ST. CLOUD  (AP) - A spokesman for St. John's Abbey says he can't address the central claim in a new lawsuit accusing abbey officials of allowing a member to continue teaching long after he was accused of sexual abuse.

Brother Aelred Senna says the claim must be investigated.

The lawsuit in Stearns County comes from a former St. John's Prep student who claims abuse by the Rev. Allen Tarlton in the 1980s.

The lawsuit alleges at least three abbots knew of allegations against Tarlton but put him in teaching roles at St. John's Prep and at other locations in other states and the Bahamas.

Senna said Friday that Tarlton is now 84 and has been out of active ministry since 1992. Senna says Tarlton has had no contact with minors since then.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press)