Judge Considering Monk's 5th Amendment Request

By David Unze
The St. Cloud Times
January 12, 2014

A Stearns County judge has taken under advisement a request by a St. John’s Abbey monk who wants to retroactively plead the Fifth Amendment to questions he already has answered in a deposition.

Attorneys for the Rev. Allen Tarlton asked Stearns County District Court Judge Vicki Landwehr to allow Tarlton to change numerous answers he gave in a deposition last year after Tarlton was sued by a Sauk Rapids man.

The lawsuit accuses Tarlton of abusing the man in 1977 when he was 14.

Tarlton answered about half of the questions from the man’s attorneys in a deposition while seeking Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination on numerous other questions. At a hearing Thursday in St. Cloud, Tarlton’s lawyers asked Landwehr for permission to change all of Tarlton’s answers to reflect him seeking Fifth Amendment protection.

Tarlton claimed that the answers he gave during the deposition weren’t based on the thoughts he had in his mind at the time, according to court filings. Previously, Tarlton’s attorneys had argued that Tarlton was not mentally or physically fit to be deposed and asked Landwehr to block the deposition.

Landwehr ordered that his deposition be taken.

St. John’s Abbey in April 2002 named Tarlton among more than a dozen abbey priests who faced restrictions on their movements and work activities because of allegations of sexual abuse. In court depositions for previous lawsuits, Tarlton has admitted he sexually abused students.


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