by Dennis Dalman
Although Patrick Marker has received an apology from the headmaster of St. John’s Prep School, he is disgusted the apology did not contain any mention of the “lies” that were told to Marker and others about the day he was removed from a Prep School reunion.
Marker, 48, is a 1983 graduate of the Prep School. In 1991, he claimed he had been sexually abused when he was a student by Fr. Dunstan Moorse. Those charges were denied, but in 1992 Marker and St. John’s Abbey reached a legal agreement.
Since then, Marker has become a widely known victims’ advocate, especially as that relates to abuse by clergy. His website, entitled Beyond the Pine Curtain, details the history of abuse by clergy and allegations against clergy, many of them current or former residents of St. John’s Abbey.
Marker now lives in Mt. Vernon, Wash. He is a stay-at-home dad, the father of two children and works from home as an Internet consultant.
On April 4, 2013, he received an invitation in the mail to attend the 30-year reunion of his St. John’s Prep School class. Marker flew to Minnesota to attend the event, eager to socialize with classmates he hadn’t seen in years.
On Friday, June 28 he got together with some of his classmates at one of their homes in St. Paul. The next morning, they drove to the St. John’s Prep School and registered for the event at 10:40 a.m. He paid $20 for the lunch.
While enjoying lunch under a large outdoor tent shortly after noon, a school official stepped up to the table where Marker was having lunch and chatting happily with classmates. The man, a member of the school’s “Life Safety” security unit, asked Marker if he could step outside the tent for awhile so they could have a conversation.
Marker told the man whatever he had to say could be said right there and then, in front of his classmates. Finally, the man said to Marker he is trespassing and will have to leave the campus. Marker told the man he’d received a bona-fide invitation and had paid for his lunch. The Life Safety man said he would call the sheriff’s department, which he did. Then Marker also called the sheriff’s department to request to talk to the sheriff about what was transpiring.
A sheriff’s deputy arrived and told Marker he would have to leave the campus immediately. But first, the deputy wanted Marker to step over to the parking lot as campus officials wanted Marker to sign some kind of document. Marker said he would not sign anything.
Then, a campus man walked over and told Marker there is an active restraining order against him from campus authorities. Marker told the man that was a blatant lie.
Marker agreed to leave the campus, even though he felt a sense of outrageous injustice was being perpetrated against him.
There was a problem, however. Marker had been driven to the reunion in a classmate’s car. He did not want to spoil the classmate’s lunch and fun, so he told the deputy he would walk from the campus. As he walked, the deputy followed him. At the county road, the deputy told Marker he would have to keep walking as the county road is considered campus property. So Marker continued walking toward the I-94 freeway.
By then, some of his classmates drove to pick Marker up on the freeway. He found out seven of his classmates, the ones he’d been enjoying lunch with, decided to leave the reunion and never return to the school. They were disgusted by how Marker was treated, and they said they all experienced a sense of shame and embarrassment on their friend’s behalf.
That night, many of the classmates decided to get together at a classmate’s home in Sartell.
A day after Marker’s expulsion made the news, the SJU Prep School responded publicly with a terse two-sentence statement. “St. John’s Prep responded to a history of hostility in asking an alumnus (Marker) to leave our private event. We felt it was in the best interests of our guests to ask this person to leave so others could enjoy the reunion.”
The charge of “hostility” is ludicrous, Marker told the Newsleader. He said not once did he bring up the subject of clergy abuse the night before the event or during the luncheon. Everyone, he said, was having a good time with no trace of hostility from him or any of the classmates. Any hostility, he said, came from the Life Safety official, not from the reunion revelers.
“I had no intention of bringing up the subject of clergy abuse,” Marker said. “I went there to have a good time with classmates.”
The actions by campus officials, he said, had one purpose and one purpose only, in his opinion.
“They wanted to embarrass, humiliate and discredit me in the eyes of my classmates,” Marker said. “They knew I was coming. They knew they’d sent me an invitation. They planned beforehand to do that to me.”
Marker wrote a letter and sent copies to SJU President Michael Hemesath and to St. John’s Abbey Abbot John Klassen. In the letter, Marker specifies which “lies” the campus should confess to and apologize for. Among the lies, Marker claims, are the active restraining order against him, the claim Marker had received a notice weeks before about not being allowed to come to the reunion and examples of the so-called “history of hostility.” In the letter, Marker also asks SJU officials to apologize to his classmates for ruining their reunion.
For more about Marker and his expulsion from campus, including deputy dispatcher transcripts, see Marker’s website at www.behindthepinecurtain.com.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.