Victim’s Memories of Fr. Tom Andert

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During his junior year (1993-1994) at St. John’s Preparatory School in Collegeville, MN, [Victim] was dealing with issues at home, issues typical of a boarding school student, and the pressures of being a third generation Johnnie. In addition to these pressures, [Victim] was struggling with his sexuality and how to tell his parents that he was gay.

In early February of 1994, [Victim] was looking forward to a visit from his father. It was a long weekend and [Victim’s] father was planning to visit from [Home State]. On Friday, February 11th, [Victim’s] father called to say that something had come up and he would not be coming to Collegeville after all.

This bad news, combined with all of the pressures [Victim] was feeling, sent [Victim] into a tailspin. Hours later, [Victim] attempted suicide by overdosing.

[Victim] remembers being placed on a stretcher, almost falling off the stretcher and the feel of the snow that was falling outside. He remembers that Father Tom Andert, the school’s headmaster and classmate of [Victim’s] father at the Prep School in the early 60s, accompanied [Victim] to the hospital in the front seat of the ambulance.

When [Victim] woke up in the ER later that evening, he remembers that Br. Jim Phillips and Father Tom Andert were in the room.

Prior to the this day, [Victim] remembers Father Tom Andert as a teacher (theology class) who would often join the students at a table in the refectory (University dining hall) or take several student to the La Playette Bar in nearby St. Joseph, MN.

Following the Victims suicide attempt, Father Tom Andert’s inappropriate behavior crossed many boundaries. Over a six month period in 1994, Andert:

o Served the student alcohol (scotch) in Andert’s office at the Prep School.
o Took the student to Minneapolis. The trip included the symphony, dinner and pointing out two Twin Cities gay bars.
o Arranged for the student to get out of class so that they could visit in office and go for walks.
o Changed the student’s grades.
o Gave and received back rubs
o Held the student’s hand in public
o Rubbed the student’s leg while driving
o Cuddled with the student
o Kissed the student on the forehead and cheek
o Mentioned “other students” with whom the student “had things in common”
o Gave long hugs
o Commented on tight asses of other males, (with student’s parents).
o Put hand on student’s chest for an extended period of time
o Frequently commented on the “tight asses” of other males.
o Used the Abbot’s car and his corporate card to entertain [Victim]

” During the same six months, Father Tom Andert sent several letters to the student. Letters include the following statements by Father Tom Andert:

o “let me assure you fully + firmly of my unconditional love for you. I want to be the ‘gas in your tank’ so you can be ‘the driver of your car’.”

o “I’ve been thinking lots about you today – all warm + caring thoughts!”

o “I sure love you very very much”

o “Hey – don’t forget my request! I want a picture of you!”

o “I really love you lots! Thanks so much for being who you are – a great friend and a super person”

o “I am 100% absolutely certain you will probably not need my phone # over the next four or five days. But actually, it kinda’ makes me feel good having you know where I am anyway! I’m going to miss you for a few days!!”

o “Maybe next Thursday when I’m back in the office we can talk for a while in the afternoon – since Easter vacation will be another week without seeing you.”

According to [Victim], family friends were the first to alert the Abbot Timothy Kelly of Andert’s inappropriate relationship. [Victim] believes that the family friends spoke to Abbot Kelly, then [Victim’s] parents spoke to the Abbot Kelly, then [Victim] spoke to the Abbot Kelly.

Father Tom Andert left the Prep School after the 1993-1994 school year. He was replaced by Mark Thamert. [Victim] says that Fr. Ian Dommer knew about the relationship. Fr. Ian Dommer was the Academic Dean until he left the Prep School following the 1993-1994 school year.

[Victim] was told explicitly by Abbot Timothy Kelly not to communicate with Fr Tom Andert. [Victim] was worried that he had ruined Andert’s life and was feeling a lot of guilt for what he had done.

[Victim] mentioned on two occasions that he did not know where to direct his anger.

[Victim] entered counseling in 2002.

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Topics: Ian Dommer, Jim Phillips, Mark Thamert, St. John's Prep, Timothy Kelly, Tom Andert

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