MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Secret abuse files kept hidden inside a Minnesota monastery are coming to light.

As part of a new legal settlement, The Rev. Allen Tarlton had to admit he sexually assaulted Troy Bramlage at St. John’s Preparatory School in the 1970s.

When that abuse happened, the files show the abbey knew about earlier accusations against the monk.

Tuesday’s agreement means St. John’s will now release the full files on 19 monks accused of abuse.

Clutching his freshman picture from St. John’s prep, Bramlage said for years he kept secret what Tarlton had done to him.

“There is a lot of guilt and shame that goes along with what happened,” he said. “It’s difficult for people to come forward.”

Tarlton’s file shows the abbey knew there were at least a half dozen victims at the prep school and the college in the years before Bramlage was assaulted.

For more than 30 years, Bramlage thought he was the only victim until he heard attorney Jeff Anderson mention Tarlton on the radio.

“People got molested after me,” Bramlage said.

Anderson says Tarlton, who is now in his eighties, is one of nine accused monks still living at the abbey under restrictions.

As part of the settlement, Anderson said Tarlton had to admit what happened and apologize to Bramlage.

This is what Tarlton had to say in a 2013 deposition after Anderson asked him if he ever had sexual contact with a student.

“I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may incriminate me,” he said.

Bramlage says he hopes his case helps others.

“There are a lot of guys out there who are suffering, that are ashamed, and too guilty to step up,” he said. “Come forward, take your life back.”

There is a monetary settlement in the case that is not being disclosed.

While nine accused monks are still at the abbey, 10 others have died.

St. John’s is not commenting on the settlement, but it did say in a statement that the abbey will continue to address the wrongs that were done in the past.

For more on the settlement, go to Jeff Anderson & Associates.

Esme Murphy

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