St. John's Abbey adds three former monks to list of likely abusers

St. John's Abbey Church
The St. John's Abbey Church in Collegeville, Minn., Jan. 18, 2016.
Matt Sepic | MPR News 2016

St. John's Abbey has added the names of three former monks to its list of those likely to have sexually abused children.

A statement on the abbey's website names Casimir Plakut, Augustine John Strub and James Kelly, all of whom are deceased. All three had severed their relationship with St. John's Abbey before their deaths, the abbey said.

Explore the full investigation Clergy abuse, cover-up and crisis in the Twin Cities Catholic church

The addition of Plakut, Strub and Kelly brings the number of current and former monks on the St. John's list of likely abusers to 21. Thirteen are deceased and two have permanently left the order.

The abbey said it intends to make documents related to the three public, but they must first be redacted to remove victims' names and identifying details.

In a statement, attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents many victims of clergy sex abuse, called the addition of the three names "real progress."

Anderson said in recent months, St. John's has settled 17 more sex abuse cases brought on behalf of survivors.

"Getting these names out into the public and getting St. John's to acknowledge a history never before revealed publicly is so important to protecting kids in the future, and to the validation and healing of survivors," Anderson said.

Anderson said he expects more names to be added to the list of offenders in coming months.

According to the abbey's statement:

Casimir Plakut became a monk in 1932 and was ordained in 1938. He worked at several parishes, including Duluth, Detroit Lakes, Cold Spring and Naytahwaush. He began the process of leaving St. John's in 1958 and finalized his intentions in 1962. He died in 1988.

Augustine John Strub became a monk in 1939 and was ordained in 1947. He served in parishes in Cloquet, Naytahwaush, Callaway and at St Mary's Hospital in Duluth. He left Saint John's and the priesthood in 1961 to 1962. He died in 2015.

James Kelly became a monk in 1936 and was ordained in 1942. He taught and studied music at St. John's University and other colleges. He also served in various parishes in the Twin Cities and also at Ball Club. He left St. John's and the priesthood in 1973 and was formally dismissed from the priesthood in 1976. He died in 2011.

Click here to see the full list and St. John's response to sexual abuse.

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