One day after a 70-year-old actor admitted he inappropriately touched students during his teaching tenure at Shattuck-St. Mary's, new allegations of inappropriate relationships between students and teachers at the Faribault, Minn. school are emerging.
FOX 9 News has confirmed that a teacher at the school committed suicide in 2008 after being confronted with allegations about a years-long relationship with a female student, starting when she was 15.
Faribault police say they didn't learn of the three-year relationship until after 34-year-old dorm director Leonard Jones died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound, and the case was closed after the teacher's death.
One Faribault police captain told FOX 9 News the department is "disappointed" that the school did not report the case involving Jones before his death, saying the suicide could have been prevented.
"Our stance is: If they had notified us prior to them confronting him, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to go into the house and shoot himself," Capt. Neal Pederson said.
Instead, the school created a plan to remove Jones from campus to begin an investigation, but Jones shot himself the night the plan was enacted.
On Tuesday evening, school officials released the following statement about the 2008 case:
Questions have been raised about the school's handling of the circumstances around the 2008 suicide of one of our faculty members. Here are the facts in that matter:
On the afternoon of December 5, 2008, the school received what it believed to be a credible allegation of misconduct on the part of the faculty member in question. 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.
At the scene of the suicide, the allegations in this matter were fully and immediately disclosed to the investigating officers. In addition, within two days of the suicide, the school conducted two town hall meetings -- one with parents and one with students -- that were webcast to all interested parties in which the allegations were disclosed and discussed openly as violation of trust and contrary to the policies and culture of the school.
At no time did the school do anything other than seek to be open and transparent about these circumstances with its students, families, faculty, staff and law enforcement.
The school has a zero tolerance policy on issues of harassment, discrimination and criminal behavior that applies to faculty, staff and students. Those policies are communicated to students and families through our student handbook and to faculty and staff through our employee handbook. Those policies are reinforced through annual meetings and other communications. Our policies in these areas have evolved steadily over the last two decades to reflect changes in the legal environment, new technologies, societal changes and other factors. We believe strongly that our policies contribute to creating a safe and inclusive environment at our school.
When we become aware of any allegations of possible violations of our policies and standards in these areas, we investigate and -- if the allegations are substantiated -- take appropriate action. We do so consistent with legal obligations, our responsibilities to our students and their families and our commitment to protecting the rights of our community members.
School officials say they do not currently have any open investigations into sexual misconduct, and are not aware of any outside agencies conducting investigations other than the case against Lynn Seibel, who was a dorm parent living amongst the students before he left Minnesota for Hollywood nearly a decade ago to appear in TV shows like "The Big Bang Theory."
However, an attorney with Jeff Anderson & Associates told FOX 9 News a former Shattuck-St. Mary's student has contacted them about a third case of sexual misconduct involving a teacher in 1980. They are currently vetting that student's story.
"We got a call this morning from someone saying, 'I was there in the 1980s and there was a teacher that affected me and that was not the person who was reported in 2008,'" Gregg Meyers told FOX 9 News.
Faribault police said they have not yet heard from a former student alleging a third case yet, but they are interested.
The boarding school, which bills itself as a "center of excellence" and has a rich history dating back to 1858, became the focus of media attention after sex abuse charges were filed on Monday against a former drama teacher accused of sexually-touching six teens aged 15-18 while living in the student dorms between 1999 and 2003.
Investigators say there could be more victims, and the school could face charges if investigators determine it broke the mandatory reporting law.
Seibel was in a Los Angeles County Jail on unrelated charges when the Rice County Attorney's Office charged him with 17 charges related to criminal sexual conduct involving students.
Officials say he admitted to many of the allegations regarding the Shattuck-St. Mary's students, saying, "There were times when I did inappropriately touch, and it was stupid. It was stupid on my part."
He went on to recall a conversation he had with the school's head master in 2003 while he was being let go after child pornography was found on his school-issued computer.Seibel explained that interim headmaster Dennis Brown confronted him and said, "Lynn, you're a sick man. You need to do something about it. Get help."
The school did not report the incident involving the pornography to police, but officials at the school say they did report allegations of sexual misconduct against Seibel two years earlier to both Faribault Police and the Department of Social Services.
"Seibel could have been reported in 2003," attorney Gregg Meyers told FOX 9 News. "He was reported in '01. It was ambiguous, but in '03, it wasn't ambiguous at all and no report was made. That gave him a nine-year career that he should not have had, where children could have been affected and he could have been working with children."
The school claims their internal investigation discredited the claim, saying neither Faribault police nor DSS acted on those reports; however both agencies told FOX 9 News they do not have any record -- no police reports or other documentation -- regarding alleged sex abuse in 2001.
The charges allege that Seibel held "AP drama sessions" in dorm rooms and classrooms, during which students would watch pornography and masturbate while Seibel walked around the room measuring their genitals with a ruler and telling them how they could increase their size.
"This is how people in Hollywood do it," Seibel said at one session detailed by an alleged victim.
No information about the victims has been released.
Seibel also faces one count of possession of child pornography. The charges are the result of an investigation opened in June 2012 by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Faribault police.
Lynn Seibel has acting credits for roles on "The Big Bang Theory," "Dallas," "Little House on the Prairie," "Murder She Wrote" and many other TV shows and movies, including "Mighty Ducks 3."
California court records show Seibel has a checkered past, with his first arrest dating back to 1986 when he was cited for lewd behavior. In 1989, he was arrested on the same charge after he performed a sex act in a sauna in front of an undercover officer.
In August, Seibel was arrested in Los Angeles on charges of possessing child pornography on his personal computer.