Documents reveal St. John's monk sexually abused dozens of teens

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Documents released Tuesday as part of a settlement in a clergy abuse lawsuit show a monk who served at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, admitted he had more than 200 sexual encounters – some with St. John's students he was counseling.

The documents were released by attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who represents Troy Bramlage, who sued St. John's after being sexually abused by a different priest at the school in the 1970s.

That lawsuit was settled in April, and it included a requirement that St. John’s Abbey release the files of 19 monks who were "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children.

The files of five of those priests were made public today, including that of Rev. Finian McDonald, who was a counselor and prefect at St. John's for some 20 years. He "used his position to prey on and sexually exploit vulnerable students," Anderson said.

According to the documents, McDonald told a psychologist in 2012 that he had about 200 sexual partners over the years, at St. John's and in Thailand and Japan, where he served for periods of time. Most of his victims were teenagers – some as young as 13 or 14.

McDonald also told the psychologist he had abused alcohol for decades, the Star Tribune reports.

The files of four other St. John's clergy – Richard Eckroth, Thomas Gillespie, Francis Hoefgen and Bruce Wollmering – were also released.

Hoefgen, who has left the priesthood, was acquitted earlier this year on charges he sexually abused an altar boy at a church in Hastings.

The abbey issued a written statement in response to the document release, saying it "accepts full responsibility" for the abuses that have been committed, noting that the documents acknowledge "the very real failures of some monks while showing each of the accused monks as a fallible, relatable person."

The Abbey also said it didn't try to cover up the allegations and "did a reasonable job of managing the monk and the problem."

At least a dozen other clergy abuse cases against St. John’s Abbey are still pending, according to Anderson's law office.

Survivors of sexual abuse that occurred decades ago have been able to sue and seek damages under the state's Child Protection Act, which created a three-year window for legal action that expires in about six months, FOX 9 notes.

Next Up

Plainview

Judge orders Minnesota gym that defied shutdown to close

Attorney General Keith Ellison sued the gym after it remained open.

montana cutbank

Charges: Man shot victim 'without provocation' using sawed-off shotgun

The incident happened on Nov. 24 in Ten Lake Township, located in Beltrami County.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Walz, first responders address Minnesotans

Some departments have been forced to shift staffing or suspend service due to COVID-19.

covid-19, coronavirus

CDC says COVID-19 quarantine period can be cut to 10 or 7 days

You can come out of a 7-day quarantine following exposure provided you've had a negative test.

maple grove fire

1 person found dead inside Maple Grove business that burned down

A person had been unaccounted following the fire that destroyed Hanson Implement and Storage Tuesday night.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Appeals court rules MN high school students can get unemployment benefits

They've been denied the benefits, and some were even asked to pay them back.

covid-19, coronavirus

Dec. 2 COVID-19 update: 77 more deaths in Minnesota

The death toll is closing in on 3,700 in Minnesota.

City Pages

Fan creates City Pages archive, Star Tribune tells him to remove it

After word spread that the defunct newspaper's website would go down, a fan created his own copy. Then he got a cease and desist letter.

Adam Thielen

Vikings activate Adam Thielen off COVID-19/reserve list

The star receiver missed last week's victory over Carolina.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.27.14 AM

Naked man shot by St. Paul cop is charged for sexual assault of ex-girlfriend

The 31-year-old suspect remains at Regions Hospital after being shot.

Lindsay Whalen

Whalen's Gophers start season with only 7 players available

Whalen isn't happy that a transfer wasn't granted immediate eligibility to play.

Related