MN--SNAP to Episcopalian school: Fire president now
For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 5
Statement by Frank Meuers of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952-334-5180, email@example.com)
The head of an Episcopal school in Faribault should be fired. So too should any other school board or staff who helped conceal the crimes of a now-convicted teacher.
Let’s be charitable. Let’s assume that lawyers for Shattuck-St. Mary’s school were right. Let’s assume that school president Nick Stoneman had no legal duty to report the pornography on Lynn Seibel’s computer.
Obviously, Stoneman should have called police anyway. But he refused. So more kids were likely hurt.
We’re glad Seibel in now prison. We hope that someday Stoneman will be too. Morally, there’s little difference between those who commit and those who conceal child sex crimes.
And we’re both sad and worried that Minnesota and Rhode Island kids were put in harm’s way by callous, selfish Episcopal school staffers.
Court documents paint a disturbing picture of how Episcopal officials shielded Lynn Seibel.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that Stoneman “agreed to pay a teacher who had child pornography on his work computer $12,500 as part of a confidential separation agreement in 2003,” “didn't report the illegal images to police,” and “agreed to pay for temporary health insurance for the teacher, provide free tuition for his son and keep the reason for the resignation secret.”
After leaving Minnesota, Seibel’s resume says he worked at the Community College of Rhode Island (starting in 2010), founded the Lancaster Actors Studio in Providence (2009), directed acting at the International Talent Showcase in Providence (from 2005-2009), was an acting instructor at the Rhode Island Modeling Agency in East Providence (from 2005-2009) and was in marketing and sales at Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence (2005-2008). http://www.lynnseibel.com/media/LynnSeibelProfessionalResume.pdf
That’s a lot of time to be around – and potentially assault – a lot of kids. And if Seibel hurt even one, the blame falls squarely on every single board and staff member at Shattuck-St. Mary’s who knew of or suspected his crimes but selfishly kept silent.
This is another example of how church officials often make secret payments to proven, admitted or credibly accused sex offenders to make or help them quietly “go away” without warning parents, parishoners, police, prosecutors or the public about these dangerous men and women. (See Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s actions as head of the Milwaukee archdiocese for another example, and the actions of several St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocesan officials as well.)
Seibel’s secret ouster happened just one year after the Catholic church abuse scandal made international headlines (and almost two decades after the first Minnesota predator priest made national headlines). So one would have hoped that Minnesota Episcopal school officials might have learned from that crisis and acted more responsibly and less selfishly.
We beg anyone in Minnesota who may have seen, suspected or suffered Seibel’s crimes to call law enforcement. And we urge Minnesota Episcopal officials to use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to seek out others with information or suspicions about his crimes, so that he might be prosecuted again and kept away from kids even longer.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy 314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org, Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org, Verne Wagner of Duluth, Northeast MN (Duluth, MN & Superior, WI) SNAP director (218- 340-1277, email@example.com)