Jeff Anderson sues St. John's Abbey, releases files of five accused monks

Categories: Crime, Religion

Fr. Richard Eckroth
For instance, in one memo dated Oct. 23, 1987, and labeled "STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL," then-Vicar General Kevin McDonough notes that an allegation of abuse took place ten years in the past. "Because of this," McDonough writes, "both Fr. [Dan] Ward [of St. John's] and I are convinced that the statutory provisions requiring the reporting of certain incidents do not apply in this case." In other words, there's no legal mandate to call police.

In another memo, written Feb. 26, 1997, a communications director at the archdiocese named Timothy Anderson questioned whether it would be wise to inform parishioners about the allegations facing two priests in St. Paul and Stillwater, Dahlheimer and Gillespie.
Normally common sense would dictate that we withhold the information from the public for at least two good reasons. First, the lawsuit may be settled outside of court and not become a matter of public record. And second, an early release of the information gives the media a longer period of time to sensationalize the story.
Anderson was joined Monday by Lloyd Van Vleet, a 59-year-old Monticello man who alleges that Father Robert Blumeyer, since deceased, groomed him at St. Bartholomew in Wayzata in 1969.

He looked up to Blumeyer as a surrogate father. The priest started by showing the young boy pornographic pictures, which evolved into oral sex and ended by "exploring other parts of my body," Van Fleet says.

"He stole my childhood," Van Vleet concludes, noting that he stopped playing baseball and eventually fell into drug and alcohol abuse. "Everything I did changed."

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