Monks Accused of Five Decades of Sexual Abuse of Children at Minnesota Abbey - and One Is Alleged to Have Had 200 Victims
By Regina F. Graham
November 27, 2015
Shocking sex abuse allegations against 19 monks in Minnesota have been revealed in previously secret files.
The files on several monks from St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota were made public Tuesday and suggest that 19 of the men may have abused hundreds of children for more than five decades.
Attorney Jeff Anderson released the files of five of those monks - two of whom are now deceased - to encourage victims to step forward because the statute of limitations on the Child Protection Act runs out in just six months.
St. John's Abbey agreed to release the files as part of a court settlement with a victim who was known only as John Doe No.2, KMSP reported.
|Victim Troy Bramlage, who has waived his right to anonymity to help encourage other survivors to tell the authorities about the abuse they suffered|
|Shocking sex abuse allegations against 19 monks from St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota have been revealed in secret files that were recently released (pictured)|
The victim's real name is Troy Bramlage and he has waived his right to anonymity to help encourage other survivors to tell the authorities about the abuse they suffered.
'We still need to get our voices out to people who have not come forward,' Bramlage said during a press conference.
'Be John Doe, be Jane Doe. Be whatever you are comfortable with. Go to whatever you think will help you.
'Whether that's these gentlemen or somebody else. But make your story known.'
|The monks from St. John's Abbey (above) may have abused hundreds of children over five decades|
|Attorney Jeff Anderson (left) released the files of five of those monks to encourage victims to step forward along with Troy Bramlage (right), who is a victim|
One of the monks named in the files is Father Finian McDonald.
A 1992 psychological profile on McDonald revealed that his total number of sexual 'partners' reported during his priesthood as 200, according to KMSP.
Some of those include at least 15 students from St. John's University and prep school where he worked as a counselor.
He also admitted that he had stolen money from church collection plates and paid male prostitutes for sex while working in Japan, KARE reported.
|Father Finian McDonald admitted to having a total number of 200 sexual partners during his priesthood, including children|
McDonald reported that his youngest victims were 13 or 14-year-old prostitutes in Thailand, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
In addition, he also admitted that he abused 18 people while serving as a prefect at St. John's dormitories, and that he acted out sexually and abused alcohol during most of his 29 years as a dormitory prefect, the Star Tribune reported.
The four other monks named in the files released include the Rev. Tom Gillespie, former priest Fran Hoefgen, the Rev. Bruce Wollmering and the Rev. Richard Eckroth.
Eckroth and Wollmering are now deceased.
St. John's Abbey paid a Fran Hoefgen $30,000 to support him as he left the clergy, according to the files.
According to KARE, St. John's Abbey said that the other three are in situations where they are closely supervised.
In an online statement, St. John's Abbot John Klassen says the Abbey accepts full responsibility for the abuses that have been committed.
'We are hopeful that, with this disclosure, we can help survivors find peace and resolution,' Klassen wrote.
St. John's Abbey is one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in North America and it shares a campus with students at St. John's prep school and those at St. John's University.
Anderson said files on the other priests will be released in the months ahead.