in Sexual Abuse Case
70-year-old accused of molesting 2 students
By Taryn Brodwater
June 1, 2007
A mental health therapist and former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two boys he counseled at a Clark Fork, Idaho, school for troubled teens remains in the Bonner County Jail on $100,000 bail.
Louis W. Ladenburger, 70, was charged Thursday with three felony counts of sexual battery of a minor.
The former therapist for Elk Mountain Academy told detectives that he had "sexual issues," Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson said.
Authorities initially thought Ladenburger fled the area after the alleged sexual abuse was reported to the Bonner County Sheriff's Office on May 5, Robinson said.
The man struck a deer with his vehicle Wednesday, the prosecutor said, and detectives who responded to the accident questioned him about the alleged sexual abuse. They arrested him based on the admissions he made, according to court minutes.
The alleged crimes, involving a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy, occurred from February through April.
Magistrate Barbara Buchanan ordered Ladenburger to have no contact with any minors if he posts bond and is released from jail. Ladenburger declined a public defender and said he would hire his own attorney.
Robinson said the investigation is continuing, with detectives interviewing current and former students of the school.
Some students described Ladenburger as "overly touchy" and said there was "lots of hugging," Robinson said. But no additional students have reported inappropriate sexual contact with the counselor.
Ladenburger was hired by the school in September. School director Carl Olding said Wednesday that 23 students are enrolled at Elk Mountain Academy, which was founded in 1994.
Olding said law enforcement, the Idaho Health and Welfare Department and state Child Protective Services were notified as soon as the school learned of the allegations.
Ladenburger was fired immediately, Olding said, and not allowed on campus to collect his things.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set for June 13.
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