Donald Trump has made some totally outrageous comments this year, as he (possibly sincerely) puts himself forth as a candidate for president of the United States. But his most outrageous remark – whatever it was, as this is written – pales in comparison to one by a spokesman for St. John’s Abbey, in Collegeville, MN, when he declared that the Abbey “did a reasonable job of managing . . . the problem” of a resident monk, “the Rev. Finian McDonald (pictured above), who told a psychologist that he had about 200 sexual encounters as a priest” – many of them with children, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
That paper/website also noted that “another [priest] recorded the names of dozens of boys he brought to a cabin, some of whom he sexually abused.”
Whether that individual was sanctioned, rebuked, ‘managed’, dismissed and/or reported to authorities wasn’t mentioned.
But the article did mention that “another abuser was paid $30,000 by St. John’s Abbey to support him as he left the clergy.”
This and a lot more came to light after the Abbey was court-ordered to release internal files on “priests credibly accused of child sex abuse as part of a lawsuit settled earlier this year,” the Minneapolis media outlet’s web site reported. Despite priests there having been accused of sex offenses since the 1960’s, the Abbey consistently refused, over the past two decades, to release to investigators any of its files of implicated priests until it was recently forced to do so.
Among the 200 or so sexual assaults committed by the Rev. Finian McDonald, his file revealed, were prostitutes in Thailand who were 13- or 14-years-old at the time. He also admitted to having had 18 victims in St. John’s dormitories, when he served as a prefect there – a role he played for roughly 29 years – and that he abused alcohol during most of his time at the Abbey.
The alcohol abuse, in his case and perhaps others, no doubt was in mind when Abbey spokesman Brother Aelred Senna prepared a statement regarding the files that included the following text:
“There are documents in each file which may be quoted and framed in a lurid context, but the huge majority of the documents in each of these files acknowledges the very real failures of some monks while showing each of the accused monks as a fallible, relatable person.”
He added that the files “show that the Abbey did not try to cover up allegations and did a reasonable job of managing the monk and the problem.”
He did not explain how a religious institution goes about “managing” matters that, aside from being illegal, represent a gross abuse of the rights of victims and, no less important, the trust placed in the institution by the victims and the parents or guardians who permitted and encouraged their attendance at St. John’s.
The Star-Tribune didn’t note if, or what kind of, charges might be brought against the victimizing priests or their employer, the Abbey.