New lawsuit filed against Marianist Roman Catholic priest and school

By Lilly Fowler
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 9, 2014

A new lawsuit against a member of the Marianist Catholic order and school alleging sexual abuse of a minor was filed on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court, names the Marianist Province of the United States as a defendant, as well as the Rev. Martin Solma. Solma is head of the Roman Catholic order, which is based in St. Louis.

Chaminade College Preparatory, a Marianist boarding school in Creve Coeur serving boys in grades 6 through 12, is also named as a defendant.

The lawsuit alleges that Chaminade’s John Woulfe, a member of the Marianist order who is now dead, sexually abused plaintiff Chris Boisaubin, 59, when he was a minor.

Woulfe, a school counselor, met Boisaubin about 1970 when he first became a boarding student at the school, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that the sexual abuse took place when Woulfe welcomed Boisaubin into his office. Locking the door behind him, Woulfe asked Boisaubin to sit in his recliner. Woulfe then reclined the chair and fondled Boisaubin, the lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, Woulfe had already sexually assaulted at least one other boy at the school. The lawsuit also claims the school knew Woulfe was abusing children before he abused Boisaubin.

“Defendants Chaminade and Marianists knew ... that allowing Brother Woulfe access to and supervision over juvenile boys as part of his duties as a teacher, coach, mentor and college counselor at Chaminade, an all-boys school, would result in Brother Woulfe assaulting students,” the lawsuit states.

The Marianists declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Although the alleged abuse happened decades earlier, the lawsuit has only now been filed because Boisaubin remembered the abuse only recently, when in 2012 a letter from Solma that named Woulfe triggered memories, the lawsuit said.

This is at least the second lawsuit against Woulfe alleging sexual abuse. The Missouri Supreme Court issued an opinion on a previous lawsuit involving Woulfe and another teacher at Chaminade College Preparatory, the Rev. William Christensen, in 2006. The lawsuit was first filed in 2002 by Michael Powel, a former student at the school.

Plaintiff lawyer Ken Chackes said he has handled at least five other sexual abuse lawsuits against members of the Marianist Catholic order: Louis J. Meinhardt, William Mueller, Robert R. Osborne, Daniel A. Triulzi and Charles H. Miller.

According to Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, local Marianist Tony Pistone has also been accused of sexual abuse.




Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.