hastings, Neb., 1957-58 and 1979-90, and in the Crosier Community of New York, 1990-2000. Since then he has been assigned to the Crosier Community of Phoenix.

Gregory Madigan, 67, a brother living under restrictions with another unspecified religious community while his assignment to live as a member of the Crosier Community of Shoreview is evaluated. He served in Hastings, Neb., 1956-58; in Syracuse, Ind., 1958-60; in White Plains, N.Y., 1960-61; in Onamia, Minn., 1961-87; in Chicago, 1988-90, and in the Crosier Community of New York, 1990-2000. Then he was assigned to the Crosier Community of Shoreview, but the Crosiers said in June that Madigan had been moved to an undisclosed location.

Bruce Maxwell, 62, a priest; a single incident of abuse with one minor. Performing administrative duties while completing separation from the military. He served in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1975; in Hastings, Neb., 1975-82; in the Detroit area, 1983-89, and as a military chaplain, 1989-2002.

James Moeglein, 59, a priest living in the Crosier Community of Onamia, Minn. He served in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1970; in Onamia, Minn., 1970-88; in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, 1988-89; in the Riverview, Mich., area, 1989-90, and in Hastings, Neb., 1990-99. Since then he has been assigned to the Crosier Community of Onamia.

Thomas O'Brien, 55, a priest; abuse with one minor. Performing internal administrative duties for the Crosier Generalate. He served in Syracuse, Ind., 1974-75; in Onamia, Minn., 1975-87; in Riverview, Mich., 1989-94; in St. Paul, 1994-2001, and in Rome, 2001 to the present.

Richard Ohlemacher, 80, a priest living in the Crosier Community of Phoenix. Retired. He served in Onamia, Minn., 1955-58; in Syracuse, Ind., 1958-75; in Three Rivers, Mich., 1975-79; in the Fort Wayne, Ind., area, 1979-87, and in the Phoenix/Glendale area since 1987.

Justin Weger, 77, a priest living in the Crosier Community of Phoenix. Will become a resident in a long-term-care senior housing facility. He served in Fort Ripley, Minn., 1953-54; in Onamia, Minn., 1954-73 with some service in St. Paul, 1968-72; in Fort Wayne, Ind., 1973-74, and in the Tucson and Phoenix areas since 1974.

 
 

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