Message from Abbot Benedict Neenan of Conception Abbey
August 5, 2019
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 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 them 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. 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 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, 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 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 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.
Fr. Vincent Barsch
Left religious life: 1973
State and Timeline: South Dakota, ca. 1955-62
Status: Deceased in 2010
Fr. Victor Heinen
State and Timeline: North Dakota, 1946
Status: Deceased in 1953
Fr. Bede Parry
Dismissed from religious life: 2002
State and Timeline: Missouri, ca. 1982-87
Status: Deceased in 2013
Fr. Edgar Probstfield
State and Timeline: Missouri, 1976-77
Status: Deceased in 2007
Fr. Regis Probstfield
State and Timeline: Missouri, 1976
Status: Deceased in 2008
Fr. Gilbert Stack
State and Timeline: South Dakota, ca. 1949-53
Status: Deceased in 2007
Fr. Hugh Tasch
State and Timeline: Missouri, 2003
Status: Deceased in 2017
Fr. Paschal Thomas
State and Timeline: Connecticut, 1993
Status: Deceased in 2015
Fr. Isaac True
State and Timeline: Missouri, 1979
Status: Removed from Ministry
List last updated April 22, 2020.