Shattuck-St. Mary's 'discouragingly similar to cases like Penn State,' attorney says

Lynn Seibel and Leonard Jones allegedly had inappropriate relationships with Shattuck-St. Mary's students.
Lynn Seibel and Leonard Jones allegedly had inappropriate relationships with Shattuck-St. Mary's students.

Shattuck-St. Mary's School is increasingly coming under fire by authorities for the way it handled a series of inappropriate student-teacher relationships.

On Monday, former drama teacher Lynn Seibel, 70, was charged with sexual misconduct while employed by the school for allegedly encouraging male students to measure their genitals and participate in circle jerks.

Then yesterday, police revealed another sex case involving the school. Leonard Jones committed suicide in 2008 after being confronted with allegations about a three-year relationship with a teenage foreign-national student.

Now police are asking if the school did enough to protect its students.

"From our standpoint, it's another example of what's happened at that school," says Faribault Police Captain Neal Pederson. "They were aware of the incidents involving Mr. Seibel and we're interested if any policies were changed. What did the school do to change things? And then six years later, this happens again."

Seibel was dismissed by the school in 2003 after child pornography was discovered on his work computer. The school did not report the incident to the police, but it issued a statement yesterday saying that it did report a student's 2001 allegations of Seibel's sexual misconduct to the Department of Social Services as well as the Faribault Police.

Shattuck-St. Mary's said its own investigation did not corroborate the allegation, and that neither social services nor the police acted on the school's disclosures.

After the Jones incident came to light yesterday, attorney Gregg Myers of Jeff Anderson & Associates, a law firm known for litigating sexual abuse cases, said that an individual notified the firm about alleged sexual abuse by another Shattuck-St. Mary's teacher in the 1980s.

"Our understanding is that this incident from the '80s was reported to the school in the '90s," Myers said. "It's discouragingly similar to cases like Penn State or Porter-Gaud [in South Carolina], where the situation isn't handled correctly and people go on to have healthy careers as pedophiles that they should not have."

Shattuck-St. Mary's did not respond to a request for comment.

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