Reporting Misconduct

In recent months, the Roman Catholic dioceses of Indiana have released the names of priests and religious who have credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Saint Meinrad Archabbey/Seminary and School of Theology supports this effort and we join them in expressing sadness and regret that clergy and religious have perpetrated these offenses.

In the spirit of transparency and the hope of maintaining the trust and faith that the Church has placed in our monastic community, Saint Meinrad lists below the names of its members who have allegations known or believed to be credible at this time.

Included also are the years of alleged abuse, the date of ordination, whether the member is living or deceased, when the allegation was made, and the action taken. In accordance with our institutional policies and with state law, all allegations have been reported to civil authorities.

 

Name

No. of Credible Allegations

Ordination Date

Date of Alleged Abuse

Date Reported

Action Taken

 

Fr. Warren Heitz

 

2

 

1966

 

1970s

 

1999, 2018

Last parish assignment 1987; removed from public ministry 2002; assigned to a supervised residential facility, May 2009

Fr. Robert Woerdeman

 1

 1954

 1965

 2003

 Laicized 1975; deceased 2005

Fr. Thomas Aquinas Schaefers

1

 1914

 1941

 2010

 Deceased 1942

 

Saint Meinrad is committed to the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Since 1993, the monastery has had in place a policy and procedures for addressing sexual misconduct by members of the community.

Saint Meinrad’s current Policy on the Ethical Treatment of Minors and Vulnerable Adults includes directives for prevention, responding and supervision of known offenders in accordance with the standards set forth by Instruments of Hope and Healing, published by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM).

Saint Meinrad is currently working toward accreditation by Praesidium, an external accrediting agency that helps to verify a community’s adherence to the CMSM standards.

Saint Meinrad has also established a Review Board whose charge it is to advise the Archabbot on the handling of allegations and to review the safety plans of any members with credible allegations against them. The Review Board is comprised of two monks and four Catholic lay members, two men and two women.

Men applying to our community undergo a rigorous screening process that includes a formal psychological evaluation by licensed professionals, medical evaluation, criminal background check, interviews with multiple members of our community, the review of several professional and personal references, and a screening of their online social media activity.

Both in the monastery and in its seminary, Saint Meinrad places a strong emphasis on formation for celibate chastity and healthy sexuality. These programs include structured and programmatic modules at every stage of initial formation (i.e., candidacy, novitiate, and temporary vows).

Those interested in learning more about the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and religious are encouraged to consult the John Jay Report. It was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and published in 2004. You can access the report here.

Following a comprehensive review of diocesan files in U.S. dioceses and eparchies, the John Jay School of Criminology established a prevalence rate of sexual abuse among Roman Catholic clergy to be 4% (2.7% of clergy in religious orders) between the years of 1950 and 2002.

A follow-up study, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” offers a detailed analysis of the factors contributing to the clergy sex abuse crisis in the United States. You can read the report here.

Again, Saint Meinrad Archabbey/Seminary and School of Theology is committed to the safety and protection of minors and young adults. We welcome any information you might have regarding the misconduct of any of our members. Reports can be made to Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, OSB, (812-357-6555 or kstasiak@saintmeinrad.edu) or the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, Mrs. Ann Phillips (812-357-6610 or aphillips@saintmeinrad.edu).

Follow this link for a copy of our Guide to Individuals Reporting Misconduct.

Date posted: February 22, 2019