June 23, 2011


Lawsuit alleges abuse at Conception Abbey

(St. Joseph News-Press) A Missouri man filed a lawsuit Thursday against Conception Abbey, alleging a priest continued to sexually abuse children while the monastery covered up his crimes.

The civil lawsuit, filed in Nodaway County Circuit Court, claims the Rev. Bede Parry, who at the time was an ordained priest at the monastery, had sexual contact with a minor child while serving as director of a residential choir camp in 1987.
The lawsuit also alleges that officials in the monastery knew of sex crimes committed by Rev. Parry as far back as 1973.
“The facts of the case are appalling, but sadly mirror case after case of Catholic officials covering up and protecting pedophile priests rather than protecting innocent children they profess to be serving,” said Jeff Anderson, an attorney representing the plaintiff.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe 181 and a resident of Missouri, is asking for unpublished damages against Conception Abbey for intentional failure to supervise clergy. Conception Abbey, located at 37174 State Highway VV in Conception, Mo., is a Benedictine Monastery that was established in 1873. The abbey houses one of the largest Roman Catholic college seminaries in the nation, which is run by Benedictine monks.

Jenny Huard, director of communications for Conception Abbey, said they could not comment on the case at this time, but they’re “praying for all of those involved.”

The lawsuit was announced in Kansas City by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Minnesota-based law firm representing the plaintiff.

According to the petition, Rev. Parry told an abbot that he was involved in three “inappropriate sexual relationships” between 1973 and 1979 while he was a monk at the abbey. He also reportedly told an Abbot at St. John’s School of Theology that in 1981 he had sexual contact with another student.

In the plaintiff’s case, the sexual contact was reported to the abbey by his parents. According to court documents, they were told by an abbot that Rev. Parry suffered a mental breakdown and would be treated.

“In fact, Fr. Parry did not have a mental breakdown. Instead Fr. Parry was a known serial child predator who had sexually abused numerous students before Fr. Parry sexually abused the plaintiff,” the suit alleges.

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Lawsuit alleges abuse at Conception Abbey
Kim Norvell
St. Joseph News-Press
June 23, 2011