Edit: back in March, we took notice of the almost unanimous absence in local reporting of the abuse and suicide of Ben Spanier, and the man who most directly caused it, the Prior of St. John's Abbey, Father Tom Andert, now on leave of absence. Andert was subsequently placed on restriction and relived of his duties pending the investigation. When the story of Andert's dismissal broke, the local news media completely ignored Ben's very credible accusations and his death, covered almost exclusively in a blog by a former alumnus of St. John's Preparatory School.
Only yesterday, National Public Radio, itself born at Collegeville, did a piece about Ben's parents, who are calling for a change in the "culture of secrecy" at St. John's Abbey. It's not clear what is meant by this, but the sincerity of his grieving parents and the contempt with which they've been treated by the Abbey is very real, indeed.
To date, no one is calling for the resignation of Abbot John Klassen who has consistently lied to protect predators and preserve the atmosphere of heresy in collegeville. Those who were very vocal in calling for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt, like the dissident St. John's alum, Father Mark Tegeder, are completely silent now.
How a story like this could be passed over in the local Catholic and secular media is truly a thing to behold. We hope this call for reform isn't a call for their kind of reform.
[NPR] His parents say his problems began 20 years earlier, when he was a student at St. John's Prep in Collegeville. They say their son wasn't the same after he began spending time with the Rev. Tom Andert, a prominent priest who was placed on leave earlier this year for a separate allegation of sexual misconduct.
The Spaniers say they're coming forward now because they want the culture at St. John's to change. Ben Spanier had attempted suicide before. His father, Eric, will never forget picking up the phone that night in 1994. On the other end of the line was the Rev. Tom Andert, the head of the boarding school at St. John's, where Ben was a junior.
"I answered the phone," Eric Spanier said. "He was calling from the emergency room in the hospital, so it was a shock."
He said he was relieved the priest was there to care for his son.