Press Release: New sexual abuse lawsuit filed against St. John’s Prep

News Release
July 19, 2012

New sexual abuse lawsuit filed against St. John’s Prep

Former student claims the School and St. John’s Abbey allowed known offender to mentor and abuse him in 1980’s

Father Gilbert Tarlton had long history of sexual misconduct

 (St. Paul) A former student who attended the prominent St. John’s Preparatory in Collegeville, Minnesota, has filed a lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused by a mentoring priest in the early 1980’s and that the school and it’s superiors were negligent and could have prevented the sexual abuse.

The plaintiff, identified in the complaint as John Doe LP and now an adult, states that as a boarding student at St. John’s he was having trouble adjusting to living away from home and fitting in socially at St. John’s.  However, when Father Gilbert Tarlton offered counseling, it was unknown to Doe LP that that school officials and the priest’s religious order were aware of sexual misconduct allegations against Father Tarlton from as early as the 1960’s.

As evidence of this knowledge the complaint states St. John’s Abbey official Abbott Jerome Theisen had testified in a deposition that as early as 1979, he was aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by Father Tarlton. In spite of this knowledge the priest was allowed to have unsupervised contact with John Doe LP and subsequently sexually abused him during counseling sessions in 1981.

The complaint, filed today in Stearns County, brings two counts of fraudulent behavior against the school, St. John’s Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict for the failure to warn John Doe LP and other students of the priest’s history of sexual misconduct.

A copy of the complaint is available at:

Contact:  Jeff Anderson   Office 651,227.9990  Cell  612.817.8665
Contact:  Patrick Noaker Office 651.227.9990