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Lawsuit alleges mistreatment at St. John’s Military School

Lawsuit alleges mistreatment at St. John’s Military School

A lawsuit filed on behalf of former attendees of St. John’s Military School in Salina, Kansas, has apparently misnamed the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas as a co-defendant.

The suit, brought by parents of former students, alleges mistreatment at St. John’s in the form of negligent supervision, intentional failure to supervise, intentional infliction of emotional distress or outrage, breach of fiduciary duty, and conspiracy to assault and batter.

The Salina Journal reports:

“The school allows and encourages older students to abuse young students — physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually,” the lawsuit alleges. The suit does not claim any of the four defendants was sexually abused but that one of the students did witness an attempted rape….

One plaintiff, who attended St. John’s in the spring of 2011, claims in the lawsuit that he was bound, gagged and beaten by several students, with photos posted to Facebook, forced to roll in mud, and then urinated on in the shower by several students….

In every case, the lawsuit claims, parents were told the cadets were exaggerating or making up stories because they wanted to go home.

In addition to hosting a reviewable copy of the filing, the Huffington Post’s coverage notes the suit’s mention of nine legal settlements having been reached over abuse claims since 2006.

The suit alleges a system of older students – “Disciplinarians” – having direct authority over younger students.

Through this model, St. John’s hands over to adolescent students the school’s obligation to act as parent to each child enrolled at the institution. These Disciplinarians abuse that power and take their authority beyond any reasonable limits while putting the younger boys in constant fear of physical and mental harm….

Because St. John’s grants its Disciplinarians the authority to discipline the younger boys, it should have heightened security and increased personnel to monitor all activities and protect its children. Yet, in practice, it does quite the opposite….

By housing students in facilities with minor supervision, St. John’s grants its Disciplinarians carte blanche to do what they wish and inflict harm upon the younger boys.

Salina is the see city of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas. The school was established during a period in which the diocese was comprised of the entire state, but a history page on the diocesan web site for Western Kansas makes it clear that the school “still exists today and is now associated with the Diocese of Western Kansas.”

A news release today from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas seeks to clarify the situation from Topeka.

News media today are reporting on a lawsuit filed against St. John’s Military School in Salina, Kan., which also named the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas as a defendant.

The inclusion of the Diocese of Kansas is a mistake, since the school is not connected to this diocese but is instead associated with the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas. The two dioceses are separate and distinct jurisdictions, with different bishops and different governing bodies.

Our attorney has contacted the plaintiffs’ attorney to inform him of this mistake and has asked him to correct the filing to remove the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas from the action.

We also offer our prayers for all those involved in this situation.

St. John’s Military School and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are other named co-defendants. Neither entity offers comment on its web site at this time.


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