ABOUT ISTI


I.  ISTI CREATION AND ORGANIZATION: 

1.     August 1993: Timothy Kelly OSB, Abbot, and Dietrich Reinhart OSB, University President, invited twenty-two people from across the country to Saint John's for a two-day consultation meeting in the aftermath of initial allegations of sexual misconduct against some members of the monastic community.  The consultants recommended that the Abbey develop a program of systematic education, written policies, and explicit procedures as a means of prevention and to deal with its internal issues; and create an independent interfaith initiative to address issues of systemic change and prevention across religious traditions. Roman Paur OSB was asked to be the point person to shape the latter initiative into a formal program. 

2.     May 1994: The advisory board, with membership mostly of the initial consultation group, was officially established; the executive director appointed, and the initiative was named (ISTI). 

3.     ISTI Advisory Board:  The full board meets twice annually, mandates ISTI priorities and programs, and reviews the operating budget. Through the executive committee and three standing committees (Planning, Program, and Finance) the Board monitors project development and oversees the performance review of the executive director.  Broad membership intentionally includes people from all aspects of the issues: both survivors and offenders as well as from across the professions of psychiatry and psychology, social workers and law, religion and education, researchers and writers.  A total of 50 people have served on the board from the beginning including 16 survivors, 5 offenders, 20 women, and members of the Jewish community and 18 Christian denominations.  All religious traditions are welcome.  ISTI board meetings and conferences are closed to the media. 

4.     ISTI Administration and Structure:  ISTI programs and initiatives are administered and organized by the executive director. Historically, ISTI was jointly founded with the Board by Saint John's Abbey and University, divisions of The Order of Saint Benedict, a tax exempt corporation.

5.     ISTI Budget:  The annual budget is about $125,000  ($110,000 for indirect support costs [space, fixed utilities, business office and technical services] and compensation, and $15,000 operating expenses).  ISTI's goal from the beginning is to be financially independent through its own fundraising initiatives.  ISTI has been unsuccessful, however, in attracting adequate funding to support itself through annual giving or endowment resources.  Although ISTI has raised to date a total of about $350,000 through speaker fees, cash gifts, foundation grants, conference income, and sales of ISTI products, Saint John's Abbey and University have contributed a cash subsidy as well as the indirect support costs and compensation annually of the Benedictine executive director, totally just under $950,000 between August 1993 and June 2002.  

II.   ISTI VISION, MISSION, GOALS:  

1.     Vision:  Facilitate the building of safe, healthy, and trustworthy communities of faith. 

2.     Mission:  ISTI promotes the prevention of sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment through research, education, and publication.  In areas of sexuality, ISTI offers leadership, gives voice, and facilitates healing to survivors, communities of faith, and offenders, as well as those who care for them.   

3.     Goals:  ISTI concerns itself with long term systemic change through the following specific goals: 1) encourage understanding of sexual misconduct through interdisciplinary seminars, conferences, and seminary instruction; 2) develop models of intervention, psychological and spiritual healing, restitution, and recovery of community trust in collaboration with such persons as survivors, offenders, religious leaders, and those in the helping professions; 3) support the systematic study of and theological reflection on healthy human sexuality and appropriate use of power; 4) publish materials regarding survivors and healing, offenders and rehabilitation, and spiritual communities and transformation; 5) advance research on sexual abuse, exploitation, harassment, and their prevention; 6) collect and disseminate accurate information about issues of sexual misconduct; 7) network with profesiodnal organizations and agencies that deal with issues of sexual misconduct.      

Through the speaker resource ISTI provides educational consultations but does not provide direct treatment for offenders or survivors.  ISTI does not investigate or comment on any allegations of abuse from any source nor does it monitor the integrity of any person or institution. 

III.  PAST ISTI CONFERENCES: 

1.    August 1994: ISTI hosted and sponsored with Saint John’s Abbey the second annual three-day national conference of Linkup, a national affiliation of victims of clergy sexual abuse; and a one-day Linkup workshop for training victim advocates and group leaders. This was the first and only time a religious institution sponsored a national gathering of victims. About fifty Benedictine monks from Saint John’s Abbey participated in the conference along with the victims. Abbot Timothy Kelly OSB gave the opening and closing addresses and the then Ordinary of the Saint Cloud Diocese, Bishop Jerome Hanus OSB, was an invited speaker who received a standing ovation. 

2.    1995: Three 1-day fact-finding conferences in Los Angeles , Philadelphia and Saint Louis .  The purpose was to get a first-hand sampling of the status of the question and learn directly from the participants what was being done around the country across denominations and what needs to be done to address the issues of clergy sexual abuse (Total of about 300 participants). Speakers: Patrick Carnes PhD, Mark Schwartz PhD 

3.    1997: Two 1-day conferences in Washington DC and Saint Paul entitled Power in Communities of Faith: Creative or Destructive? Total of about 200 participants). Speakers: James Gill MD, Rev Margo Maris 

4.    1998 ISTI 3-day national conference in Collegeville: Preventing Abuse by Creating Healthy Communities (130 participants). Keynote Speakers: Abbot Timothy Kelly, Phyllis Willerscheidt, Patrick Carnes PhD, Candace Benyei, Marvin Ellison.  Workshop Speakers:  Nancy Myer Hopkins, Elisabeth Horst PhD, Roman Paur PhD, Sr Sharon Howell, Nancy Biele, Kevin McDonough JCD, William Stayton ThD, Paul Duckro PhD, Sr Margretta Dwyer, Elisabeth Griffin, Karen Hilgers PhD, Rev Liam Hoare, Mic Hunter PsyD, Richard Irons MD, Mark Laaser PhD, Leslie Lothstein PhD, Marilyn Murray, Rev Robert Nugent, James & Nancy Poling, Dana Raphael PhD, David Richards DD, Jeri Rockett PhD, Marak Sundby PhD, Dale Ryan PhD, David Saude, William Seabloom PhD, Myrla Siebold PhD, Mary Stamp, Nicholas Tormey PhD, Jan Tuin, Rev Ken Wells, Tony Williams 

5.    1999 ISTI 3-day national conference in Collegeville: Sex and the Abuse of Power in Religious Systems (150 participants). Keynote Speakers: Flora Keshgegian PhD, William Cahoy PhD, Rev Ken Wells. Workshop Speakers:  Kevin McDonough JCD, Rev Thomas Krenik, Gary Schoener, Phyllis Willerscheidt, Mark Laaser PhD, Nancy Myer Hopkins, Roman Paur PhD, Patrick Carnes PhD, Elisabeth Horst PhD, Nicholas Tormey PhD, Nancy Biele, Richard Irons MD, Julia Moen 

6.    2000 ISTI 3-day national conference in Collegeville: Desire: Spirituality and Sexuality (160 participants). Keynote Speakers: Joan Timmerman PhD, Bishop Harold Hopkins, Mariah Burton Nelson.  Workshop Speakers: Nancy Myer Hopkins, Donna Scott, Jan and Lon Tuin, Phyllis Willerscheidt, Mark Laaser PhD, David Richards DD, Columba Stewart DPhil, Roman Paur PhD, Elisabeth Horst PhD, Patrick Carnes PhD, Richard Irons PhD, Christopher Ruf 

7.    2001 ISTI 3-day national conference in Collegeville: Bringing Light to the Underground: Living Faith in a Sexually Traumatized Culture (24,25,26 June) Keynote Speakers: Cordelia Anderson, David Richards DD, Mike Dubois.  Workshop Speakers:  Patrick Carnes PhD, David Delmonico PhD, Elisabeth Griffin, Jennifer Schneider Md, PhD, Mia Baumgartner, Nancy Myer Hopkins, Elisabeth Horst PhD, Richard Irons MD, Marcia Zimmerman, Nancy Biele, Lenora Brown PhD, Larraine Frampton, Sandra Scott 

IV.  ISTI INTERNET RESOURCES: 

1.     www.csbsju.edu/isti features free access to various educational and referral resources including a select bibliography of over 4,000 entries that can be downloaded without charge.  The ISTI website is linked to many other internet resources. 

2.     Web-based Distance Learning Program:  In conjunction with the Saint John's School of Theology, ISTI opened its web-based academic program in 2000.  Current information on course offerings is available from the ISTI homepage.

V.   ISTI PUBLICATIONS: 

      (all books and pamphlets available from The Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN 56321 USA.  (Liturgical Press Direct sales: 800.858.5450  - 
  sales@litpress.org   -  www.litpress.org)

1.     ISTI Bibliography and Resource CD (discontinued) This self-opening CD contains a 4,000+ entry select bibliography; and listings of survivor consulting and support resources across the country, offender treatment centers, all past ISTI newsletter articles and book reviews, ISTI advisory board, ISTI history and mission. All of the information on the CD is available without charge through the ISTI website.

2.     The ISTI Sun had been a quarterly subscription publication that started in September 1995 and ran through December 2001.  The hard copy is no longer published.  All articles are now available without charge on the ISTI website,

3.     1995: Mark Laaser & Nancy Hopkins, eds, Restoring the Soul of a Church: Healing Congregation, $19.95

4.     1996: Stephen Rossetti, A Tragic Grace: The Catholic Church and Child Sexual Abuse, $10.95

5.     1998: Nils Friberg & Mark Laaser, Before the Fall: Preventing Pastoral Sexual Abuse, $12.95

6.     1998: Elisabeth Horst, Recovering the Lost Self: Shame Healing for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse, $4.95

7.     1998: Nancy Myer Hopkins, The Congregational Response to Clergy Betrayals of Trust, $4.95

8.     2000: Elisabeth Horst, Questions and Answers About Clergy Sexual Misconduct, $3.95 

VI.  ISTI SPEAKER AND CONSULTATIONS RESOURCES:   

1.     The executive director is invited to be a speaker on related topics for keynotes, workshops, and seminars at local, regional, national and international events.

2.     ISTI is contacted regularly as a resource for information about survivor support, policy development, intervention issues, training of advocates and pastoral response teams, intervention of offenders, offender treatment facilities, publications, etc. 

VII.  ISTI RECOMMENDATIONS: 

1.     June 2000:  ISTI Recommendations to the Leadership of Faith Communities for the Healing and Prevention of the Abuse of Leadership Trust

2.     June 2001:  ISTI Recommendations to the Leadership of Faith Communities for a developing a Code of Ethics in Pastoral Ministry        

VIII.  CURRENT INITIATIVES:

In July, 2002, ISTI was incorporated into the Saint John's School of Theology·Seminary where it is currently administered.  The ISTI website continues to be a resource of education and outreach.  From time to time ISTI offers invitational workshops in Collegeville on relevant topics.