Abbot Klassen Covered Up Abuse by Another Monk in the Bronx

According to Saint John’s Abbey’s own records, at least eighteen priests from Saint John’s Abbey were assigned to St. Anselm’s and St. Benedict’s in the Bronx between 1939 and 1976.

In the 1960’s, one of those Saint John’s Abbey priests, Fr. Agustin Cerezo Murillo, was removed after several allegations of misconduct surfaced.  Saint John’s was made aware of Fr. Cerezo’s misconduct and replaced him, it is believed, with Fr. Virgil O’Neill in 1969.

Saint John’s was reminded of those allegations twenty-seven years later, in 2006, when Abbot John Klassen was contacted by Msgr. Desmond O’Connor from the Archdiocese of New York after O’Connor’s office was contacted by one of Fr. Cerezo’s victims.

Fr. Cerezo’s name was not included in a recent letter sent by Abbot Klassen. In fact, Abbot Klassen and the leadership at St. John’s Abbey decided to keep Fr. Cerezo’s name, and the credible allegations against him, from the public.

This week, another Saint John’s Abbey priest, Father Timothy Kelly, was publicly accused of sexual misconduct in the Bronx.

Abbot John Klassen, the spiritual leader at Saint John’s, has proven to be a deceptive administrator. Abbot Klassen’s refusal to be honest with regard to sexual misconduct is a terrible, and dangerous, example for the entire Saint John’s community.

Other Saint John’s Abbey priests assigned to the Bronx:

*** St. Anselm’s (Bronx, New York)

Father Timothy Kelly
Father Peter St. Hilaire
Father Stephen Wagman
Father Mel Taylor
Father Virgil O’Neill
Father Bartholomew Sayles
Father Burton Bloms
Father Don Talafous

*** St. Benedict’s (Bronx, New York)

Father Emmanuel Kelsch
Father Edmund Hall
Father Julius Muggli
Father Edwin Stueber
Father Alban Fruth

***St. Benedict’s and/or St. Anselm’s (Bronx, New York)

Father Bernard Watrin
Father Sebastian Schramel
Father Patrick Okada
Father Robert Blumeyer
Father Terence Carroll
Father Damian Baker