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  Athletic Director, Former Worker Charged in Student-Abuse Case

Associated Press
January 6, 1993

Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against the athletic director of a Roman Catholic boys school and a onetime employee who were accused by former students of sexual abuse.

Thomas J. Gardipee, 35, the suspended athletic director at the St. Lawrence Seminary preparatory school, was charged with enticement of a child for immoral purposes and intimidation of a victim.

John L. Raniszewski, 40, of Warren, Mich., who worked in the infirmary before leaving the seminary in 1988, was charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault.

The charges were filed by Fond du Lac County District Attorney Thomas J. Storm following accusations last month by eight former students who alleged sexual abuse by teachers. The school is located at Mount Calvary near Fond du Lac, about 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

Many of the incidents dated to the 1970s and were beyond the statute of limitations for charges.

The school, which opened in 1857, is operated by the Detroit-based Capuchin order and has about 30 brothers and priests and 200 students.

The Rev. Keith Clark, president of St. Lawrence Seminary, said the school has received support from many parents and former students and that he expected that would continue. "Everything now is up to the legal system," he said.

Initial court appearances were scheduled Jan. 19 for Gardipee and Raniszewski, both represented by attorney Gerald P. Boyle.

Boyle said "the other side of the story will be coming" Jan. 19. He said he was not allowed by law to take issue with the criminal complaint until the court date.

If convicted, Gardipee could face up to 15 years in prison, and Raniszewski up to 10 years, Storm said.

The criminal complaint against Gardipee said a student was having back problems in August 1987 and Gardipee suggested he use the whirlpool, then asked if he wanted to take his shorts off. The student declined. But he said Gardipee took his clothes off and performed a sex act in front of him.

The student said he talked with a former dormitory supervisor about the incident several weeks later, and that Gardipee later accosted him in the gymnasium, demanded he come into his office, threw him against a wall on the way and said: "I can't believe you told. I thought I could trust you."

Another student told police he was aware of incidents in 1985 when Gardipee would provide seniors with alcohol, show them pornography and ask if they would masturbate with him.

The criminal complaint against Raniszewski quotes a former student as saying Raniszewski had him come to a medical exam room, removed his clothing, then fondled the student's genitals and rubbed his legs.

 
 

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