How is an Allegation Established as True?

The Abbey’s Policy on Sexual Abuse of a Minor states that if a person makes an allegation of child sexual abuse against a member of the monastic community, the abbey will report the allegation to law enforcement and civil authorities as required by Minnesota state law. Depending upon circumstances, including the length of time that has elapsed between the alleged act and the allegations being brought forth, these authorities may or may not elect to investigate the allegations.

The Abbey will engage an independent professional investigator to conduct a thorough investigation and make a confidential report to the Abbot. The Abbot forwards this report to the seven-member External Review Board, which makes a recommendation indicating whether or not they find that the fact of sexual abuse by the monk has been established.

Saint John’s Abbey is guided by the CMSM/Praesidium document, Instruments of Hope and Healing. These standards state that an allegation is deemed to be established if, based upon the facts and circumstances, there is objective certainty* that the accusation is true and that an incident of sexual abuse of a minor has occurred.

*"This is a definition which keeps it in line with the concept of moral certainty required by canon law. The judgment of the major superior must be objective, i.e. based upon facts and circumstances discovered in the course of the investigation. It is not based upon percentage of the evidence, i.e. most likely true or most likely occurred, which implies 50 + 1% of the evidence. It allows for the canonical principle in moral certitude which states that the judgment of the major superior admits that the contrary (the falsity of the accusation) is indeed possible but highly unlikely or improbable, to the extent that the major superior has no fear that the contrary (the falsity of the accusation) may be true."