St. John's Abbey Restricts 14th Monk

Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 7, 2002

St. John's Abbey officials have confirmed that a 14th member has been put on restrictions after being accused of sexual misconduct.

An abbey spokesman, the Rev. William Skudlarek, wouldn't identify the monk or the accusations against him Thursday, but did say he recently was restricted in where he can go and what he can do at the abbey.

In April, Abbot John Klassen revealed that 13 monks or priests at St. John's face restrictions because of alleged sexual misconduct. Eleven of them have admitted sexual misconduct.

The number represents about 7 percent of the 196 monks and priests affiliated with the monastery.

Restrictions vary for the men, but they include keeping them off the grounds of St. John's University and St. John's Preparatory School. Klassen had said the alleged victims were mostly boys ranging in age from 12 to 17, in incidents that took place in the 1970s.

The abbey has publicly named nine of the clergy members on restrictions: Cosmos Dahlheimer, Richard Eckroth, Finian McDonald, Brennan Maiers, Dunstan Moorse, Allen Tarlton, Fran Hoefgen, John Kelly and John Eidenschink.

Skudlarek would not say whether one of the restricted monks is Andre Bennett, who was accused publicly for the first time Thursday by Jeff Gair, a 54-year-old alumnus of the prep school from the Twin Cities.

Gair said at a news conference in St. Cloud that Bennett abused him when he was in the infirmary with pneumonia in 1964. Gair said he doesn't plan to sue.

"How many more are there?" asked attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who called the news conference to announce lawsuits against Moorse, Tarlton, the abbey and the Benedictine order.

Skudlarek wouldn't comment on the allegations against Bennett.


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