Abbey Uses Tarlton Obituary to Rewrite History


Father Allen Tarlton died on Monday.

Father Allen Tarlton was a fantastic English teacher.  Students in the 80’s and 90’s remember him as “Huggy Bear.” An earlier generation called him “Smokie.”

Father Allen Tarlton was also a monster… a sexual predator. Files released as part of a settlement with one of his victim’s described decades of sexual abuse.

In writing Father Tarlton’s obituary [ View ] Saint John’s Abbey took the opportunity to rewrite history and discredit those St. John’s Preparatory School students in the 1950’s who were brave enough to come forward to report sexual abuse by the recently ordained priest.

This has happened before. [ View ]

The abbey’s version, as written in Father Tarlton’s obituary:

Father Allen taught English at Saint John’s Preparatory School (1953-1957) and then served as an English Instructor at Saint John’s University (1957-1962). In 1962 he was assigned to Saint John’s foundation in the Bahamas where he taught English for two years at Saint Augustine’s College.


In the last twenty-five years of his life he faced several allegations of sexual abuse and, as a result, lived with restrictions on his activities.

The leadership at Saint John’s Abbey is fully aware that Father Tarlton faced allegations for almost sixty years.

Father Tarlton’s own writings [ View ], released as part of a settlement with one of his victims last year, back up this claim:

From 1955 until about 1964 I acted out sexually with about ten college students in the college dorms. The acting out usually involved going into a student’s room while he was sleeping and fondling his genitals. However, on one occasion I gave a sleeping pill to a student and then masturbated him while he slept. On another occasion I allowed a student to take a shower in my room and then masturbated him on my bed. Three times I was reported to my superiors; once to the subprior, who asked me if I was guilty and I said yes. He thanked me for admitting it and gave me a little talk. Two of the students reported me to the abbot, with the result that I was removed from the dormitory as a prefect, but continued teaching; by this time I was teaching in the college.

As he has with several other monks and St. John’s community members, Abbot John Klassen knowingly participated [ View ] in the deception surrounding Father Allen Tarlton history of sexual abuse and misconduct.

It is a shame that, provided with overwhelming evidence, that Abbot Klassen and the St. John’s monastic community continue to deceive the public in this obituary.

More importantly, in their deception the abbey missed opportunity to validate the claims of Father Tarlton’s early victims.


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Topics: Allen Tarlton, John Klassen

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