Leader at St. John's Abbey will 'step back' during sexual misconduct investigation

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A leading figure at St. John's Abbey is stepping back from his job after claims of sexual misconduct.

MPR reports Rev. Tom Andert, the Collegeville abbey's prior, was asked "to step back from public ministry and from his work" while the new claims against him were investigated, according to abbey spokesperson Aelred Senna.

The claims involve a former St. John's Preparatory School student, who wrote a letter in the past month accusing Andert of sexual misconduct that he says took place three decades ago, KSTP reports.

According to the Star Tribune, the former student was offered support for counseling and referred to an advocate.

Andert, according to the abbey's leadership page, is in charge of day-to-day operations of the monastery, and is the monk-in-charge when the head abbot is not present.

He was headmaster at St. John's Preparatory School from 1988-1994, according to its website. He was also president of Benilde-St. Margaret's High School the seven years prior to that.

According to an archived St. Cloud Times article, provided on the bishop-accountability.org website, Andert was investigated in 1994 after "concerns were expressed" about his relationship with a student. The internal investigation ended when that student in question denied any sexual misconduct had happened.

Regarding the current investigation, MPR asked the abbey about mandatory reporting. The spokesperson said this accusation didn't apply because it happened 30 years ago and was reported by an adult. The former student also asked for strict confidentiality, the spokesperson told the news service.

Stearns County authorities haven't received a report regarding Andert, the Star Tribune says.

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