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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Lawsuit names 11 child molesting clerics

It’s the first fraud case against Benedictines

And man who’s suing for child sex abuse speaks for the first time

He’ll urge others who were hurt by Minnesota church employees to “speak up”

WHAT
At two news conferences, two clergy sex abuse victims and an attorney will announce a new fraud lawsuit against a high profile Catholic school and religious order. The suit
--charges that church and school officials committed fraud and concealed child sex crimes, and
--identifies, by name, 11 accused child molesting clerics who are or were at the school.

WHEN
Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Stearns County Courthouse, 725 Courthouse Square, in St. Cloud MN

WHO
The victim in this case, who is speaking publicly for the first time ever, and his lawyer, along with a man who heads the local chapter of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY
The lawsuit charges that from 1960 through the present, the Benedictines at St. John’s in Collegeville “conspired to (conceal, aid and abet) criminal conduct, failed to report criminal conduct (and) evaded prosecution and committed fraud by protecting predatory priests. It’s the first such lawsuit of its kind, focusing on cover ups of by the Benedictine hierarchy more than the crimes of Benedictine child molesting clerics.

The suit identifies 11 proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive Benedictines who are at St. John’s or have spent time there, including Brother John Kelly, Fr. Finnian McDonald, Fr. Dunston Moorse, Fr. Allen Tarlton, Fr. Richard E. Eckroth, Fr. Brennan Maiers, Abott John Eidenschenk, Fr. Cosmos Dahlheimer, Fr. Francis Hoelgen and Fr. Thomas Gillespie. Their allege crimes spanned almost 25 years – from the early 1960s through the mid-1985. All but one of the 11 are accused of crimes against children.

The victim in this case, Jeramiah (Jerry) McCarthy, reports having been sexually victimized by Fr. Bruce Wollmering around 1971, when he was “required to see Wollmering for academic and psychological testing and individual emotional and spiritual counseling” on school premises during and after school-sponsored activities and events.

In 2004, Wollmering was accused of molesting a different St. John’s student in the 1980s. In 2006, church officials determined that allegations against Wollmering were credible. Until recently, Wollmering lived at the abbey and was listed on the St. John’s website as the abbey’s “gardening coordinator.” He died in February.

Last year, SNAP wrote and complained to the Chicago-based Catholic Press Association which gave an award to Wollmering. Such honors, victims say, discourage other victims from reporting child sex crimes and “rub even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of those molested.” They sought a public apology from the group, but got no response. (Wollmering was honored for ‘best essay’ which appeared in The Abbey Banner.)

The president of the Catholic Press Association is Bob Zyskowski, editor of The Catholic Spirit, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (651-291-4444, zyskowskiR@archspm.org) More information about the awards can be found at http://www.catholicpress.org/

CONTACT
Patrick Noaker of St. Paul MN, 651 227 9990, 612 961 1307 cell
Bob Schwiderski of Wayzata MN, Minnesota SNAP Director 612 840 7290 cell, 952 471 3422 home
David Clohessy of St. Louis MO, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis MO, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org