(Maryville Daily Forum) A Missouri man filed a lawsuit against Conception Abbey last week, alleging that officials there covered up sexual abuse by a monk in the 1980s.
The lawsuit, filed in Nodaway County Circuit Court, claims the plaintiff, then a minor, was molested by Bede Parry, 69, a former monk and ordained Catholic priest.
The alleged incident happened in 1987 while the plaintiff was attending a summer choir camp at the abbey, which comprises a Benedictine monastery and seminary college.
The abbey is located on HIghway 136 sixteen miles east of Maryville.
Filing suit under the name John Doe 181, the plaintiff alleges the abbey knew the monk had previously sexually abused other young people but kept it quiet. The monk, who later became an Episcopal priest in Las Vegas, is not named as a defendant.
“The whole thing is terrible,” Parry was quoted as saying in a story filed Friday by the Associated Press. “I feel so terrible. I’m just praying for everybody, and I ask for prayers.”
Conception Abbey spokeswoman Jenny Huard told the AP she was aware of Parry’s comments but the abbey had no comment beyond, “we are praying for all involved.”
Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney who represents the plaintiff, said the monk “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 current head of Conception Abbey, said he had been directed by lawyers not to comment. Jon Haden, a Kansas City attorney for the abbey, said he would not comment until he could review the lawsuit.
The abbot in charge of Conception Abbey at the time of the alleged molestation was Fr. Jerome Hanus, who later served as bishop of Saint Cloud, Minn., and is currently archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa.
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 it’s primary mission is to educate men who believe they have been called to the priesthood.
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Suit alleges abuse by priest
Maryville Daily Forum
Jun 27, 201