Today, Rev. Thomas Andert was removed as Prior at St. John’s Abbey , according to a statement from the Abbey spokesperson:
We asked Father Andert to step back from public ministry and from his work until an investigation is completed
- Andert, who was ordained in 1975.
- President of Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park from 1981 to 1987
- Was associate pastor at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in St. Louis Park.
- He was headmaster of St. John’s Preparatory School from 1988 to 1994.
- He also served as the academic advising director for St. John’s University
The decision to remove Andert as the prior of the monastery came in response to a letter sent earlier this month from a former student at Saint John’s Preparatory School,
Former monk Richard Sipe, chairman of the abbey’s Interfaith Sex and Trauma Institute in 1995 and 1996, said that a student reported to him at the time that Andert was sexually abusing him. Sipes said he reported it to then-Abbott Timothy Kelley, “who dismissed it.’’
Sipe, who has been a consultant or expert witness on more than 200 cases of sex abuse against minors, said he was baffled as to why the abbey was removing Andert at this time. The abbey has had “well documented” evidence about the abuse of the other student for years, including letters from Andert to the young man.
That young man committed suicide in December, he said.
There are many questions here including:
What did they know?
When did they know it?
Why did they act now?
It is important that the message keep getting out and that those who give voice to disclosure continue to be supported and representatives of the Church truly practice a policy of zero tolerance. Secrecy and nondisclosure is what this festering scab does not need.Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.