St. John's Abbey has offered a mea culpa of sorts to St. Cloud Times, after erroneously telling the paper in May that Father Raymond Francisco Schulte, the target of a sex abuse lawsuit, was living at the abbey after the abuse allegation first surfaced.
In fact, he was not.
[The] statement was in response to the lawsuit and contained errors about where Schulte was after 1992, which is when the abbey said it first learned of allegations against Schulte. The abbey's own publications, including the Abbey Banner and Abbey Quarterly magazines, gave accounts of Schulte's whereabouts after 1992 that differed from the May 18 statement. The abbey removed the May statement from its website after a May 28 Times article detailed the inconsistencies between it and the abbey publications.
Now it turns out that, "Although Fr. Schulte remained a member of Saint John's Abbey with restrictions on his ministry, our statement erred in stating that he was 'living at Saint John's Abbey' from 1992 through 2002."
Schulte was all over the map in this timeframe: For a time in the mid-1990s, he worked with migrant workers under the auspices of St. John's School of Theology. In 1994 he was in Rome studying for his doctorate. From 1997-98, he was at St. Augustine's Priory in the Bahamas.
In 2003, Schulte left the abbey to figure out whether he wanted to continue his life as a monk, and lived with his parents in North Carolina. From there, he returned to monastic life in Rome.
In all those locations, the abbey's letter to the paper said, Schulte was under supervision because of the sexual abuse allegations made against him.
Jeff Anderson, the St. Paul attorney pursuing lawsuits against alleged sexually abusive priests in the Catholic Church all over the world, has filed the lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court against St. John's Preparatory School, the abbey, the Order of St. Benedict and Schulte, a former teacher and minister at the school.
According to the lawsuit, Schulte recruited and sexually abused two boys, one from North Carolina, one from Minnesota, before and while they were students at the school in the mid-1980s. It also alleges the abbey tried to cover up Schulte's abuse.