2 Abbey Priests Leave Jobs That Involved the Public

By Pam Louwagie
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
July 10, 2002

Two St. John's Abbey priests on restriction for sexual misconduct have stepped down from abbey jobs in which they interacted with the public, an abbey official confirmed Tuesday.

The Rev. Allen Tarlton no longer directs the oblate program, working with lay associates at the abbey, and the Rev. Francis Hoefgen no longer works as guest master, greeting visitors at the Collegeville campus, said the abbey spokesman, the Rev. William Skudlarek.

"Both those positions do involve a very large amount of ministry and interaction with people," Skudlarek said. "For that reason, it just was appropriate that in line with the charter of the bishops, that they be asked to leave those two positions."

The changes come as part of the abbey's compliance with a sex-abuse policy that American Catholic bishops approved at their Dallas conference last month.

A former St. John's prep school student who settled an abuse claim with the abbey nearly 10 years ago said he and three others had planned to protest quietly at an oblate retreat later this month because Tarlton has continued to work in a public-contact position while on restrictions.

The former student, Patrick Marker, said the group will not protest but plans to continue encouraging the abbey to take appropriate action in cases of clergy abuse.

Skudlarek said Abbot John Klassen had decided to ask the priests to leave their positions before hearing about the planned demonstration.


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