A Roman Catholic religious order has agreed to pay $300,000 to a former student at a suburban St. Louis, Mo., high school to settle claims that a teacher at the school sexually abused him.
The settlement was announced on Oct. 9 by Ken Chackes, the attorney for a former student at Chaminade, a prep school in Creve Coeur sponsored by the Marianist Province of the United States.
The former student, who attended Chaminade in the late 1960s and early 1970s, alleged in a 2012 lawsuit that he was sexually abused by Brother Louis Meinhardt during a typing tutoring session. The plaintiff said he repressed the memories until a visit to the school in 2011 or 2012 caused them to resurface.
In a statement, the plaintiff said he suffered “deep-seated depression and stress” due to the abuse.
“More concern is given to the pedophile abuser within the church than the innocent child who is sexually, physically and psychologically abused for life,” he said.
The Rev. Martin Solma, a spokesman for the Marianists, said most of the accusations against Meinhardt date back well over four decades. He said the Marianist Province, not Chaminade College Preparatory, agreed to the settlement to bring resolution to the person involved.
“Until these allegations were brought to light, the Marianist Province had no records or reports to indicate that anyone at the school was aware of abusive behavior by Meinhardt,” Solma said. “With the accused and his supervisors long deceased, it is impossible to obtain accurate information about the administration of the school from that period of time.”
The lawsuit did not name Meinhardt, who worked at the school from 1958 to 1982, because he died in 1990.
“The Marianist Order and Chaminade knew that Brother Meinhardt was molesting students at their school yet they failed to stop him or warn the students or their parents of this dangerous teacher in their midst,” Chackes said.
Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said Meinhardt has been accused of molesting at least 15 students at Chaminade.
The Marianists are an international religious order of brothers and priests founded in 1817. They sponsor colleges, high schools, parishes and retreat centers.
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