While investigating claims of misconduct by the monks at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota [ View ] I received a tip regarding Fr. Bede Parry who, between 1979 and 1982, was a visiting monk from Conception Abbey attending the Saint John’s School of Theology.
In 1981, officials at Saint John’s learned of Bede Parry’s sexual misconduct with a teenaged student at Saint John’s University.
It wasn’t the first time Bede Parry had acted inappropriately with a student. It could have been the last had the leadership at Saint John’s and Conception Abbeys not conspired to keep Bede Parry’s misconduct secret.
After 1981, Bede Parry would abuse at least eight more individuals.
Over two days in November of 2010, I visited with Bede Parry in Las Vegas. He admitted to the misconduct with the student at Saint John’s. He also admitted to misconduct that took place before and after his time at Saint John’s. He provided me with a list of jobs, dates and references.
On April 25, 2011, I called Abbot Gregory Polan at Conception Abbey. [ View ] After discussing Bede Parry’s misconduct at Saint John’s (which Polan said he was aware of) Polan revealed that Bede Parry had also acted inappropriately with a member of the Abbey Boy Choir in 1987 and was sent to New Mexico for treatment. Polan brought up the idea of a letter to former Abbey Boy Choir members. Two days later, Polan said that the letter was being drafted. Polan provided details of two other occasions where monks at Conception Abbey had been accused of misconduct.
On May 7, 2011, I again met with Bede Parry in Las Vegas. During the meeting, Bede read a letter from one of his victims. Bede allowed me to videotape much of our conversation. I left the meeting with a two-page signed statement, some photos and more unanswered questions.
On May 12, 2011 Abbot Polan said that (on the advice of the abbey’s legal counsel) he had made the decision to not send a letter to potential victims in the Abbey Boy Choir. He said that sending such a letter might “open old wounds”. I was shocked by his refusal to take a proactive approach regarding the issue of sexual misconduct [ View ] and the abbey’s blatant disregard for the victims of misconduct.
Also on May 12, 2011, I asked Abbot Polan why he didn’t bring up the abbey’s history of sexual misconduct following the 2002 shooting. Polan said that he either didn’t think about it, or that it just never occurred to him.
On May 16, 2011, I created a web site (conceptionabbeyabuse.com) to document a long history of misconduct, cooperation and deception by members of the Conception Abbey community. In November, the web site was moved to a new domain (http://www.deceptioninconception.com).
If you were a victim of misconduct, please contact law enforcement, a therapist or an attorney. Conception Abbey and Saint John’s Abbey have proven that care for victims is not a priority.
If you have a question about this web site or want to discuss issues related to Conception Abbey, abuse and/or misconduct, please feel free to contact me at any time.