Four survivors of sexual abuse, including a few at the hands of St. John’s Abbey monks, will be at a news conference last Thursday where lawsuits will be announced against St. John’s Abbey and the Dioceses of St. Cloud in Minnesota. Two victims that previously settled lawsuits with St. John’s were not at the news conference.
Among the monks accused is Richard Eckroth. It is expected that the upcoming lawsuits will personally name Eckroth, who is accused of sexually abusing two young boys at a cabin in north Minnesota during the early 1970s when they were parishioners at the Church of St. Joseph. Determining the truth will be further complicated in this case by Richard Eckroth’s advanced dementia.
According to the attorney representing the victims, the lawsuit will also accuse the diocese of creating a public nuisance through the handling of the allegations against its monks and priests. According to the abbey, they have been “conscientious and transparent in voluntarily disclosing the names of monks who may have offended, including previous disclosure of the names of the two priests cited in the lawsuit.”
The attorney for the victims is seeking all the files of clerics credibly accused of sexual abuse from both St. John’s and the Diocese of St. Cloud. St. John’s has publicly released the names of 22 clerics, and the Diocese of St. Cloud has released the names of 33 clerics, all of which have credible allegations of child sexual abuse against them, according to the attorney for the victims. Johnson also expects to file suit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse by a religious leader, religious organization, or religious school, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884.