JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a lawsuit alleging a St. Louis Catholic school allowed sexual abuse against a student should continue.
At issue is a lawsuit filed by a former student who graduated from Chaminade College Preparatory School in the 1970s, known in court records only as John Doe.
Doe alleged that his counselor sexually abused him in 1971 and sued the school for allowing the abuse to happen.
Chaminade removed the guidance counselor, Brother John Woulfe, in 1977 because of allegations of sexual abuse against him. Woulfe died before Doe filed his lawsuit, according to court records.
A lower court ruled against Woulfe and didn’t let the civil suit go to trial. But the Supreme Court ruled that there’s enough evidence for a jury to possibly find that the school knew about allegations of abuse against Woulfe and hired him anyway.
The high court in its ruling pointed to letters between Woulfe and a Chaminade brother before Woulfe was hired at the school. One expert testified that the letters use euphemisms to refer to previous allegations of sexual abuse against Woulfe.
Supreme Court judges said a jury should be allowed to consider that evidence and sent the case back to the lower court to continue.