June 23, 2011


Lawsuit alleges abuse of boys by monk at Conception Abbey

(KC Star) A Missouri man filed a lawsuit today against Conception Abbey in northwest Missouri, alleging a coverup of sexual abuse by a former monk who directed its boys’ choir in the late-1980s. The lawsuit, filed in Nodaway County Circuit Court, claims that Bede Parry, then a Benedictine monk, molested the plaintiff in 1987 during a summer camp at the abbey. At the time, Parry led the Abbey Boy Choir of Conception Abbey.

The plaintiff, who filed the suit under the name John Doe 181, alleges that the abbey knew that Parry had sexually abused other students prior to abusing him but kept it quiet.

“This is a grave institutional failure,” said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney who represents the plaintiff. “Bede Parry wasn’t able to control himself, but it was the abbot and the top officials who knew that and made the choice to protect themselves at the peril of many kids and young adults.”

Abbot Gregory Polan, the head of Conception Abbey, told The Kansas City Star this morning that he could not discuss the lawsuit.

“I am aware of the situation, but at least at this point, our lawyers have asked us to simply not comment,” he said. “We are praying for all of the people involved.”

Jon Haden, a Kansas City attorney who represents Conception Abbey, also declined comment.

“Until I or Conception Abbey actually sees the petition and has a chance to review it, we’re not going to have a comment on it,” said Haden.

Records show that Parry, 69, became a priest in the Episcopal church in 2004 and is now the music director and assisting priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas. He could not be reached for comment this morning.

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Lawsuit alleges abuse of boys by monk at Conception Abbey
The Kansas City Star