Decades of Alleged Sexual Abuse Described at Chaminade College Preparatory
By Courtney Gousman
February 8, 2012
Creve Coeur, MO (KSDK) - It's a sexual abuse scandal that's sending shockwaves through a school community. Former students of Chaminade College Preparatory are now coming forward to acknowledge they were abused by two former teachers.
NewsChannel 5 found out what things were like for students attending the school during this ominous time. An attorney representing one of these victims recounted some of the horror stories his client experienced at the hands of two of his teachers at Chaminade. Though the both of these teachers are both deceased, this attorney says the abuse was well-known among students and staff.
"He's heard of people denying that this kind of abuse occurred at Chaminade, and he wants people to believe it," said Ken Chackes.
Chackes represents the man now being credited with bringing sexual abuse allegations to light at Chaminade College Prep. Allegations dating back to the 60s and 70s, and we're told were repeatedly ignored by the school.
Chackes says his client suffered abuse at the hands of two teachers, Brother Louis Meinhardt, also a football and basketball coach, and John Woulfe, a hockey coach.
"Meinhardt would also pick-up boys and rub them against himself. With Brother Woulfe, there was simulated sexual activity when they were clothed. Brother Woulfe would also take kids into the gym and give them massages, and put them in the whirlpool," said Chackes.
Chackes say his client's first experience with sexual abuse came during the sixth grade and lasted through his high school career.
"Meinhardt was open. He was openly molesting kids, in the locker room, in the showers, as they would come in and out of the showers. It was very well known among the students and the officials of the school," said Chackes.
Father Martin Solma, head of the Marianists, sent out a letter to Chaminade alums in January, after meeting with Chackes' client. So far, 16 former students have come forward recounting stories of abuse.
"That somebody in our order has contributed to the failure and to the hurt, I think it's appalling and it's shameful, no I'm not proud of that," said Father Solma, Marianist Provincial.
"Each time he has to think about it, it causes him great pain and great distress. It's like being abused all over again," said Chackes of his client.
Chackes say the statue of limitations makes it difficult for many of these victims to now take matters to court, but in the past, he's helped clients to recoup restitution often needed for counseling.