5 files released of St. John's monks accused of sexual abuse

By Rob Olson
Fox 9
May 20, 2014

[with video]

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Last December, St John's Abbey disclosed the names of 18 clerics who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Now, the personal files of 5 of those men are public -- revealing what church officials knew and when.

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson released roughly 450 pages that document the history of five St. John’s monks who have worked in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis accused of sexually abusing children.

"You know, he'd bring me places I'd never been before -- nice restaurants," Lloyd Van Vleet recalled.

With a devout mother and absent father, Van Vleet says he was about 14 years old when Father Robert Blumeyer -- who was a priest in Wayzata at the time -- began abusing him, and it went on for years.

"It stole my childhood," he said. "I quit doing everything I liked to do. I quit playing baseball; I quit collecting -- everything I did changed."

Blumeyer is one of the 5 priests who were removed from ministry and sent to St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn. -- along with: 

Robert Blumeyer
Cosmas Dahlheimer
Thomas Gillespie
Francis Hoefgen
Brennan Maiers

"Robert Blumeyer died in 1983 without any of this ever being known," Anderson said. "All of this continued on through all these decades while all of this material is sitting in the files."

The heavily redacted files were obtained as part of a lawsuit filed in Ramsey County in 2013 involving the Archdiocese, Diocese of Winona and Father Thomas Adamson. Sometimes, entire pages are blacked out -- and that has Anderson vowing to return to court to push for total disclosure.

The five men whose files were released are or were members of the Benedictine religious order who had assignments in the Archdiocese at some point in the past. Their names were posted on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis website in December 2013 and February 2014.

In Blumeyer's case, the 117-page file contains a lot of mundane information; however, it also contains the confidential memos of abuse claims -- including the memo agreeing to pay Von Vleet $100,000.

"That's when I went up to St. John's Abbey," he recalled. "They cut me a check and then just said, 'Go away.'"

In 2011, a settlement was reached with St. John’s Abbey in nine alleged sexual abuse cases involving 10 monks or priests at St. John’s Prep in Collegeville, Minn. The alleged abuse occurred between the 1960s and 2004. Blumeyer was the only one of the five not associated with that settlement, which required St. John's to send a letter to anyone who attended the St. John's Preparatory School with the full list of names.



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