Abbey Information, Contact, and Official Statements
Statement re: Three Additional Names, 18 September, 2017
Saint John’s Abbey Statement
Saint John’s Abbey is adding the names of three former monks to its list of those likely to have offended against minors. All three former monks are deceased and all three had severed their relationship with Saint John’s Abbey well before their deaths.
Casimir Plakut became a monk in 1932 and was ordained in 1938. He worked at several parishes, including Duluth, Detroit Lakes, Cold Spring, and Naytahwaush, Minnesota. He began the process of leaving Saint John’s in 1958, and finalized his intentions in 1962. He died in 1988.
Augustine John Strub became a monk in 1939 and was ordained in 1947. He served in parishes in Cloquet, Naytahwaush, Callaway, and at St Mary’s Hospital, Duluth, Minnesota. He left Saint John’s and the priesthood in 1961-62. He died in 2015.
James Kelly became a monk in 1936 and was ordained in 1942. He taught and studied music at Saint John’s University and other colleges. He also served in various parishes in the Twin Cities and also at Ball Club, Minnesota. He left Saint John’s and the priesthood in 1973 and was formally dismissed from the priesthood in 1976. He died in 2011.
Saint John’s Abbey, in keeping with its policies and practices, intends to make public documents related to these individuals at a future date. However, those documents must first be redacted to remove the names and other identifying details to protect innocent parties mentioned in the documents.
This brings the number of current and former monks on Saint John’s list to twenty-one, thirteen of whom are deceased and two of whom have permanently left the order. The list and information about Saint John’s response to sexual abuse can be found at: http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/info/safe-environment/.
Names of Current and Former Monks Likely to Have Offended Against Minors
Release of Names of Current and Former Monks Likely to Have Offended Against Minors
Saint John’s Abbey has voluntarily released the names of current and former monks who likely have offended against minors. Most of the names previously have been made public. The list includes 21 names: six monks who are living at Saint John's Abbey under supervised safety plans, thirteen monks who are deceased and two men who have been dispensed from their religious vows and no longer are connected to the Abbey.
The claims against each of those named were reviewed either by the Abbey’s External Review Board or by the Abbot himself. In each case, it was determined that there was sufficient evidence to include the person on the list. In some cases, however, all the facts could not be completely substantiated. Claims against some of those named on the list, for example, were not brought to the Abbey’s attention for decades after the accused monk’s death. It is in several of these cases where the Abbot made the determination to include the name of the monk on the list despite the lack of corroborating evidence.
The External Review Board was created in 2003. The seven-member panel includes those who have expertise in the treatment of sexual abuse of minors, judges, attorneys and current and former members of law enforcement. In addition, the Board consistently has included a survivor of sexual abuse. The Board is charged with evaluating allegations of sexual abuse against members of the Abbey and making recommendations for action to the Abbot, as well as conducting annual reviews of individual monks’ safety plans.
This list reflects our best efforts to identify those who likely have offended against minors. That task often is complicated by the passage of time, the deaths of some of those involved and sometimes incomplete accounts of the past. Even so, we are including all 21 names to provide as complete of a list as we can to acknowledge the pain suffered by victims. This list underscores our commitment to being transparent in our policies and procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse.
Our commitment is reflected in the policies and procedures implemented over the past decade, particularly the External Review Board. This Board gives victims the assurance that allegations of abuse against minors will be investigated objectively, sensitively and thoroughly.
Strub, Augustine John*†
† = deceased
* = no longer a monk of Saint John’s