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Today, the St Cloud Times reported about the statement from St John’s Abbey about the removal this week of Rev. Thomas Andert  as Prior:

 Abbey spokesman the Rev. Aelerd Senna said the Rev. Tom Andert stepped down after a former St. John’s Prep student sent a letter to the Abbey alleging sexual misconduct by Andert three decades ago.

Senna said the Abbey has followed policy by asking Andert to step down until an investigation has ceased and by directing the writer of the letter to a victim’s advocate.

Senna said the Abbey provided the letter writer contact information for the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department and advised him of his right to make a report to law enforcement.

The Minneapolis Tribune contained reports that the Abbey had been told of allegations years ago:

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 Kelly, “who dismissed it.’’

The Abbey must answer the question of what was the first complaint?    Why was nothing done with the complaints if they were earlier than the complaint this week?

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.


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