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In April Fr. Simon Baker, OSB, the chaplain of Benedictine College, self-disclosed to St. Benedict’s Abbey leadership that he had engaged in inappropriate conduct with an adult, female student at the College. Following his disclosure, the Abbey convened its internal review board to investigate. The review board determined that Fr. Simon displayed inappropriate affection and favoritism toward the woman. The board recommended that certain boundaries be placed on Fr. Simon, and that counseling and support be offered to the female involved.
This week, immediately after the Abbey learned that Fr. Simon was not complying with these boundaries, he was removed from ministry. Since his removal, the College has received additional reports that Fr. Simon crossed physical and emotional boundaries in pastoral relationships with other adult women. At this point these reports do not involve a minor or any alleged criminal behavior. Benedictine College and St. Benedict’s Abbey are commencing a third-party investigation of these reports. Fr. Simon is prohibited from being present on campus pending the conclusion of the investigation.
We are reaching out to all those who may be affected by these reports. If you have information about Fr. Simon pertinent to this investigation, or if you have been affected by this and would like to seek out support, please contact the victim’s advocate at 913-426-5769.
St. Benedict’s Abbey and Benedictine College remain committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for all people who interact with our clergy or religious and are involved in our ministries. We apologize to all those who have been affected by Fr. Simon’s inappropriate behavior.
St. Benedict’s Abbey and Benedictine College will issue a supplemental statement following the conclusion of the investigation.
Please direct all press inquiries to St. Benedict’s Abbey Office of Communications: 913.360.7888.