Father Richard Eckroth is one of 17 credibly accused clerics from St. John’s Abbey. In September, 2014, two men filed a lawsuit in Stearns County, Minnesota who were sexually abused by Eckroth at a cabin in Northern Minnesota in the early 1970s. They are two of many believed to be raped and abused by Eckroth who is now, “on restriction at the abbey.”
Father Richard Eckroth, OSB was born June 21, 1926 in Mandan, ND. Eckroth professed simple vows as a Benedictine monk at St. John’s Abbey on July 11, 1946. After ordination as a Roman Catholic priest on June 7, 1952, Father Eckroth served in several Abbey apostolates, including as teacher, assistant novice master, associate pastor and as a missionary in the Bahamas.
Father Eckroth’s name is included on two official lists of clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse, including the St. John’s Abbey List (released 12/19/2013) and the Diocese of St. Cloud list (released 1/03/2014). According to these lists, Father Eckroth worked at the following parishes:
· 1953-69 St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville
· 1970-73 St. Benedict’s Convent, St. Joseph
· 1974 St. Augustine, St. Cloud
· 1975-78 Seven Dolors, Albany
St. Raphael’s Convent, St. Cloud
St. Scholastica Convent, St. Cloud
· 1979 American Foreign Missions, British West Indies
· 1980-81 St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville
· 1981 American Foreign Missions, Bahamas
In the 1970s, Father Eckroth transported minors to cabins owned by St. John’s Abbey near Swenson Lake and Cross Lake in the Diocese of Crookston where he sexually abused children from St. John’s Preparatory School and the St. Cloud Diocese, where he served as a pastor.
Father Eckroth was sent to the Saint Luke Institute in Suitland, Maryland for evaluation and returned to the Abbey. At several points from 1946 to 1993, Father Eckroth was assigned to Saint Augustine’s Priory in Nassau, Bahamas and returned annually to the St. John’s Abbey and University campus.
Ministerial Status: Father Eckroth currently lives on a restricted status at a St. John’s Abbey retirement center in Collegeville.