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Sex Abuse by Crosier Brother Is Revealed

May 20, 2002 | St. Paul Pioneer Press

A Roman Catholic brother who admitted in the 1980s to sexually abusing a teen-age boy in central Minnesota has been living under restrictions in the Crosier Priory next door to the campus of St. Odilia parish and elementary school in Shoreview.

Brother Gregory Madigan has been working at the Crosier Fathers and Brothers priory — the home for the religious order — and at the neighboring province headquarters since fall 2000. He is strictly supervised on parish grounds because of his admitted sexual abuse against the boy, reportedly then 14, church officials announced Sunday.

The 67-year-old St. Paul native has not been allowed to work with youths, and his Shoreview office duties are clerical and cleaning only.

“I made the decision to assign Brother Gregory to be a member of the Shoreview Crosier community only after I became personally convinced that his presence here would not place anyone in the parish or public at risk,” the Rev. Thomas R. Carkhuff told St. Odilia parishioners at weekend Masses and members of the media at a news conference Sunday afternoon.

Carkhuff, who heads the United States order of Crosier Fathers and Brothers, said that the priest of the 11,000-member St. Odilia parish, the Rev. Rick McGuire, was among those who knew of the sexual abuse when Madigan was brought to Shoreview.

The Crosier community decided to go public this week as word spread that someone had contacted a local reporter about the past sexual abuse.

Similar allegations have surfaced around the country, including reports that 13 monks at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., had been accused of sexual abuse.

Parishioners at St. Odilia’s were concerned, and some were angry, at the disclosure.

“I think we were concerned … that this kind of situation had not been addressed with the lay leadership and the community when consideration was being given when Brother Gregory was going to come here,” said Rex Holzemer, a parishioner who was among the lay leadership called to a meeting last week to discuss Madigan’s problems.

“That was the consensus of the lay leadership, that it was an important step that hadn’t been taken, that it was going to raise concerns throughout the community — not just with members of the parish and people in the community — people in the broader community.”

At the news conference Sunday, Carkhuff provided few details about Madigan’s attack on the boy, other than to say the boy came forward several years after it happened. Madigan reportedly admitted not only to abusing that boy but other youths as well, Carkhuff said.

According to spokesman David Kostik, the abuse happened at Crosier Seminary Prep in Onamia, Minn., where the teen was attending the four-year boarding high school and Madigan was working. The brother’s duties included working in the donations office, preparing the church for liturgies and working as a bus driver, ferrying the youths to sporting and other events. The school closed in the 1980s, but the Crosiers have a monastery there and a church remains.

Madigan was never charged criminally. A private settlement was reached between the 14-year-old and the Crosier order. Because the settlement was sealed, details were not available, Crosier officials said.

After the 14-year-old’s report, Madigan spent six to eight months at a Maryland residential treatment center for priests and members of religious orders. The programs at St. Luke’s in Silver Spring, Md., address everything from sexual abuse, alcohol and drug dependency to depression. Madigan has been in therapy since the abuse report 15 years ago.

Carkhuff said that Madigan, who isn’t speaking publicly, remains deeply saddened about what he has done to the boy and to the religious order.

After Madigan’s release from residential treatment in 1988, he went to work for the Crosiers in Chicago doing bookkeeping. In 1992, he was reassigned to New York City where he worked at Fordham University. In 2000, he transferred to Shoreview.

At the time of Madigan’s transfer to the Twin Cities, McGuire said he considered telling St. Odilia parishioners — or at least the lay leadership — about Madigan’s sexual abuse history. He conceded Sunday that it may have been a mistake to remain quiet.

But Carkhuff said he had consulted with everyone from the psychologists working with Madigan to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Calls to the Archdiocese were not returned.

“All these sources provided the same conclusion: that with proper restrictions that keep him from contact with young people, Brother Gregory’s presence would not pose a risk to the public,” Carkhuff said.

Madigan has done no work at the parish. His assignment is restricted to work within the Crosier community and province headquarters, where he has no contact with young people. He must be accompanied by an adult when he enters parish property or parish buildings for morning prayer and Mass.

“If he needs to throw the garbage in the Dumpster over there (on parish grounds), he’s got to have an escort,” Carkhuff said.

However, Madigan has been able to shop and run errands in public without anyone accompanying him. But this weekend, Crosier officials decided he would now have to be accompanied in public as well.

Madigan will be moved temporarily from the Shoreview campus because of public concerns and perceptions about him, Crosier officials said.

Parishioner Holzemer believes that is the only way to address the problem.

“From the standpoint of the leadership, we came to the agreement that … Brother Gregory had to be moved as quickly as possible so we could have some discussion with St. Odilia parish and the broader community about this issue and develop an appropriate process for similar issues and without having Brother Gregory become the focal point of the discussion — so that people won’t be focused on trying to move him out.”

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