A second former teacher at a Faribault boarding school faces criminal charges for alleged sexual abuse of a student.
Prosecutors say former Shattuck-St. Mary's teacher Joseph Carl Machlitt sexually abused a 14-year-old boy in 1980. Machlitt, 63, of St. Paul, was charged Wednesday with criminal sexual conduct and attempted criminal sexual conduct.
The former student told police about the alleged abuse on October 9, one day after another former teacher, Lynn Seibel, was charged with 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct for alleged sexually abusing six students. Seibel was arrested in California, where he is facing unrelated charges of possession of child pornography. Prosecutors in Minnesota are seeking Seibel's extradition to Rice County.
Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster said there's no connection between the two defendants. He declined to say whether the school did anything wrong, but he said adults need to take steps to protect children from pedophiles.
"If you have an organization where you have children, you need to be conscious that there are people who will target your organization to get inside of it in order to find their victims," Beaumaster said.
A spokesperson for Shattuck-St. Mary's released a statement Wednesday evening.
"Like anyone, we're appalled by the alleged actions, which the school learned of for the first time today, involving a former employee who left the school in 1980," the statement said.
"The behavior described in the complaint is offensive, wrong and violates our code of conduct. We will continue to work with the Faribault Police Department to assist in their investigation and we encourage anyone with information about such matters to come forward."
Interim Faribault police chief Don Gudmundson said in a statement that Machlitt's arrest came in the course of a joint investigation with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
"Police believe that at the time of the incidents, Shattuck-St. Mary's administrators and staff were not aware of the sexual abuse," said Gudmundson.
Machlitt initially denied any sexual contact with the student, but he changed his story during an interview with Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators on Oct. 23, the complaint said. The former teacher told investigators that he had a sexual relationship with the student and recalled two times in which he engaged in a sex act with the student, according to the complaint.
Machlitt appeared in Rice County court Wednesday afternoon. He posted bond and was released from custody. The person who answered the phone at Machlitt's home Wednesday declined to comment.
The abuse allegedly took place when Machlitt agreed to take care of the 14-year-old student overnight on June 25, 1980. The student had hit his head while swimming and Machlitt took him to the hospital, where the student was treated for a possible concussion, the criminal complaint said.
Machlitt brought the student back to his apartment, which was located in one of the dorm buildings, as Machlitt was one of the adults responsible for supervising children after hours, according to the complaint.
The student went to sleep on Machlitt's couch but woke up when Machlitt began touching him inappropriately, the complaint said. Machlitt then allegedly directed the student to engage in a sexual act. The alleged victim told police that Machlitt also tried to touch him in a sexually inappropriate manner a second time that summer.
Machlitt, who taught art and photography at Shattuck-St. Mary's, left the school in August 1980, less than two months after the alleged abuse began, and started a new job at a school in New Hampshire, the complaint said. Rice County Attorney Beaumaster said he didn't know the name of the school.
The student told police he did not tell anyone about the abuse until he was 29 years old, when he talked with therapists about the experience. The man is now 46 years old.
Don Gudmundson says Faribault police continue to investigate other allegations involving one other Shattuck staffer.
"We do have other cases that we continue to look into, in this very complex and sensitive investigation, which has led detectives from Rhode Island to LA, and from Texas to Michigan and to states multiple times."
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MPR News reporter Tim Nelson contributed to this report.