Five more Stanislaus alums say they were ‘abused’

At least five more former students have come forward with accusations of sexual abuse in the lawsuit “Michael Stevenson versus the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Brother William Leimbach, and St. Stanislaus.”

The lawsuit was filed in 2007.

In the suit, Stevenson claims that Leimbach, 60 — a former dormitory supervisor at SSC –allegedly sexually and mentally abused during the 1983-1984 school year.

Steven was 15 years old at the time.

The former students are named in the circuit court file, but they are not part of the lawsuit itself.

Mississippi law sets a statute of limitations of three years on civil claims from the time the victim is aware that the incident occurred or the age of maturity, which is 21.

Attorney for St. Stanislaus Richard Salloum said Tuesday that the school has filed a motion for dismissal commonly referred to as a motion for summary judgement.

Salloum only represents the school. The Brothers of the Scared Heart and Leimbach each have separate council.

One of the main grounds for the motion is that the statute of limitations has passed, he said.

Stevenson’s attorney Jim Reeves has argued that the statute of limitations did not apply in the original case because Stevenson’s recollection of the events only became known after it was revealed during hypnosis.

The suit said Stevenson turned to mind-altering drugs in the years following the alleged abuse as a way to cope with it.

The court record also shows a video deposition of Leimbach which was recorded on December 9, 2009.

In the deposition, Leimbach pleads the fifth amendment privilege more than 30 time, the record shows.

The record shows a timeline of Leimbach’s employment at SSC and other schools and includes the names of five other students who are claiming they were abused by Leimbach during 1974, ’75, ’76, and ’91 school years.

There is no record of any police reports or complaints to the school ever being made in the alleged incidents, Salloum said.

One of the former students who recently stepped forward signed an affidavit saying that Leimbach tried to make contact with him last year on the social network website Facebook.

A copy of the friend request sent to the former student from Leimbach has been made a part of the court file.
Leimbach’s Facebook page has since been removed, the record said.

Brother Paul Montero–who was president of SSC from 1987 to 1991–said in deposition that he spoke with two students during the ’91 school year who claimed they were watching pornographic videos with Leimbach.

One of the students allegedly involved in that incident has since passed away.

Montero said during the deposition that he could not remember if there were any specific complaints of sexual abuse.

Leimbach was removed from the school after the incident.
The new claims can be used at trial if they are allowed by the presiding judge.

Salloum said the school has filed a motion to strike the claims from the record.

Since the ’91 incident, Leimbach has worked a number of different jobs for the religious order.

Currently, he works at a retirement center in Rhode Island.

The Stevenson trial was set for December 2009, but pushed back when Circuit Judge Roger Clark ordered mediation.

Salloum said there are several motions still pending and at least one more deposition needs to be taken. Reeves did not return phone calls by press time Tuesday.

If Clark rules in favor of the motion for summary judgement, then St. Stanislaus will be excused from the trial.

If he rules the case shall continue, a trial date will be set.

BY Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo

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