A former teacher at a Faribault prep school was charged Monday with sexual misconduct involving six students, more than a decade after school officials confronted the first warning signs of possible misconduct.
Lynn P. Seibel, 70, who taught theater classes and served as a “dorm parent” at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, faces 17 counts alleging that he instigated so-called “AP drama” sessions that included group masturbation, other sexually explicit activities and use of pornography. He is currently being held in the Los Angeles County jail on unrelated child porn charges.
Authorities said it was unclear why Seibel’s alleged actions didn’t come to their attention sooner, given that the school investigated a sexual-abuse allegation against him in 2001 and fired him in 2003 after it found child pornography on his school computer.
The school maintains that it did tell police and county social services about the 2001 allegation, which it said was unfounded, and that it was not required to inform authorities about the pornography.
Police disputed both accounts.
“Clearly they had opportunities to notify authorities that they didn’t take advantage of,” said Faribault interim Police Chief Don Gudmundson, who was Dakota County Sheriff when the incidents occurred between 1999 and 2003. He said the material found on Seibel’s computer “was clearly child pornography [about which] anyone would acknowledge they had obligation to notify law enforcement.”
Agent Drew Evans of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said the investigation is continuing, and that it’s possible that Shattuck could be charged for not reporting the abuse of children.
School officials refused repeated requests for interviews on Monday, releasing only a written statement.
Jill Oliveira, a spokeswoman for the BCA said “investigators did not encounter any conclusive evidence,” that would support school claims they told authorities about the 2001 abuse allegations, and Gudmundson said police records showed no clear reports of sexual abuse allegations in 2001.
Gudmundson said the school sent authorities a copy of its attorney’s 2001 phone call to police, but that it had so much material redacted that it was unclear what allegedly happened.