Widow: Shattuck-St. Mary's mishandled husband's case in 2008 - KMSP-TV

Widow: Shattuck-St. Mary's mishandled husband's case in 2008

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The widow of a Shattuck-St. Mary's teacher who took his own life after he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student told FOX 9 News she thinks the school mishandled both the 2008 case against her husband and the new case against Lynn Seibel.

"It's been tough having all this brought up four years later, but I'm glad that people are coming forward," Stefanie Tschirhart-Baldwin told FOX 9 News by phone.

Though Tschirhart-Baldwin was separated from Len Jones in 2008 because he was depressed and she was trying to get him help, she said she agrees with the Faribault police officers who told her that Jones never would have had the chance to go into his apartment and shoot himself if school officials had contacted police first.

"My daughter would still have a father in her life. I would have an opportunity to scream and holler and get some questions answered. It would have helped me bring some closure to it," she said.

Instead, school officials confronted Jones themselves about the allegations that he had a three-year relationship with a female foreign exchange student, beginning when the girl was 15. The school said it immediately drafted a plan to remove Jones from campus to begin investigating the claims, but he shot himself in his apartment after asking to go get a coat.

Police only learned of the allegations after Jones died, and the case against Seibel now has many people wondering if the school kept other cases quiet.

Tschirhart-Baldwin, who also taught at Shattuck-St. Mary's after Seibel left in 2003, told FOX 9 News she heard rumors about Seibel's alleged activities with students, but nothing concrete enough to go to police. She said the school should have reported him -- especially when they found child pornography on his computer and terminated his employment.

"If there is suspicion of anything, you report it," she said. "Don't take it lightly, and you are not the cops. You bring in the authorities."

School officials said they did report Seibel to both the Faribault Police Department and the Department of Social Services after a student accused him of misconduct in 2001, but neither agency said they have record of that.

Seibel is currently facing 17 criminal charges involving allegations that he held "AP Drama sessions" in classrooms and dorms where he would watch pornography with students between the ages of 15 and 18, teaching them to masturbate and measuring their genitals. So far, six victims have come forward but authorities believe there may have been others.

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