A clergy sex abuse victim has written a letter about suspected predators to 1,100 Minnesota Catholic parishioners, but their pastor claims the letter is “libelous.” In response, the victim is urging top church officials to oust the pastor for lying to the congregation.
In 1992, Patrick Marker of Washington State settled a civil child sex and cover up suit against St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville. Marker charges that Rev. Dunstan Morse molested him in the 1980s.
Since then, Marker has been tracking sexual abuse and misconduct reports involving current and former St. John’s Abbey personnel.
On January 7, Marker sent a two page letter to parishioners of the Church of St. Joseph in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Marker’s letter listed 34 credibly accused clerics from nearby St. John’s Abbey.
"In my letter, I simply laid out the facts," said Marker, "and for the most part, the facts were well-received by parishioners. The feedback has been 95% positive."
But not from Rev. Jerome Tupa, the current pastor at the Church of St. Joseph. During mass on January 13, Rev. Tupa claimed that Marker's letter was “libelous” and mostly contains “innuendo.” (Link to video:
And last week, in the church bulletin, Rev. Tupa continued his false allegations. (Link to bulletin:
“Patrick’s letter is brave, compassionate and accurate,” said David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest. “He should be commended, not criticized. And Rev. Tupa should be disciplined for his deceitful remarks.”
On January 17, Marker wrote three high ranking church officials - Bishop John Kinney of the Diocese of St. Cloud (MN), Abbot John Klassen of St. John's Abbey and Archbishop and Papal Nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano, Pope Benedict’s representative in the US - charging that Rev. Tupa slandered him. Marker is demanding an apology and Tupa's resignation.
In his January 7th letter to parishioners, Marker also informed the families:
-- Rev. Dan Ward and Rev. Othmar Hohmann are the eighth and ninth credibly accused priests from St. John's to have worked at the Church of St. Joseph
-- Officials at St. John's Abbey - and the Diocese of Saint Cloud - have been aware of credible allegations against these two men for months.
-- Neither the Abbey or Diocese have reached out to victims of either of these men, despite policies which require them to do so.
-- Saint John's Abbey's own investigations produced a list of twenty-three credibly accused sexual predators. However, the Abbey has refused to release their names.
At least two of Rev. Othmar Hohmann's victims, and three of Rev. Dan Ward's victims, reported their abuse to the Abbey and Diocese, Marker says. And, according to Marker, each priest has at least two additional alleged victims who have yet to come forward. "These victims simply want the record to reflect the truth," Marker said on Monday.
Marker has urged Catholic officials to announce the accusations against Rev. Ward and Rev. Hohmann at every church where they worked “so that those victims seeking validation receive it, and those in need of support and counseling have a number to call, should they desire.” And, Marker believes that the public has the right to know the identity of all twenty-three perpetrators.
“Patrick’s right – fully disclosing the names and whereabouts of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric is the best way to keep kids safe and deter future cover ups,” said Clohessy.
“This is what Catholic officials have repeatedly promised to do. But most of them, tragically, remain as secretive about abuse and as reckless about safety as ever.”