Abuse allegations 'unsubstantiated' against former St. John's Abbey prior

St. John's Abbey Church
The St. John's Abbey Church in Collegeville, Minn.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Sexual abuse allegations against the former prior at St. John's Abbey were found to be unsupported after a 6-month investigation, Abbey officials said Thursday.

Last summer, a former student at St. John's Preparatory School alleged sexual abuse by Rev. Thomas Andert sometime between 1979 and 1980.

Andert stepped aside while the allegations were investigated.

An independent investigator reviewed "contemporary records and documents. He also obtained testimony from the claimant's former classmates and SJP faculty, staff and residence hall prefects as well as other campus officials at the time the incidents are alleged to have occurred," Abbey officials said.

According to a statement, "the investigation did not find any support for the claimant's allegations that he was sexually abused by Fr. Andert."

The Abbey's external review board reexamined case and reached the conclusion that the allegations were "not substantiated by the facts," the statement said, adding that St. John's Abbot John Klassen agreed with the conclusion.

Andert resigned his position as prior and was granted a sabbatical, which he'll spend at St. John's.

Also Thursday, St. John's officials said allegations brought by the same student against Rev. Allen Tarlton were found to be unsubstantiated.

Tarlton, a monk at the Abbey, died last month, the statement said.

Gain a Better Understanding of Today

MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.