Police discover more teacher misconduct at Shattuck-St. Mary's

4:05 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Faribault Police Chief Don Gudmundson confirmed a second staffer suspected of sexual misconduct at Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school was a 34-year-old teacher who killed himself with a shotgun in 2008.

The admission comes just one day after 17 criminal charges were filed in Rice County Court against former drama teacher Lynn Speibel, accused of molesting male students.

Also Tuesday, Gregg Meyers -- an attorney who is representing alleged victims of Speibel -- said his firm received a phone call from another former Shattuck student who alleged abuse by a third Shattuck-St. Mary's staffer. Meyers says investigators are trying to track down that former staff member, who allegedly lives in St. Paul.  

Chief Gudmundson says Leonard "Len" Jones, a dorm director, teacher and lacrosse coach, had been suspected of having an affair with a teenage foreign national and student at the school, starting when she was 15 and lasting until she was 18.

The police chief said Jones committed suicide after being confronted by school officials about the relationship.

Gudmundson said that police only discovered the alleged affair during the investigation of Jones' death. He said the student confirmed the relationship to police.

The police chief earlier Tuesday declined to discuss the Jones case, which happened before he joined the department. Gudmundson said he'd been unaware of the investigation into Jones death, but discovered there was an "extensive file" on the case during the investigation of another teacher, Lynn Seibel.

Gudmundson later confirmed the allegations against Jones when asked specifically about the 2008 death by Minnesota Public Radio news.

Gudmundson said he's unaware that Shattuck St. Mary's ever raised the issue of Jones alleged misconduct with police before the teacher committed suicide.

''Using history as our guide, I don't believe that the school would have reported that to us,'' Gudmundson said. ''Except that in this case, they had a dead body.''

School spokeswoman Amy Wolf did not immediately respond to questions about the Jones incident.

Gudmundson also said that he believes the matter might have turned out differently if the school had been more forthcoming with police and reported the incident as required by law.

''They were conducting their own investigation, and that should have not happened,'' Gudmundson said. ''Once they became aware there were allegations surrounding an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student, they should have contacted the professionals, which are the police. We would have stepped in and done the investigation, and perhaps a tragic outcome...would not have happened.''

The private college preparatory school is already facing questions after a former teacher was accused of sexual misconduct with students. Lynn Seibel was charged Monday with having sexual contact with six students. He faces 17 counts of sexual misconduct in Rice County District Court.

The police chief said he was ''disappointed'' by the school's response to the allegations of misconduct by faculty involving students. ''Certainly they would appear to have if not (criminal) legal liability, they would have civil liability with these young people,'' Gudmundson said.

By: Tim Nelson, MPR News 

MPR News can be heard on 91.1 FM in the Twin Cities or online at MPRnews.org  

(Copyright 2012 by MPR News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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