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, Conception Abbey provided the names of eight abbey priests or brothers against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made in the past 70 years. None of these priests continues in ministry.
“On behalf of the monks of Conception Abbey, I offer my unconditional apology to all victims and their families affected by the evil of clergy sexual abuse,” said Right Reverend Benedict Neenan, OSB, abbot of Conception Abbey.
“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.”
To compile the list, Conception Abbey leadership retained retired FBI agents to review the personnel files of all abbey priests and brothers serving in the past 70 years.
The following are the names of the priests or brothers that the abbey and/or a diocese in which a priest served has determined that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is credible.
• Fr. Vincent Barsch, born, 1919; ordained, 1945; left religious life, 1973; state and timeline, South Dakota, ca. 1955-62; status, deceased in 2010.
• Fr. Bede Parry, born, 1942; ordained, 1983; dismissed from religious life, 2002; state and timeline, Missouri, ca. 1982-87; status, deceased in 2013.
• Fr. Edgar Probstfield, born, 1927; ordained, 1952; state and timeline, Missouri, 1976-77; status, deceased in 2007.
• Fr. Regis Probstfield, born, 1931; ordained, 1957; state and timeline, Missouri, 1976; status, deceased in 2008.
• Fr. Gilbert Stack, born, 1913; ordained, 1939, state and timeline, South Dakota, ca. 1949-53; status, deceased in 2007.
• Fr. Hugh Tasch, born, 1930; ordained, 1957; state and timeline, Missouri, 2003; status, deceased in 2017.
• Fr. Paschal Thomas, born, 1934; ordained, 1959, state and timeline, Connecticut, 1993; status, deceased in 2015.
• Fr. Isaac True, born, 1937; ordained, 1966; state and timeline, Missouri, 1979; status, removed from ministry.
The criteria used to determine the abbey’s list were: the allegation involved sexual abuse of a minor; the priest or brother at issue was a member of Conception 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.
Conception Abbey is committed to providing a safe environment for its guests, seminarians, staff and monks. In 2011, the abbey implemented a policy for Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults and a Code of Ethics, and is accredited by Praesidium, an organization which 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, seminary or staff and makes recommendations to the Abbot and his council of advisors for adherence to the Praesidium standards.
In addition, Conception Abbey has retained the services of an independent victim advocate, Meghann Kosman.