Priest admits abuse in video, reveals alternate reason behind dismissal from Lousiville KY post
Derrick Rose, @WHAS11Derrick, WHAS 11 ABC
In a videotaped deposition and several documents released Tuesday, which include a letter written by Louisville native Father Gilbert "Allen" Tarlton, the priest admits to several incidents where he engaged in sexual misconduct with students or children in his care.
The documents and video were made public as part of a settlement between Tarlton, St. John's Abbey and lawyers representing the victim known in court records as "John Doe 2." The case had been scheduled to go to trial May 4.
When asked if he touched the genitals of prep students at St. John's, Tarlton replied, "I did do that, yes," but could not recall how many times.
It was the first time Tarlton has been seen publicly admitting his role in the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church.
Part of the records released highlight Tarlton's time at Holy Cross. In the earlier described letter, Tarlton does not name the pastor who invited hiim to Louisville. In the letter, Tarlton does, however, admit to numerous sexual encounters with students as well as alcohol abuse before he transferred to Louisville. There is no mention of whether Tarlton revealed his past to the pastor or if there was any investigation prior to his hiring in 1973.
In the letter, Tarlton did not admit to abusing anyone during his tenure in Louisville, but conceded he was an alcoholic.
"In Louisville, the drinking got worse; at one point I was drinking a quart of scotch a day," Tarlton wrote, "I did very little work in the school, and was in an alcoholic haze must (sp.) of the day."
The tipping point, he said, came during a drunken moment in public. "I walked drunk and in a blackout into the parish hall during a bingo game and caused quite a disturbance evidently, but I had no remembrance of it."
He said the pastor contacted the abbot and asked Tarlton be brought back. Tarlton had not yet reached a year at Holy Cross.
"It was damn hard writing these lines, and I sure as hell don't relish the thought of going through all of this in front of a group of people. But I think they'll understand. Don't you?" the letter concluded.
The case was sparked in 2013 by Troy Bramlage, who publicly disclosed his identity as "John Doe 2" and accused Tarlton of abuse in when Bramlage was a high school freshman in Minnesota in 1977.
Bramlage revealed his identity to encourage other victims to come forward.
"The guilt and the shame that we feel doesn't belong to us, it belongs to the people that did this to us and it really belongs to the people that hid this from us and everybody else," Bramlage said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Also as part of the settlement, Bramlage's attorneys on Tuesday revealed the identities of 18 additional priests who were deemed "likely to have offended minors," saying files detailing those priests' histories would be released in the coming months.
Statement from Archdiocese of Louisville
"Father Gilbert Tarlton, O.S.B. briefly served as a principal at Holy Cross Elementary School in the early 1970s when for a short time, Holy Cross Parish was under the care of Benedictine priests from St. Maur's Priory in Indianapolis. Neither the parish nor the Archdiocese has any records or correspondence about Fr. Tarlton from St. John's Abbey, and the Archdiocese has not received reports of abuse concerning Fr. Tarlton. Holy Cross Elementary School closed in 1973.
No child should have to experience abuse of any kind. We are committed to preventing abuse through sound education and prevention and to reaching out anyone who has been harmed by Church employees."
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.