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More alleged abuse cases surface at Shattuck-St. Mary's School

10-10-2012 Minnesota:

FARIBAULT, Minn. - A day after prosecutors charged a drama teacher with sexually assaulting several boys, there are allegations two more teachers may have been involved in sexual misconduct with students at Shattuck St. Mary's School.

Fairbault Police say 34-year-old teacher Leonard Jones killed himself in 2008 after Shattuck-St. Mary's school officials confronted him about an alleged sexual relationship with an underage female foreign exchange student.

Only after the suicide did the school tell police about allegations of a sexual relationship involving a teacher and student.

"It's hard for us to do our job when instances like that don't get reported," said Captain Neal Pederson with the Faribault Police Department.

Pederson believes the outcome may have been different if police would have been contacted earlier.

"If we had been present, he would not have been allowed to go back in to his house unescorted by himself and able to shoot himself," he said.

Pederson tells KARE 11 that Jones told school officials he had to get his jacket from his home. He then apparently walked back into his house where he shot himself.

Shattuck-St. Mary's officials claim they did everything they could.

"After assessing the allegation, school officials immediately put in place a plan to remove this individual from the school so that an investigation could be conducted and appropriate notifications made. The suicide occurred that evening while that plan was being carried out," said Shattuck spokesperson Jon Austin in an email.

Austin added that the school notified parents and students after the incident.

That said, police believe they could have done more.

"They had ample time to call us and notify us to be there," said Pederson.

Also Tuesday, another apparent victim came forward claiming to have been sexually assaulted by a third former Shattuck staffer back in the 1980's.

Police interviewed that person Tuesday and say they are investigating.

Shattuck-St. Mary's insists it was unaware of the allegations.

"But we encourage anyone who believes they may have information regarding such matters, from any period of time, to come forward," said Austin.

"It suggests that there may be real confusion at the school at best," said attorney Gregg Meyers about what the school believes it should report.

Meyers says his law firm, Jeff Anderson and Associates, has been in contact with the most recent alleged victim as well as three other apparent victims of former Shattuck St. Mary's drama teacher Lynn Seibel.

Seibel is accused of sexually molesting at least six students from 1996 to 2003 during so-called "group sessions" where he showed pornography, taught male students how to masturbate and measured their genitals. He was only fired after school officials found child porn on his computer in 2003.

While school officials say they reported the allegations involving Seibel to police, which is mandated by law, police claim they were not notified.

Meyers believes it raises serious questions about whether the school was more worried about its reputation than the safety of its students, something the school denies.

"Instead of acting in the manner that protects children they react in the protective manner to try to keep it quiet," said Meyers.

Pederson said it is too early to know if charges could be filed against any Shattuck-St. Mary's school officials for not reporting past misconduct allegations, but he added police are looking into it. ..Source.. by Jay Olstad

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