July 25, 2011


Conception Abbey named in second lawsuit

(Maryville, Mo.) A second lawsuit was filed last week in Nodaway County Circuit Court alleging that a former monk there, who was also an ordained priest, abused a teenage boy in the early 1980s.

The alleged victim, identified only as John Doe 48, claims in the suit that he was abused by Fr. Bede Parry, a choir director at the abbey and seminary college east of Maryville, and that the abuse consisted of being coerced into various sex acts between 1982 and 1984. Illegal activity described in the lawsuit included oral sex in addition to fondling and kissing.

Parry, 69, is not named as a defendant in the suit, which claims the abbey sought to cover up the assaults, and that Parry’s superior knew about the incidents but failed to take appropriate action by removing the monk from his post.

According to the suit, which was filed by attorney Rebecca Randles, the victim was in his mid-teens at the time of the attacks and was taking piano lessons with Parry serving as his instructor. An additional incident involving John Doe 48 is also alleged to have occurred during a summer choir camp hosted by the abbey.

In all, the lawsuit claims that Parry had illegal sexual contact with the youth, said to be in his mid-teens, on at least six occasions over a about a year and a half.

The earlier lawsuit against the abbey was filed June 23 and claims that Parry molested another teenage boy in 1987, also during choir camp. It states that Parry had improper sexual relations with the boy identified as John Doe 181, and that the monastery knew about the incident but kept it quiet.

The abbot in charge of Conception Abbey at the time was Fr. Jerome Hanus, who later served as bishop of Saint Cloud, Minn., and is currently archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa.

According to the lawsuit, Parry lived at the abbey from 1973 through 1979, then spent three years at a school of theology in Minnesota. He returned to Conception Abbey in 1982, where he served as secretary to the abbot, taught classes and directed the choir.

Court documents allege the monk had sexual contact with John Doe 181 while serving as the camp’s choir director. The plaintiff stated in the suit that he told his parents by phone about the contact the following day.

Confronted by the alleged victim’s parents, Hanus, according to the lawsuit, told them that Parry had suffered a “mental breakdown” for which he would receive treatment. In fact, the suit alleges, Parry confessed to his superior that he had been involved in three previous inappropriate sexual relationships.

The lawsuit states that Parry was ultimately sent to a Catholic treatment center in New Mexico for three months and later worked for several churches in the Southwest before becoming an Episcopal clergyman.

According to court documents, Parry had been serving as priest of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Las Vegas, Nev., when the scandal surfaced last month. He has since resigned.

Conception Abbey is home to Conception Seminary College, one of the nation’s largest Roman Catholic college seminaries. The college is run by the monks of the abbey, and its primary mission is to educate men who feel they have been called to the priesthood.

Source: http://www.maryvilledailyforum.com/…