Exclusives : Judge Rules to Continue Civil Sex Abuse Case against Bede Parry Now a Tec Priest

By David W. Virtue
Virtue Online
October 26, 2011

A request to dismiss a civil child sex abuse lawsuit against Conception Abbey, the former spiritual home of the Rev. Bede Parry who later was admitted into the Episcopal Church by Bishop Jefferts Schori, was denied by Nodaway county judge this week who ruled that the civil case should proceed.

Officials at the monastery petitioned to dismiss the suit, filed in June 2011, on the grounds that it was beyond the statute of limitations.

The suit claimed the Rev. Bede Parry, who at the time was an ordained priest at the monastery, allegedly had sexual contact with a minor child while serving as director of a residential choir camp in 1987. The lawsuit also alleges that officials at Conception Abbey knew of sex crimes committed by the Rev. Parry as far back as 1973.

Parry, a former Catholic monk and priest, was ordained as an Episcopal priest in Nevada in 2004, when Jefferts Schori was the local bishop before her 2006 election as presiding bishop.

Her successor in Nevada, Bishop Dan Edwards, took the fall for his Presiding Bishop when these charges came to light.

Edwards said on July 5 that a thorough review of church records showed that Jefferts Schori "handled the situation perfectly appropriately."

Edwards said the process that accepted Parry as an Episcopal priest was careful and long, stretching from 2002 until 2004. Parry told church leaders, including Jefferts Schori, that in 1987 he had inappropriately touched an adolescent in Missouri, and that the police had been called but charges had not been filed. He also disclosed that he had gone to counseling.

The implication is that Jefferts Schori was simply the victim of bad advice and was not aware of the results of tests (she has been completely silent on this). However, it is clear from the following conversation that took place between a victim and the abbot of the monastery that she was informed and therefore failed to uphold the church's child protection responsibilities.

In a website is an account from Sept. 11 of this year, which refutes the statement released by the Bishop of Nevada. The following exchange of emails backs this up. This statement is from a survivor.

September 11, 2011

Gregory Polan During a May 18, 2011, telephone conversation, we discussed ... Your failure to disclose misconduct by Bede Parry and other monks following the 2002 shooting at Conception Abbey.

Letter to Abbot Gregory Polan July 19, 2011

Abbot Gregory Polan

Conception Abbey 37174 State Highway Vv Conception Junction, Missouri

Abbot Gregory,

Attached please find an exchange of emails with a subject line of "Being Proactive" that we exchanged in April and May of this year. The exchange begins with my email to you on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 wherein I reference to our telephone conversation of Monday, April 25, 2011, and ends on May 3, 2011 with an email relating your telephone conversation with Bishop Dan Edwards.

In addition to the emails we exchanged, below please find notes from four of our phone conversations.

*** During our first telephone conversation, on Monday, April 25, 2011, you shared the following information:

1) You heard something about Bede's 1981 misconduct at St. John's "at the time of the incident".

2) You were aware of an incident involving Bede Parry with a member of the abbey's choir in the summer of 1987.

3) Bede Parry was sent to New Mexico soon after the 1987 incident.

4) When Bede Parry tried to enter another monastery, he took psychological tests that showed a "proclivity toward sexual misconduct with minors."

5) You called Parry's boss at an ambulance company and a woman bishop with the Episcopal Church with the information.

6) You identified the woman bishop as Katharine Jefferts Schori.

7) You told Katharine Jefferts Schori not only about the allegations [plural] against Bede, but also of Bede's attempt to join another monastery, the psychological testing and his "proclivity".

8) That Katharine Jefferts Schori, despite your revelations, "allowed him to continue to work."

9) You are a 1977 graduate of the St. John's University School of Theology and knew my abuser, Fr. Dunstan Moorse.

10) You didn't know why there was so much misconduct at St. John's.

11) At least two other members of your community had allegations against them.

12) After I suggested that you take what the public would consider a proactive approach to the Bede Parry problem, you suggested a letter to all members as a form of outreach.

13) You were waiting to create or post a page on your web site to address concerns regarding sexual misconduct.

*** During an April 28, 2011, telephone conversation you shared or confirmed (with Fr. Patrick Caveglia and Fr.Daniel Petsche in your office and all on speakerphone) the following information:

1) You agreed that Katherine Jefferts Schori had known about Bede's "propensity to reoffend" for nine years.

2) Bede Parry is a sick man.

3) No one is monitoring Bede Parry.

4) After we discussed two of Bede Parry's victims you offered pastoral help, claiming that it was "hallmark" of the way the abbey deals with things.

5) You will contact Jerome Hanus.

6) Bede's return to Conception Abbey would never be possible.

7) You will call the new Episcopal bishop in Nevada, Dan Edwards.

*** During a May 12, 2011, telephone conversation, you shared or confirmed (with Fr. Patrick Caveglia and Fr.Daniel Petsche in your office and all on speakerphone) the following information:

1) Jerome Hanus told you in a phone conversation that he did not remember conversations with Bede or Jerome Theisen about Bede's misconduct prior to 1979 or in 1981.

2) When I asked whether Hanus denied participating or couldn't remember, you said he couldn't remember.

3) Abbot James spoke to the family of one of Bede's victims in approximately March of 1997 about the possibility of Bede returning to Conception Abbey.

4) You would be happy for me to facilitate a meeting between you and the two known choir victims

5) You consulted a lawyer and a few parents about the letter to choir members. They didn't think that it was a wise thing to do because it could open wounds.

6) According to Abbey records, Fr. Reginald was overseeing the choir. Bede was only an assistant.

The phone call ended after I expressed disappointment that a choir letter was not going out.

*** During a May 18, 2011, telephone conversation, we discussed:

1) My May 16, 2011 e-mail ... You said that I crossed the line by making overly judgmental statements.

2) You asked that I not call again.

3) My call with a third choir member who was a victim of misconduct by Bede Parry.

4) The fact that I am actively looking for victims because Conception Abbey is making no outreach.

5) Your failure to disclose misconduct by Bede Parry and other monks following the 2002 shooting at Conception Abbey.

6) After I read the letter from one of Bede Parry's victims, you apologized for Bede's misconduct and to me for the misconduct I endured at St. John's.

7) You said that you had to listen to your conscience and your calling - and that I should do the same.

*** In our last conversation, you said that you had to trust your conscience. I find it hard to believe that your conscience is telling you to stonewall. My conscience has led me toward numerous phone conversations and email exchanges with parents, choir members, former monks, and seminary students. I have learned a great deal about the history of misconduct at Conception Abbey.

I respectfully request that you make a public statement regarding misconduct by the members of your community. Those who offended must be held accountable - and publicly named. Those who protected the offenders must also be held accountable.

I know of at least twelve victims who would have benefitted from such accountability years ago. My guess is that there are dozens more. Please ease their burden.

I also request that you end all speculation regarding your conversations with Katharine Jefferts Schori and Dan Edwards. They ignored your warnings and are rewriting history to serve their own agendas. Please do not fall victim to that trap.

The entire Conception Abbey community deserves the truth. The victims deserve no less. Sincerely,

Patrick J. Marker

Marker told VOL in an e-mail that in response to the letter he sent Polan, he received letter from Polan requesting that he direct all future correspondence to the abbey's attorney.


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