I have written a couple of times about statements that have been made by St. John’s Abbot John Klassen. Through out most of the responses has been the ongoing mantra that :
- All the names have been disclosed
- No one accused is still active
- All of the accusations are old
This past week, Rev. Thomas Andert was removed as Prior at St. John’s Abbey. As second in charge behind the Abbot his job was described on the Abbey website as:
Father Prior Tom Andert OSB is entrusted with the general monastic oversight of Saint Raphael Hall. The director is assisted by an advisory committee of the abbey, and several monks, including Abbot John, take turns celebrating Mass in the chapel.
Will the investigation into this removal stand up to the mantra? Only if the Abbey can show there were no prior credible allegations. Keep in mind what was found in the Archdioceses files:
Could the Abbey have know more about Andert??
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.
Andert was removed according to the abbey after a letter alleged sexual misconduct by Father Tom Andert, but had “very few details”. Now they could claim that they are just more alert to reports. I wonder if the Child Victims Act had something to do with that?
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.