Secret files on St. John's Abbey monks show hundreds of possible victims

Brand new, once-secret files on 19 monks from St. John’s Abbey show they may have abused hundreds of children. Attorney Jeff Anderson released the files of 5 of those monks Tuesday, saying time is running out for victims to step forward.

St. John’s Abbey agreed to release these files as part of a court settlement with a victim who was known as John Doe No. 2. That victim’s real name is Troy Bramlage, and he stepped forward to encourage other victims to do the same.

“We still need to get our voices out to people who have not come forward,” Bramlage said.

Anderson released the files of 5 previously accused monks, but the documents on one of them -- Father Finian McDonald -- shows a man with a troubled past.

“He admits in the file an attraction to boys as young as 12 with no ability to control his sexual impulses,” Anderson said.

A psychological profile in 2012 revealed that the total number of sexual partners reported during his priesthood as 200. Father McDonald was just one monk in the files. The clock is ticking because the statute of limitations on the Child Protection Act runs out in just 6 months, which is why Bramlage and Anderson’s attorneys are urging victims to step forward now.

“Be John Doe, be Jane Doe. Be whatever you are comfortable with. Go to whatever you think will help you,” Bramlage said. “Whether that’s these gentlemen or somebody else. But make your story known.”

In an online statement, St. John’s Abbot John Klassen says the Abbey accepts full responsibility for the abuses that have been committed, adding, “We are hopeful that, with this disclosure, we can help survivors find peace and resolution.”