(SC Times) Allegations of sexual abuse against the former prior of St. John’s Abbey have been found to be unsubstantiated, according to Abbot John Klassen.
The allegations were made by a former St. John’s Prep student in July and accused the Rev. Thomas Andert of abusing the student in 1979-80. The abbey retained independent counsel to investigate the allegations and, after a six-month investigation, it concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated.
The investigation included “a complete review of the contemporary records and documents” and involved obtaining testimony from the accuser’s former classmates and St. John’s Prep faculty, staff and residence hall prefects as well as other campus officials at the time the incidents are alleged to have happened, according to Klassen.
When the allegations were made, Klassen asked Andert to step back from public ministry and from his work as abbey prior, which Andert did.
“The investigation did not find any support for the claimant’s allegations that he was sexually abused by Fr. Andert,” Klassen said in a statement.
The investigator’s findings and the accusations were submitted to the abbey’s External Review Board, which “recommended that the claimant’s allegations were not substantiated by the facts,” according to Klassen.
Klassen concurred with the review board’s recommendation and fully restored Andert to ministry.
Andert voluntarily chose to resign from his position as prior after the review board presented its findings to Klassen. Klassen accepted his resignation and granted Andert a sabbatical that he is taking at St. John’s.
The same accuser brought allegations against the Rev. Allen Tarlton. Those allegations were also found to be unsubstantiated, according to Klassen. Tarlton recently died.
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Klassen: Allegation against Andert is unsubstantiated
St. Cloud Times
February 8, 2016