January 24, 2023

Dear Friends,

St. Benedict’s Abbey of Benet Lake, Wisconsin, was founded by Conception Abbey, Conception Missouri, in 1945 and became an independent abbey in 1952. In 2014, St. Benedict’s Abbey came once again under the responsibility and legal authority of Conception Abbey as a dependent monastery.

Concern for transparency and accountability has prompted many dioceses and religious orders to publish information about members within their groups who have had allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against them. With that goal, I write to provide the names of six St. Benedict’s Abbey priests or brothers against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made in the period of its existence as an independent Abbey. None of the men listed continues in ministry. On behalf of the monks of Conception Abbey and St. Benedict’s Abbey, I offer my unconditional apology to all victims and their families affected by the evil of clergy sexual abuse. It is my prayer and hope that publishing this list will aid in the healing of victims and will serve as a lasting reminder of our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect all minors and vulnerable adults from abuse.

Conception Abbey, which now includes the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey, is committed to providing a safe environment for its guests, seminarians, staff, and monks. In 2017, Conception Abbey revised its Policy for Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults and a Code of Ethics, and is accredited by Praesidium, an organization that sets standards for institutions to ensure a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults. The independent Abbey Review Board, made up of lay persons, reviews any allegation of sexual misconduct by members of the monastic community, retreat center, seminary, or staff and makes recommendations to the Abbot and his council of advisors for adherence to the Praesidium standards. In addition, we have retained the services of an independent Victim Advocate, Meghann Kosman, who can be reached at 660-562-2320.

To compile the list, we retained retired FBI agents to review the personnel files of all Abbey priests and brothers serving in the past 70 years. Below are the names of the priests and brothers that the Abbey and/or a diocese in which the priest served has determined that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is credible.

The criteria used to determine the St. Benedict’s Abbey list were:
• the allegation involved sexual abuse of a minor;
• the priest or brother at issue was a member of St. Benedict’s Abbey; and
• the allegation was deemed credible, which means that after all of the available information was reviewed (and in many instances, the only information was decades old), the allegation was considered more likely true than not true.

If you are aware of present or past instances of abuse, we encourage you to report what you know to Br. Jacob Kubajak, OSB, our Program of Protection Coordinator, at (660) 944-2988 or via email at officeofprotection@conception.edu. We promise that we will respond quickly and appropriately.

Media inquiries should go to Abbot Benedict at abbot@conception.edu, or Kaity Holtman at 660.944.2823 or communications@conception.edu.

Sincerely in Christ,

Right Rev. Benedict Neenan, OSB
Abbot of Conception Abbey

Br. Cypriano Molelos Pina
Born: November 4, 1930
Professed: February 12, 1966
Left religious life: 1966
Location and Timeline: Mexico, 1960s
Status: Whereabouts unknown

Br. Maur Anthony Burbach
Born: November 29, 1937
Professed: March 21, 1960
Dismissed from religious life: 1970
State and Timeline: New Mexico, 1960s
Status: Deceased in 2019

Fr. Basil Joseph Anderson
Born: April 16, 1928
Ordained: May 1, 1954
State and Timeline: Texas, late 1970s
Status: Deceased in 2002

Fr. Benet Joseph Holey
Born: August 2, 1927
Ordained: May 31, 1958
Dispensed 1962
State and Timeline: Pennsylvania, 1950s
Status: Deceased in 2008

Br. Thomas Chmura
Born: January 8, 1956
Professed: August 15, 1982
State and Timeline: Illinois, 2013
Status: Removed from ministry and placed in custodial care.

Fr. Barry Bossa
Born: April 2, 1937
Dismissed from Benedictines: 1964
Ordained: 1981 (by Pallotine Fathers)
State and Timeline: New York, Massachusettes, 1970s
Status: Deceased in 2007