Accused Of Sexual Abuse: The Monks Living Next Door

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Earlier this month, St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville mailed letters to thousands of St. John’s Prep School alumni saying over a period of more than 40 years, 17 monks had “credible allegations of sexual abuse brought against them.”

Four of the monks have died, 10 remain at the Abbey with restrictions imposed on their activities.

But three of the monks accused of sexually abusing children and young adults  live here in the Twin Cities.

The outward serenity of St. John’s University and the adjoining St. John’s prep college has harbored scandal.

“The subculture of secrecy and sexuality has run so deep and so long that it may be among the worse that I have ever encountered,” Attorney Jeff Anderson said.

Anderson’s lawsuits forced the Abbey into releasing the names of the accused monks.

Brother John Kelly was seen at his St. Michael home, just down the street from an elementary school.

Esme Murphy: “The college has put out a list, has put your name on a list, saying there are credible allegations of sexual abuse against you. What do you have to say about that?”

Brother Kelly: “I have nothing.”

Murphy: “Is it true?”

Kelly: “I have nothing to say.”

Murphy: “Did you abuse young boys there?”

Kelly: “I have nothing to say … Well, I guess maybe you don’t understand the Christian religion.”

Murphy: “I do understand the Christian religion and it’s about forgiveness. Do you feel you deserve forgiveness?”

Kelly: “I appreciate your program and everything you do, but I just can’t say anything.”

Later, Anderson watched the interview with Brother Kelly.

“When I watched that, it made me feel a little sick and actually pretty scared,” he said. “Scared because he is in the community.”

Kelly is still a monk, but is on leave from the Abbey.

Another monk named in the letter, who is also on leave from the Abbey, is Fran Hoefgen. He lives in a townhouse in Columbia Heights.

Hoefgen ran from WCCO-TV cameras, as they tried to interview him outside his job at the Washburn-McReavey funeral chapel.

“Fran Hoefgen is really disturbing,” Anderson said. “He molested several youth while in parishes while being assigned out of the Abbey.”

Half a block from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, WCCO-TV caught up with Stephen Lilly.

Murphy: “Your name was on that list.”

Lilly: “It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances.”

Lilly left the Abbey in the 1990s after being accused in a lawsuit of molesting a St. John’s University student. The Abbey said Hoefgen and Kelly must decide soon whether they will return to St. John’s and the monastic life.

St. John’s released this statement today:

“St. John’s University is committed to educational excellence and an experience that is safe and respectful for all students. The Abbey’s safety plans are designed to provide a safe environment for all who live, study and work at St. John’s. Monks on safety plans are barred from student residences and other campus spaces that could lead to contact with students in non-public areas.”

More from Esme Murphy
Comments

One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    The “journalism” exhibited by ‘CCO is almost as despicable as the child abusers.

    Sandbagging people at home & work hoping to get some sensational film for the 6 o’clock news is just disgusting. Go report some news instead of trying to create it.

    1. SJU Student says:

      I completely agree! Only interviewing Jeff Anderson in a dignified way is definitely going to create the one-sided story that makes for “good TV.”

      Why wasn’t there an attempt to show conversations in context while speaking with Brother Kelly?

      Why wasn’t there anything to be said from the Abbey itself?

      There is so much more explaining to do, and it the job of the journalist to show truth, not to create sensationalism instead of truth and respect.

      1. Tom Willard says:

        You get 2nd place in the TWIT OF THE DAY award.

    2. Michael says:

      This is not sensationalism, the public has a right to hear the story. Attempting to shut down the process does not help the Catholic church. The defenders should be ashamed of your leadership and yourself. You are a disgusting and revolting example of hypocrisy. You have abused the design of your institution for power and control, and now are trying to stop the examination of your sick and enabled abusers. The public is not on your side and you are not to be trusted. I hope God forgives you for your sins, and that you will wake up from the spell the devil has put over you.

      1. Mom of Two says:

        I agree. I live up the hill (literally, I look down and there’s his home) from him…with a 2-year old and a 6-year old. NOTHING makes me more disturbed than the THOUGHT of someone near my kids that could hurt them. I believe that those around someone like this has the right to know who they live around.

    3. Tom Willard says:

      You compare asking stupid questions to scarring a child for life? You sir get the TWIT OF THE DAY award.

    4. Aaron says:

      Comparing questionable journalism to child abuse is incredibly ignorant. You can question the practices all you want, but to draw a parallel between that and sexual abuse is asinine.

      Also, if my children went to school near these men, I would consider this a pretty important piece of news, sensational or otherwise.

    5. Bob Guimond Grandpa says:

      Here is another twist on St John’s and whats happening up there

      Follow the link below

      http://www.findjoshua.com

      1. Bob Guimond Grandpa says:

        Here is another link about St John’s. It seems they can’t help but cover up a lot of things.

        http://www.behindthepinecurtain.com/wordpress/?p=2502

    6. Bob Guimond says:

      They are only reporting on what is happening up at St John’s. The Abbey has been covering up these things for years, but you think its not right to call them on it,
      What about their victims. Would you say that was sandbagging them?

  2. Mel says:

    Why are these men not in jail!!

    1. senior 1943 says:

      Sure glad I left the catholic church and now belong to a good bible church.

      1. Godless says:

        I’m glad that I’m an atheist and don’t support any organized crime…errr, I mean religion…

      2. markH says:

        Is there such thing as a “good bible church.”? Have you read the Bible? Apparently, it is considered moral and praiseworthy to have your son tortured and executed to expiate the “sins” of future generations from imagined crimes (come on, Adam and Eve in a garden with a talking snake?) that they could not possibly have had any part in? Add to this sinister nonsense being inculcated into the minds of innocent children that they are born “sinful”, “unworthy” or otherwise “defective” and need the protection and salvation of a man-god in order to inherit immortality? Not only is this NOT moral, it is positively IMMORAL and destructive to humanity. Peace.

        1. Mom of Two says:

          I am not sure this needs to go off on the tangent of religion and its corrupt ways…though I do agree with many of your lines of thinking.

          This is about men…or more specifically, a man, that was accused of horribly awful things, and then chose to reside in a home not more than ONE MILE from an Elementary School and a Middle School.

          I live directly above him (up the hill) and don’t feel that this is a man that has God in his life. He chose the wrong place to live…period.

          1. darryl says:

            not a level three offender, was in the news years ago. For safety check with your local police about level three offenders who live near you!

          2. father of 3 says:

            ok. you are being overly paranoid. he can live where ever because frankly the was no evidence of him actually “abusing” anybody. if anything he abuse his term of agreement. if you read his case he had sex with a guy who was 18 years old 1 month from graduating. not saying it was right, but you act as though he murdered somebody and is likely to murder you and your kids. you should move if you arent comfortable. maybe look up who is living by you.

    2. Amanda says:

      Cause they are not gay, so there fore they are protected… oh but it is the gay people the ones that are perverts….

  3. Victim Du Jour says:

    Do they even have physical evidence of a crime? Or is it corporate run media harassing religion for political reasons?

    1. urdumb says:

      Ya thats what this is about.

      1. victim du jour says:

        And then WCCO wants everyone to Be an anti-bully activist.

    2. Kevin says:

      There has been a lot of abuse world wide so I doubt that these are totally false allegations. They certainly should be investigated and innocence presumed, but it would be a bit premature to just accuse the media of persecution in this case, although scrutinizing the media is always appropriate. Celabacy is not called for in the bible and the fact that the only church that insists on celebacy is having this trouble isn’t just a coincedence. Men are men and all have the need for intimacy and no job description can change that. I feel for these guys as I think they just go crazy after a while from the want of intimacy.

      1. Kevin says:

        P.S. Please don’t read that my sympathy is any excuse for their actions if they are guilty.

      2. victim Du Jour says:

        Public School Teachers are 100 times more likely to engage sex abuse than a Priest. Public Schools have always been worse than the Catholic Church.

        Today there is a story about a Gay Marraige Senate hearing, so the timing of this story makes sense now.

        DFLers accusing Priests of being child molesters is like joseph Stalin calling Che Gueverra a mass murderer.

      3. markH says:

        Kevin-Please stop trying to draw connections between pedophilia and celibacy. I know several unmarried men who do not seek out children for sexual gratification, so this is a red herring designed to excuse immoral and illegal actions on the part of grown men (who make the enormous claim that they know the mind and will of their god) who should know better. Besides, even if we assume that celibate clergy need to act on their base sexual impulses, why do they not seek out women for their gratifications? I’ll tell you why; because children are much easier to coerce and manipulate (read: indoctrinate without questioning authority) than adult females. Don’t try to excuse the inexcusable. Peace.

  4. Brian says:

    OH MY GOD. Are you kidding me? Two different things. Clearly you’re not from around there otherwise you wouldn’t say such an insensitive thing.

    1. Too Close says:

      Check out a map and you will be surprised how close St. Joe is from their

  5. YoungDesigner says:

    I am absolutely disgusted after watching both the clip and reading the article. First, as many commenters have posted already, there is just one sided opinion to this article – is this even really news? While I understand part of journalism is to “seek the truth,” but this shows a poor approach to that idea. WCCO has represented the community poorly by posting this information to the website. Mr. Anderson is a very strong opinion. The other issue with this was the “ambush” journalism that you clearly created. You sensationalized everything by showing pictures of the guys unprepared and showing pictures of grade schools.

    WCCO, you owe many people an apology for this type of news – it’s not news. I’m a college student studying journalism and I can, for one, tell you this would not go over very well (and I’m sure you’re seeing that now). Above all, you owe the St. John’s Abbey an apology for fully attacking them. You had no second opinions outside of Mr. Anderson’s and the only person you had doing anything was the woman with the net ready to capture people. I am ashamed and shocked – furthermore upset at this level of journalism.

  6. CSB-SJU Student says:

    I’m not saying these men are guilty or innocent, but I have to agree with SJU Student, Katy, and YoungDesigner. This story is a one-sided opinion and shouldn’t even be considered news: without an opinion from the Abbey, your story has no argument, and without an argument, no point can be made. Instead, we viewers were presented with a biased ATTACK on the Abbey. I am disgusted at how this reporter felt that it was ‘okay’ to ambush these men with questions in an attempt to get a ‘story’, if this can even be called a story. If a person has ‘nothing to say,’ leave it be. This level of unprofessional behavior CANNOT be tolerated.

    Apologies need to be made to these men and to St. John’s Abbey, soon.

    If you at WCCO even read these comments, I hope you learn something from this.

    I think it’s time that journalism grew up.

    1. bob guimond says:

      walk in the shoes of the people that have been abused then restate your comment

      1. father of 3 says:

        dude, john kelly’s “victim” was a 20 college student. kelly just broke policy, not law. just because they did something bad is no excuse for terrible journalism. think and do the research before you write a statement like that.

        1. Gennifer Lost says:

          BINGO !!!!

  7. Annette says:

    Now we know why CCO is DEAD LAST in the news ratings!

  8. LVN says:

    WCCO owed an apology to every readers..Such poor journalist approach!

  9. Observer says:

    It looks to me like WCCO gave these men every opportunity to tell their side of the story and they refused.

  10. Bryson Powers says:

    I have nothing against Catholics but their church is creepy.

    1. Chris says:

      Please save comments like that for another day… maybe your last day! Thanks.

  11. Michael says:

    Katy-I am sure you have always had trouble dealing with self examination too. Isn’t that the reason you stay engaged with a fallen religious institution?

    1. darryl says:

      this was in the news years ago with a full story. Was a relational thing with an older high school student not a level three offender, so he will not be jumping out of the bushes. Not defending him but if you want to be safe contact your local polic for the level three offenders who live near you and be surprised.

  12. Darryl says:

    Many of the incidents that happened at St. John’s were in the context of relational situations with adults. Sure there were some abuse of minors but not all the men credibly accused had to do with children. Very one sided.

    And if WCCO were really concerend with children they would look into the 80% of child abuse that happens right in each family. It is sad but true….

  13. Vicki Stenson says:

    Why aren’t they in jail with charges pressed against them. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse.

    1. John Pederson says:

      They aren’t in jail because we apply Minnesota law to everyone, even Catholic clergy. Studies show that up to 1 in 4 young people are sexually abused. Do the math, and consider how many abusers there really are, and how few of them are Catholic clergy. Do you really want to put that much of the population in jail? Or is it just Catholic clergy you want in jail?

    1. YoungDesigner says:

      This website cannot be seen as completely credible. Where are the sources? As a wise professor told me, the only place where facts can be given are from the Abbey website and not someone who tells one side of the story.

      1. Katie says:

        The men listed by the ABBEY are listed on the website. I would say it is pretty credible. I assume you are dismissing victims accusations then? Most of them reach out to this website when the Abbey doesn’t sufficiently deal with the issue.
        I am an alumna of CSB/SJU. I love CSB/SJU, I don’t love how they have dealth with and covered this up. It embarrases me and my husband, an alumi of CSB/SJU.

        1. father of 3 says:

          most of the allegations against them are for breaking school policy, not law. so no its not credible resources.

  14. LEL says:

    Hurrah for the monks for admitting it happened and releasing the names of the offenders and shame on the archbishop for hiding those who did it in the parishes, If the church ever colapses it will be because of people like him.

  15. Bravo says:

    Brilliant journalism! Maybe CCO should submit this for a journalism excellence award.

    1. Bob Schwiderski says:

      I agree totally with Bravo! This excellent investigative report supports efforts to eliminate the “Primary Social Sickness in the USA” — childhood sexual abuse.

      Bob Schwiderski,
      Minnesota SNAP Director
      (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
      skibrs@q.com or 952-471-3422

  16. Valerie says:

    They are not being PICKED ON- they are “accused” of molesting CHILDREN & young adults. YOUNG CHILDREN. The monks are entitled to a fair trial, but if I was accused to such a thing & someone was interviewing ME I sure would say very loud & often I did not do such a thing. Pretty sure these guys are guilty-not ONE said it’s not true.

    1. bel says:

      Excellent point.

    2. John Pederson says:

      Young children? What is your source for that? The story speaks of college and high school students. Still wrong – but not young children. The facts still apply, whether we like the class of accused people or not.

  17. Bel says:

    I live and have lived in Collegeville all my life. These monks NEED to be confronted and asked questions. Why should their victims be left with the burden of shame while their abusers live a life free from shame? The Abbot has already put their names forth and they should be made to answer for their behavior.

  18. Phil Mcrackin says:

    In my own opinion religion is a mental illness and I do not care what anybody thinks of my opinion, many will agree and many will not. Just because these freaks believe in some invisible man in the sky we hold them to a higher standard, WHY?

    1. believer says:

      Your disgusting. I am glad I won’t see you in paradise.

      1. Bel says:

        Aren’t you supposed to love the sinner and hate the sin? What type of callous answer is that? You won’t see anyone in paradise with behavior like that. Did you mean ‘You’re and not your’ right? God like people who can spell and be kind to others. Judge not!

      2. Mom of Two says:

        Why is this person disgusting? I am a Christian and don’t agree with his thoughts, but how are you holding up to your faith by terming him “disgusting?” Because he thinks we are ill? That’s ok. And you can think he is also…but you could word it with a bit more class.

        Faith believers are often viewed as described above…and when you act out like this…you don’t paint a very pretty picture of us.

        1. believer says:

          My apologies. You are absolutely correct. I will repent. Let me re-word that. It is disgusting what this person said. But I am sure this person was expecting this kind of reaction, which I should not have given him the time of day.

  19. John Pederson says:

    What’s the story here? That these guys committed horrible acts 25 or 30 years ago but (as far as we know from public reporting) have not done so ever since? Or that the statute of limitations, being the law of the land, applies to them EVEN though they’re Catholic clergy? You mean we don’t use a different standard in the case of monks, and we don’t put them in jail though our law doesn’t allow for it? Or is the story here that hundreds and hundreds of abusers (parents, school teachers, coaches, etc.) are living within our society… but three of them are monks? Or is the the story just that we should switch to KARE-11?

  20. Valerie says:

    3rd paragraph talks about 3 of the monks accused of sexually abusing children & young adults

  21. Frank McLoren says:

    Funny how this story aired on Apr 28…the first day of the Nielsen ratings sweeps: http://nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/public%20factsheets/tv/2010-2011-Sweeps-Dates-for-nielsen-com.pdf

  22. Karl says:

    Nothing new here. I guess ‘CCO needs to get their ratings up. Time to watch KARE11 for the ‘real’ news. Bye, bye, WCCO!

  23. tj nothankyou says:

    I am a former student at St John’s and what the reporters did was justified and correct. For ages (Centuries) the Catholic Church has been an unofficial haven for pedophiles. There is evidence that within the church there was a secret society of pedophiles. Also did you not read the article, St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville mailed letters to thousands of St. John’s Prep School alumni saying over a period of more than 40 years, 17 monks had “credible allegations of sexual abuse brought against them. Those alumni were ALL under the age of 18 with some as young as 14. My question is why are you not outraged? Those monks deserve to be shown on TV and in print for what they truly are. They are not men of god and have never been. They have been protected, shielded and assisted by the Catholic Church. That is a FACT. Mr. Anderson is one of the only crusaders working to bring out in the open the abuses of the church.
    Unless you are one of the former children who were abused, keep your mouth shut. You have no idea of what you are talking about. The church is, was and continues to be a pedophile organization who’s main purpose is to protect and shield child abusers.

    1. Cindy J. says:

      And Mr Anderson is getting filthy rich from it…how much money do you think he is making compared to the average victim compensation? Then ask…who is he really crusading for? What a story that would be, huh?

      1. tj nothankyou says:

        Yes I am sure he is getting rich, however he also does alot of pro-bono work. And thats what you wanted to focus on?? Cindy what if it was your child that was abused by the church, Hmmmm then what would you be saying?

      2. Mom of Two says:

        So that is the primary concern? That someone could be getting rich from this case? Really? My concern will be about my two kids that live up the hill (literally…I can see in his windows) from this man…this man of “God”…that has potentially done horrific things to other children.

        Let someone get rich off of this…I don’t care. As long as it means that I am aware of a potential threat to my kids…keeping them from getting HURT.

        I cannot believe our society can’t see the need for a story like this…and that we have people more concerned about other’s wealth than the primary safety of our youth. Awesome.

  24. Valerie says:

    tj – you’re exactly right. It might help others who think that because there are pedophiles in their church they can’t believe in the message anymore. That’s not true. What better place is there for Satan to invade & try to destroy than the church. Any church. Unfortunately MEN decided to cover up this horrible crime for many years now, but the pedophile will get his punishment- hopefully in this world – but it not now then definitely in the next.

  25. Mike says:

    This is news because it really happened. I attended St Johns Prep in the 70’s and experienced Br. John Kelley’s attempt to use his authority position to take advantage of me. The Church has admitted guilt. How could anyone describe this as sensationalism???? Check out the statistics with respect to rehabilitation of sex offenders. Do not be so naive because they could be your neighbor.

    1. Mom of Two says:

      John Kelly is my neighbor…and thank you for speaking out.🙂

      1. Mom too says:

        He’s a neighbor of mine and I will certainly be keeping an eye on him. There are many children riding bikes and walking to school and I don’t care if the abuse took place 1 yr or 30 yrs ago, he’s still a threat to any child, any age. This was not sensationalism by any sense of the word.

        1. father of 3 says:

          research him before you make assumptions. he never abused a child. let me repeat.. HE NEVER ABUSED A CHILD! the guy he allegedly abused was in his 20s. get your facts straight.

  26. Valerie says:

    People that can’t accept the fact there are pedophiles in their church. I’m not Catholic so my first thought would be – wow I sure hope our pastor hasn’t hurt anyone, not -well everyone else is lying & not the pastor. I would expect a fair trial & if he was found guilty then I would figure he wasn’t the man we thought he was. If innocent we would love him all the more.

  27. markH says:

    Is there such thing as a “good bible church.”? Have you read the Bible? Apparently, it is considered moral and praiseworthy to have your son tortured and executed to expiate the “sins” of future generations from imagined crimes (come on, Adam and Eve in a garden with a talking snake?) that they could not possibly have had any part in? Add to this sinister nonsense being inculcated into the minds of innocent children that they are born “sinful”, “unworthy” or otherwise “defective” and need the protection and salvation of a man-god in order to inherit immortality? Not only is this NOT moral, it is positively IMMORAL and destructive to humanity. Peace.

    1. Better believe it says:

      Somebody seems to be a little moral-phobic.I wonder if Jacob Wetterling was approached up in that area.

  28. Mom of Two says:

    Do you have children? Wouldn’t you want, as a neighbor of this person, to know of the accusations (as they are about molestation/child abuse) to protect your children from the “potential” threat that now surrounds them? He chose to reside within a mile of an Elem. school and a Middle School. Our area is surrounded by children…everywhere.

    I cannot believe you would wish this story not to run! Clearly your absence of logic is drawn from you obsession with whatever the church tells you. Your choice…but it is MY choice, as my children’s mother, to be educated on the dangers around us. I am grateful we were told about this silent danger. Now I know…and we can be weary now.

    1. Katy says:

      My comment is “awaiting moderation”? What about it is offensive or warranting of being reported? I’m speaking my opinion, and I’m not sure why someone would find that threatening enough to report. No, I don’t have children. But I do go to this school. I have heard both sides of the story, and this report is one-sided.

  29. lindabinda says:

    I have said for years, they should check into the priests at St Johns in Jacob Wetterling case. I would comb the grounds and lakes on the property. Why aren’t they in in jail? What makes these men any diffrent from any other abuser? Shame on the church in thier handling of this.

  30. darryl says:

    tj – the 17 are not level three offenders and are not all guilty of sexual abuse with minors, many are for sexual misconduct with adults, how many of us fit into that group. Sexual abuse is a legal term and applies only to minors please get the facts straight. Even jeff Anderson says that….

    Not defending them but the reason others like the archbishop are not letting the names out is the way St. John’s has been treated for trying to do what is right for victims even if it was too late. Why would any diocese do what they are doing just to be constantly villified.

    If half the churches (non Catholic too) would do what St. john’s has done much of this would be better for victims.

    1. Oldster says:

      You miss the point…the abbey pays off the victims, hugh sums of money to keep it out of the courts. This means none of them are documented sex offenders.

      And most of these events have happened at St. John’s Prep School, where weird crap is still going on to this very minute. There is a priest there right now who should not be any where near children (Dommer).

      The lies, denial, and silence of the abbey is legend in central MN. Every time they are attacked, the monks turn inward against the world. The only way they will change the story they tell themselves about their promiscuity and left wing theology against the teachings of the Church is for a great man to rise from within and say, this is enough, we are going to change.

      It may be too late…the seminary is closed, the Prep school has been destroyed, and the University is separating from the abbey…a beautiful place with a heart of darkness.

  31. darryl says:

    lindabinda

    as a former St. John’s student they did check the woods, lakes and the abbey even wanted to drain one but the DNR said no. They had dogs in the monastery checking out rooms. Nothing came of it. That was for the missing Josh Guimond. For Jacob several monks were investigated according to Stearns county, but none fit the profile that they had. There are a number of level three predators in the area in any area for that matter…..more likely someone off I-94….

    Sad

  32. Oldster says:

    This is the thing. The abbey has historically paid off the victims, and this means there are no charges, no time in court, and thus they are not documented as sex offenders. This journalism is not above board, but they had a real question: why is it that we have predators living freely in the world, ready to re-offend.

    WCCO should next investigate the destruction of St. John’s Prep School, where most of this abuse has taken place in recent decades. Why have most of their best teachers and administrators lost their jobs through firing in the last 24 months (almost 30 in all). Why is their still a priest there named Ian Dommer, a man who should not be near children?

  33. Helen Naylor says:

    Check out Behind the Pine Curtain .com. I was eleven years old when I was raped by Fr Richard Eckroth – still residing at St John’s. When I came forward publicly in 2001, a St Ben’s student insinuated I was lying. I don’t understand this thiinking. I grew up in St Joe and graduated from CSB in 1982. My father was an employee there. I can tell you the amount of sexual abuse that took place in that area is astounding. Much more information will be coming , not only about the predators but also the criminal behavior of their leaders and the law enforcement in the cover-up of these crimes.. These are criminals who never faced punishment.. The fact is, most people will not come forward with thier abuse because it is too shameful and some have commited suicide. I wish the student population there would show a litlle more sympathy with the victims and more outrage at the leadership at St Johns.. I have met the current Abbot and I believed he was one of the good guys; but he is deceptive and is not to be trusted or respected for how he has handled this issue. I cannot even begin to tell you how hard this has all been and how very helpful it would be, not only to viictims, but to the future of St Johns, if students would start asking more questions and demand the truth. All it takes for evil is for good men to do nothing. If more bystanders would get involved, it could make such a difference. I hope you are enlightened some day and become a truthseeker instead of trying to protect those who have done lifetime harm to others.

    The crimiinals That WCCO went to speak with are known abusers. You can ask the Abbot or check out the Behind the pine curtain. They should not be living near a school or children or any other vulnerable person – just like any other pedophile.

  34. Emily says:

    It’s an unbalanced report taking many things out of context and sensationalizing things that happened to real people decades ago for profit-taking today. WCCO, were it doing its job, would be reporting on the scandals happening today in the state legislature as the republicans seek to undo the social contract of our state and permanently disenfranchise the poor and disadvantaged. Unfortunately, that doesn’t sell as many eyeballs to marketing as half-truths about everybody’s favorite target, religious people. How about they launch a parallel story talking about the good done by monks for 154 years? Oh what? That would actually require journalism.

  35. A Victim Forever says:

    I am one of those “former victims” and those of you who think that this story was “sensualistic journalism” are way off and have absolutely no idea the impact the abuse I suffered affected my life. So if you’re not the “victim”, as I was and still am to this day and will always be, I would respectfully ask that you have no comment on a story like this as you don’t have a clue. In any other form of this type of sexual deviancy or abuse, these men would have been prosecuted, convicted and sent to jail. Why does the Catholic church feel they need to protect these “men of the cloth” What happened to me is an unspeakable, horrible act of cruelty and it stares at me in the mirror, every day of life as it has now for over 30 years. I applaud and commend Esme Murphy and WCCO Channel 4 for having the courage and the guts to keep this story “out in front”.

    Those of you who have commented that this story should just “go away”, forget about it, it happened so long ago, it’s not news any longer – I agree with the comments about those who say “would you want these men” to be living next door to you. Our society registers sex offenders – these men needed to be and continue to need to be exposed. Yes, forgiveness is paramount, but along with forgiveness comes the reality that these horrible acts of sexual misconduct occurred and have caused a multitude of problems for men like me during our adult life. Shame on all of you who feel otherwise that this story shouldn’t continue to be in the forefront – shame on you!!

    One last thing – men like Jeff Anderson have the courage & guts to tackle this issue head on and should also be applauded. Mr. Anderson is a hero to many men and women like I who have had to endure the repeated attempts of “our catholic faith” to sweep this under the rug.

    1. Bob Schwiderski says:

      Applause !!!!

  36. Nick says:

    6 years for $80,000,000

    Cute little slap on the wrist.
    The judge should get 20 years.

  37. father of 3 says:

    these reporters are just being a**holes. seriously going to peoples houses for a random interview. thats sandbagging if i have ever saw it. if people dont want to talk to you, and obviously dont, then leave them alone! call and ask for an interview, otherwise people shoud just wait until after trial. of course the guy is going to look bad in front of the camera when he doesnt want to talk about it when he as at home. even if he did do it, its still wrong of these reporters to do that.

  38. Gina Benson says:

    I know most of the victims and all of the priests. This article makes it sound like these priests were abusing young boys, while in fact they had relationships with college students. Wrong, yes, but they are not a danger to your 2 and 4 year olds.

    Brother John is a wonderful man. He may be gay, I don’t know or care. But I would trust him with my life. My heart breaks for him.

    Brother John, if you are reading this, I am so sorry for you. You tried to do the right hing by leaving SJU and starting your own life. We all make mistakes and your falling in love with a 21 year old male should not ruin your life forever. You are a wonderful, wonderful man. Thanks for being a part of my life!

  39. Gennifer Lost says:

    Total agreement with Gina. I also know Brother John. He had sexual relations with a consenting adult. Wrong yes, but the media makes him sound like a threat to the people next door.

    Brother John is a great man.

    One man ran, one stopped to talk….the media made fun of both. They took clips from Brother John and turned it all around.

    Brother John is the kind of man that would talk, he is a great guy. But you made him look like a fool. He should have ran, and next time I am sure he will.

    ANd the attorney sitting there talking about how afraid he is of Brother John. I hope he burns in hell because he is ruining peoples lives all in the name of a cause that he has over exagerated.

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