Serial Predator Whom the Archdiocese Continually Disregarded as Being a Threat to Women and Children

August 12, 2014 Comments Off on Serial Predator Whom the Archdiocese Continually Disregarded as Being a Threat to Women and Children

– Years ago, he was a young priest — and alleged rapist
– Priest Diagnosed with Sexuality Disorder in 1989 Continued in Ministry until 2013
– Priest File of Father Kenneth LaVan
– Fr. Kenneth LaVan

Years ago, he was a young priest — and alleged rapist
By Emily Gurnon 08/11/2014

The Rev. Kenneth LaVan began sexually abusing girls with his first parish assignment in the 1960s and later threatened to burn down a woman’s house and have her husband killed — yet he was not removed from active ministry in the Twin Cities until last year, according to court and internal church records.

The Rev. Kevin McDonough told then-Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2005 that while he knew of LaVan’s “boundary violations with adult females, I had forgotten that there were two allegations in the late 1980s concerning sexual involvement with teenaged girls.”….

An early allegation against LaVan was by a girl who said the priest raped her when she was 14 or 15 at the Church of St. Raphael in Crystal, where he served from 1965 to 1970.

Psychologist Gary Schoener was hired by the archdiocese to examine LaVan. He also evaluated the girl’s account and that of another teenager, who said LaVan kissed her “passionately,” backed her up against a wall and fondled her. The abuse began when she was between the sixth and seventh grade, she said….

LaVan denied “anything close to” a rape, though Schoener said he believed LaVan was minimizing events with both girls.

“The alternative — that these stories are fabrications — seems extraordinarily unlikely,” Schoener wrote. Putting him back in a pastoral or counseling role, he said, would be “very risky.”

But that is what the archdiocese did, after sending LaVan to a seven-month inpatient treatment program at the St. Luke Institute in Maryland….

Priest Diagnosed with Sexuality Disorder in 1989 Continued in Ministry until 2013
08/11/2014  Megan Matthews

A file publicly released Monday, accuses the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis of ignoring the fact that a priest, Father Kenneth LaVan, was accused of inappropriate behavior multiple times. He continued in ministry until 2013.

The files, released by Jeff Anderson and Associates, say LaVan was first accused of inappropriate sexual behavior in the 1980s. He was sent for treatment twice and was diagnosed with compulsive sexuality disorder in 1989.

According to Anderson, LaVan’s history was reviewed in 1995, and despite the allegations and a lawsuit, the Clergy Review Board recommended LaVan continue in ministry. It wasn’t until December 2013, when Kinsale Management reviewed LaVan’s files, that he was removed from ministry. LaVan’s name was not part of the original list of credibly accused priests released by the Archdiocese last December; however, LaVan’s name was later added.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement Monday saying it made public that there were “substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor against Kenneth LaVan” in February 2014. A month later it released a statement saying LaVan was removed from ministry in 1989 to undergo treatment. He was only allowed to return to parish ministry at St. Joseph in Lino Lakes with monitoring, after he finished treatment….

Priest File of Father Kenneth LaVan
Aug 11 2014

Father Kenneth LaVan, removed from ministry in December 2013, is a serial predator whom the Archdiocese continually disregarded as being a threat to women and children.

Allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior were made in the 1980s and twice LaVan was sent for treatment. A lawsuit involving one of LaVan’s victims was settled in 1985 and by 1989 LaVan was diagnosed with a compulsive sexuality disorder. In 1995 the Clergy Review Board examined LaVan’s history and recommended he continue in ministry. Archbishop Flynn was informed in 2005 that LaVan was not part of the monitoring system and Flynn advised Father Kevin McDonough to leave the situation alone. Finally, after a review of Church files by Kinsale Management LaVan’s faculties were removed in December 2013….

Fr. Kenneth LaVan
The secret personnel file of Kenneth LaVan shows a pernicious “blind spot” among Catholic officials at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: the stunning and heartless minimization of the sexual abuse of girls and women. This disregard for female victims cuts across the entire chancery staff, including Archbishop Flynn, who openly questioned the credibility of multiple female victims and decided they were not covered under the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Even more shocking is that LaVan’s file is littered with allegations of violence dating back to the 1980s. Women and girls came forward and told how LaVan sexually abused them — including the forcible rape of a teen, sexualized kissing of children, and threats of arson and murder. Despite all of this — as well as two stints in treatment and two lawsuits — LaVan was not included in any Archdiocese list of accused priests until January 2014, more than 25 years after the Archdiocese knew he was a violent threat. LaVan’s predatory behavior first came to light in the 1980s when one of his victims — who was a teenage girl at the time of the abuse — came forward with a lawsuit.  After the suit settled in 1985, LaVan faced another allegation of sexual contact with a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi in Lake St. Croix Beach.

In an interview, the woman told Bishop Carlson that LaVan boasted about his sexual exploits with  numerous women….

Despite all of this information, the Clergy Review Board determined in 1995 that LaVan could remain in a parish, as long as he was under supervision. By 2002, at least two more female victims had come forward — a child and an adult. The adult was a patient under psychiatric care at the time of the abuse….

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