ND--Predator priest from ND passes away
For immediate release: Tuesday, June 2, 2015
For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Predator priest from ND passes away
Victims urge Catholic bishops to “do outreach”
“Others may be suffering in shame and silence,” SNAP says
Attorney believes he may have assaulted at least 100 children
A credibly accused child molesting Catholic priest from North Dakota has passed away and a support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging two bishops to “aggressively reach out” to others he may have hurt.
Last week, Catholic officials at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville Minnesota announced that Fr. Richard Eckroth has died.
On Friday, documents about Fr. Eckroth, a “credibly accused” predator, according to his church supervisors, were made public by an attorney who says that the cleric may have assaulted 100 kids.
Now, leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are asking bishops in both Minnesota and North Dakota to “aggressively seek out anyone else who may have been hurt by him” by using “church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements” so that “the wounded may be consoled and learn that they aren’t alone.
Born in Mandan North Dakota (in the Bismarck diocese), Fr. Eckroth belonged to the Benedictine Catholic order. He mostly lived in Minnesota (St. Cloud, Albany, and St. Joseph) though he was sent to work in the Bahamas and to Maryland for treatment.
Fr. Eckroth was in his 80s and reportedly experienced dementia.
“But there’s no magic age at which a pedophile is cured so it’s possible that he molested other kids even in his later years,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director.
“We hope that all of Fr. Eckroth’s victims – whether hurt long ago or more recently - find the strength and courage to step forward, get help, expose wrongdoing and start healing,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s outreach director. “That’s more apt to happen if Fargo Bishop John Folda, Bismarck Bishop David Kagan and St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettle use their vast resources to seek out others who were hurt and remain trapped in silence, shame and self-blame.”
“We are glad that Fr. Eckroth can no longer hurt kids,” said Verne Wagner of Duluth, Northeast MN SNAP director (218- 340-1277, firstname.lastname@example.org). “We’re glad too that his victims can hopefully sleep better at night knowing that he can’t assault any more children.”
Several of Fr. Eckroth’s victims are represented by St. Paul Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990).
According to a Boston-based research group, there are six publicly accused child molesting Catholic clerics in the Bismarck diocese (Fr. Norman J. Dukart, Fr. "Frank," Fr. Maurice /G. McNeely, Fr. John Owens, Fr. James W. Pommier and Fr. Stephen R. Zastoupil) and seven in the Fargo diocese (Fr. Abraham Anthony, Fr. Timothy C. Conlon, Fr. Charles Fischer, Jr., Fr. Gregory (Zbigniew) Patejko, Fr. Fernando Sayasaya, Fr. Alan Storey and Fr. David D. Wilde).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org