CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - Sexual abuse was so prevalent a Catholic prep school that students had a name for it: the "Meinhardt treatment," one of the alleged victims claims in St. Louis County Court.
John Doe 116 sued the Marianist Province of the United States, Chaminade College Preparatory school, and Marianists Provincial Martin Solma, in his official capacity.
Doe claims the Rev. Louis Meinhardt would watch young boys shower and grab their genitals.
He claims that Meinhardt, who was a teacher and coach at the upscale private school in west St. Louis County from 1958 to 1982, earned several nicknames, including "the kissing coach" and "Screwie Louie." Meinhardt repeatedly told students to "come here and give me loving" and "let me pat you on the bo-bo," according to the complaint.
Doe, who is now in his 60s and still lives in Missouri, says the abuse started in 1966 when he was in seventh grade. Doe claims that Meinhardt grabbed his penis and fondled his genitals after calling him in for a "private tutoring session."
Doe claims Chaminade and the Marianists who ran the school knew about Meinhardt's abuse, but did nothing to stop it.
Doe seeks damages for emotional distress and medical and psychological treatment.
"Defendants failed to stop Meinhardt from engaging in that behavior or to notify children attending the school and/or their parents of Meinhardt's propensity to sexually assault juvenile boys," the complaint states. "As a result, Brother Meinhardt was allowed unlimited access to juvenile boys, with the aid of defendants Chaminade and Marianists."
Doe's attorney Kenneth Chackes, who has represented numerous victims of Catholic priests' abuse, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Meinhardt "was just the most open and notorious child molester I've ever heard of."
Though the abuse occurred almost 40 years ago, the state's statute of limitations for sexual abuse allows for claims within 5 years of the victim's turning 21 or within 5 years of recalling the abuse.
Solma said this month that more than a dozen former students had come forward with decades-old allegations of verbal and sexual abuse by Meinhardt and another former priest, the Rev. John Woulfe, who was at Chaminade for 9 years, ending in 1997, the Post-Dispatch reported. Both men are now dead.