Capuchin Brother's Sex Case Dropped

Chicago Tribune
October 1, 1993

The last remaining charges of criminal sexual misconduct against two former employees at a Catholic preparatory school in Fond du Lac County have been dropped.

According to county District Atty. Thomas Storm, charges against Brother John L. Raniszewski, 40, were dropped early in September because the alleged victim decided not to pursue the case.

In March, sex charges against a second Capuchin brother, Thomas J. Gardipee, 35, were dismissed by a Fond du Lac County circuit judge on grounds that there was not probable cause that Gardipee had committed a felony.

Storm said it would have been impossible to successfully prosecute without testimony from the alleged victim, who accused Raniszewski of fondling him during a physical examination conducted when Raniszewski was in charge of the school infirmary.

"His testimony was critical," Storm said. "I chose to honor his wish not to proceed."

Raniszewski's lawyer, Gerald Boyle, termed the allegations against his client "nonsense from the beginning, an abomination" and said the charges should never have been brought.

But Storm said, "There was a preliminary hearing in this case, and a judge found that there was probable cause to bound it over for trial.

"I don't consider it a baseless allegation, and I was ready to go to trial."

In an interview, the alleged victim said he stands behind his statements but decided against proceeding with the case because it was impossible for him to remember everything that happened after the examination.

While the criminal aspects of both cases are finished, actions on the civil side could drag on.

Boyle has said Raniszewski is considering bringing a defamation of character suit against his accuser.

And Gardipee's accuser is proceeding with a civil lawsuit accusing Gardipee of sexual abuse, harassment and stalking over a period of three years.

Gardipee, the former athletic director at the Capuchin seminary in Mt. Calvary, was accused of enticing a student into a room for immoral purposes and trying to prevent the boy from reporting the incident.

Eight former students came forward in Milwaukee Journal stories in December to describe sexual abuse they claimed occurred to them several years ago at the prep school. Most of the allegations involved incidents in the 1970s, outside the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution.


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