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St. John's to release files of abusive priests as part of settlement

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St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, has settled a clergy abuse case brought by a former student who alleged he was sexually assaulted by a priest in the 1970s.

The plaintiff, who was referred to in court documents as Doe 2, identified himself as Troy Bramlage at a Tuesday afternoon news conference with attorney Jeff Anderson to announce the settlement.

The trial was scheduled to begin in Stearns County on Monday.

Bramlage filed suit against St. John's and Fr. Allen Tarlton in 2013, claiming he was sexually abused repeatedly by Tarlton when he was a freshman at St. John’s Preparatory School in 1977. Tarlton was the boy's English teacher.

The suit also claims the abbey knew about allegations of abuse made against Tarlton in previous years, but did nothing to protect students, according to MPR News.

The settlement includes a requirement that St. John's Abbey release the files of 19 monks accused of sexually abusing children, and pay Bramlage an undisclosed sum of money.

“The credit for achieving this groundbreaking settlement rests with Doe 2, for having the courage to find his voice, stand up for truth and demand transparency with accountability,” said Anderson in a statement.

The names of the 18 additional monks were released two years ago. But their complete files, which contain details of abuse allegations against them, will be released in the coming months, Anderson said.

They are: Br. Andre Bennett, Fr. Michael Bik, Fr. Robert Blumeyer, Fr. Cosmas Dahlheimer, Fr. Richard Eckroth, Fr. Thomas Gillespie, Fr. Othmar Hohmann, Fr. Francis Hoefgen, Fr. Dominic Keller, Fr. John Kelly, Fr. Brennan Maiers, Fr. Finian McDonald, Fr. Dunstan Moorse, Br. Jim Phillips, Fr. Francisco Schulte, Fr. Pirmin Wendt, Fr. Bruce Wollmering, Fr. Angelo Zankl. Photos of them were released by Anderson.

MPR News reports at least a dozen other clergy abuse cases against St. John's Abbey are still pending and this settlement does not affect those cases, according to Anderson's law office.

Tarlton has been living at the abbey "under supervised safety plans" since 2012, according to Anderson's office, along with eight other clergy members who are credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Here's video of the full news conference.

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