MINNEAPOLIS -- Two men who say they were sexually abused by priests when they were students at St. John's Preparatory School in the 1980s filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing the abbey and order that run the school of fraud and deceit.
The lawsuit names St. John's Abbey and Order of St. Benedict. It also names two priests from the order -- the Rev. Dunstan Moorse and the Rev. Allen Tarlton -- who were already among 13 priests or monks living under restrictions at the abbey because they've been accused of sexual abuse or misconduct.
The lawsuit accuses Moorse of abusing Bill Quenroe in 1981 and a plaintiff identified only as "John Doe 43" in 1985, and threatening him if he disclosed the abuse to anyone. It also accuses Tarlton of abusing and threatening John Doe 43 in 1985.
And it accuses St. John's and the Benedictines of failing to stop men they knew or should have known were a threat to children.
"As long as there's a cloak of secrecy, more kids are going to be abused and grow up and live the kinds of lives we've led," said Quenroe, who now lives in Minneapolis.
Quenroe said being abused has affected almost every aspect of his life, including a failed marriage and hospitalization for a breakdown.
The plaintiffs' attorney is Jeffrey Anderson, a St. Paul lawyer who has represented around 500 people who say they were abused by clergy, including a dozen people who claimed abuse at St. John's. He said the latest lawsuit draws heavily on information developed from his other cases.
The abbey's spokesman, the Rev. William Skudlarek, said its reaction was "one of great sadness and remorse because of the harm to people. ... Our primary concern is for the well-being and healing of those who have been harmed."
Skudlarek said there have been no allegations of any abuse happening at St. John's since the early 1990s.
Neither of the accused priests still teaches. Tarlton did not return a phone call seeking comment; a man who answered Moorse's extension hung up.
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