Investigation finds credible allegations against eight Crosiers

By Gregg Aamot
Associated Press
October 10, 2002

Minneapolis -- A Minnesota-based Roman Catholic religious order announced a strengthened sexual misconduct policy on Wednesday and named eight priests and brothers who have been removed from public ministry for abuse and are living under restrictions.

The announcements from The Crosier Fathers and Brothers came as the order released the results of an investigation into several allegations of sexual misconduct against its members.

The new policy requires, among other things: the removal from public ministry of anyone who sexually abuses a minor, the notification of civil authorities upon a suspicion that a child or vulnerable adult has been abused, and background investigations of people seeking membership in the order.

"Our guys are really committed to wanting to make sure we do what is right," said the Rev. Thomas R. Carkhuff, head of the U.S. Crosiers, which is based in Shoreview, a St. Paul suburb. "I know very strongly that our guys feel very sorry about the wrongs that were committed in the past."

Several sexual abuse allegations came from students who in the 1970s and 1980s attended a prep school in Onamia run by the order. The school closed in 1989 because of declining enrollment.

Three members of the order previously accused of sexual misconduct were cleared of abusing minors, Carkhuff said. The order has 87 priests and brothers working in the United States, the majority of them in Minnesota.

The investigation, conducted by the Minneapolis-based law firm Faegre & Benson, found that the most recent allegation of sexual abuse of a minor reported to the Crosiers occurred more than 15 years ago.

The priests and brothers identified in the investigation include: Neil Emon, 61, of Phoenix; Gabriel Guerrero, 66, of Phoenix; Gregory Madigan, 67; of Shoreview; Bruce Maxwell, 62, of Japan; James Moeglein, 59, of Onamia; Thomas O'Brien, 55, of Rome; Richard Ohlemacher, 80, of Phoenix; and Justin Weger, 77, of Phoenix.

Carkhuff said he was confident the investigation, which began in June, was thorough and that the tightened sexual misconduct policy would help to prevent abuse.

"We worked hard on that policy and it's built on the good work we've done before and built on the work of a lot of other people -- psychologists, people in the church and lay people, and victims of abuse," he said.

The Crosiers have additional communities in Anoka and Onamia in Minnesota, and in Phoenix and Riverview, Mich. The order was founded in Belgium in 1210. The Crosiers came to the United States in 1910 with Dutch immigrants who settled in Minnesota.

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