Plaintiff in clergy abuse lawsuit goes public

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ST. PAUL — A Minnesota man who sued St. John’s Abbey over alleged sex abuse came forward Tuesday and urged others who have been abused to tell people what happened.

Troy Bramlage, 52, reached a settlement with St. John’s that will force the release of personnel files for 19 monks accused of sexually abusing minors. The lawsuit had been set to go to trial next Monday.

Bramlage said he was abused by the Rev. Allen Tarlton when he was a 14-year-old freshman at its prep school in 1977. The lawsuit said St. John’s leadership repeatedly sent Tarlton for treatment but allowed him to continue working at the prep school.

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The Associated Press typically does not identify possible victims of sexual abuse. However, Bramlage decided to come forward publicly and held a news conference with his attorney Tuesday.

“This is a good time and a scary time for me,” Bramlage said in a press release.

Bramlage, who initially filed his lawsuit as “Doe 2,” encouraged other abuse victims to get help.

Victims need to know that “the guilt and the shame that we feel does not belong to us,” Bramlage said, adding that abuse harms entire families, not just the people who were abused.

He also said he hopes the release of the files will help others learn more about the men who harmed them.

“There are a lot of people who are going to be able to get healthy because of it,” Bramlage said.

Bramlage’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, said at the news conference that the agreement includes a financial settlement for an undisclosed amount. The abbey also agreed to apologize to Bramlage, Anderson said.

The abbey said it reached the agreement “to achieve some measure of reconciliation.” Tarlton’s attorney has said Tarlton, now 87 and under 24-hour-a-day medical care at the abbey, has never admitted abusing Bramlage.