Cosmas Dahlheimer: Substantiated Claims of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Cosmas Dahlheimer

On May 19, 2014, the priest file of Father Cosmas Dahlheimer was publicly released. Dahlheimer is one of 17 credibly accused clerics from St. John’s Abbey.

Father Cosmas Dahlheimer, OSB (a/k/a Cosmos) was born in St. Michael, Minnesota, on November 20, 1908. Father Dahlheimer professed vows as a Benedictine monk at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, on July 11, 1930. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest on June 6, 1936 and served in a dozen assignments from 1936-1987, including as a teacher, novice master, associate pastor, and pastor.

Father Cosmas Dahlheimer worked in various parishes throughout Minnesota and is included on official lists of clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse from three dioceses and one religious order. According to the Saint John’s Abbey list (released 12/19/2013), the Diocese of St. Cloud list (released 1/03/2014), and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis list (released 2/17/2014), Father Dahlheimer was assigned to the following parishes:

  • 1936-1969: St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN
  • 1969-1973: Associate priest, St. Augustine, St. Cloud, MN
  • 1973-1978: Associate priest, St. Bernard, St. Paul, MN
  • 1978-2004: St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN

In 1963, Father Dahlheimer was first sent for psychological treatment, including shock therapy. Father Dahlheimer had doubts that he would return to priestly ministry. However, Abbot Baldwin Dworshack sent Dahlheimer to serve at Saint Augustine’s Parish in the Diocese of St. Cloud, where he sexually abused a minor. Abbot John Eidenshenk then reassigned Father Dahlheimer to Saint Bernard’s Parish and School in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. At Saint Bernard’s Father Dahlheimer sexually abused at least three minors.

In 1987, Abbot Jerome Theisen learned that Father Dahlheimer abused at least two minors. Between 1990 and 1994, several civil lawsuits were filed naming Father Dahlheimer as a sexual abuser of minor children. No public restrictions were implemented on him at Saint John’s.

In 2002, Abbot John Klassen announced that eight monks who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse were living at Saint John’s; Father Dahlheimer was one of those listed. Father Dahlheimer continued to live at St. John’s Abbey under restrictions until his death in 2004.

Ministerial Status: Died in 2004.