St. Stanislaus wants to be removed from civil suit over sexual abuse

Five more former students come forth with allegations

BAY ST. LOUIS

At least five more former students allege in affidavits filed in a civil lawsuit they were sexually abused at St. Stanislaus College.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in 2007 by Michael D. Stevenson, who now lives in Wyoming. It was transferred to Hancock County Circuit Court in 2008.

Defendants are St. Stanislaus College, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and Brother William Leimbach.

Circuit Judge Roger Clark gave the parties until Dec. 15 to settle or the case would be set for trial sometime in January. St. Stanislaus is a day and residential school for boys in grades seven to 12 in Bay St. Louis.

According to the suit, Stevenson claims he was subjected to sexual and mental abuse from Leimbach during the 1983-84 school year while a 15-year-old student.

The school has denied the allegations and has filed a motion to be dismissed from the case.

The former students who filed affidavits in the case recently are not parties to the lawsuit.

Richard Salloum, the attorney for St. Stanislaus, told the Sea Coast Echo that Stevenson waited too long to file the lawsuit. Salloum said Mississippi law gives a plaintiff three years to file a civil claim — from the time the victim is aware the incident occurred or the age of maturity, which is 21.

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

Stevenson’s attorney, Jim Reeves, has argued in court documents 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.

Affidavits from the other former students allege abuse dated back to 1974.

Salloum said there is no record of police reports or complaints to the school ever being made in the alleged incidents. He said the school has filed a motion to strike the claims from the record.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sun herald.com

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