Bro. Thomas J. Gardipee, O.F.M.Cap.
Summary of Case: Gardipee was the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse of adolescent boys. The abuse was said to have occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s at St. Lawrence Preparatory High School Seminary in Milwaukee. Officials at the school were told by a staff member and of students of incidences in 1985. The officials did nothing, and Gardipee received a promotion. After an allegation of abuse in 1987, Gardipee was put on leave for three months in 1988, then reinstated. In 1992, after a news story was published about sexual abuse of students by friars at St. Lawrence Prep., Gardipee was placed on leave, then criminally charged. Charges were dropped due to the statute of limitations. Gardipee was then barred from ministry with minors and spent nine years at a Capuchin retreat in Wisconsin making and selling pottery. He left the order in 2001 and moved to Hawaii, where he found a job teaching at a private high school. In 2009 the school was alerted to Gardipee's history in Wisconsin, and he was placed on leave. He resigned in November 2009.
Capuchin Province of St. Joseph Provincial was Rev. Kenneth Reinhart, O.F.M.Cap.
|1992||St. Lawrence Preparatory Seminary High School||
• A boy reportedly claimed that Gardipee sexually abused him from 1980-1983, beginning when the boy was in eighth grade.
• In 1985 a dormitory supervisor was concerned about four St. Lawrence Prep. seniors, who would regularly call him to say they weren't going to make curfew and that they were in Gardipee's office. The boys would later show up smelling of liquor. After they graduated, the boys signed statements that Gardipee gave them alcoholic drinks and erotic magazines, and asked two of them to masturbate with him.
• In 1987 another student told the former dorm supervisor, who was visiting the school, that in Aug. 1987 Gardipee suggested the student get in a whirlpool to relieve the student's sore back. While in the whirlpool, the student said Gardipee suggested he take off his swim trunks. The student refused. Gardipee then took off his own and masturbated. Further, he said Gardippe wrote him love letters and harrassed him. After the student reported Gardipee's behavior, Gardipee threw the student against a wall and accused the student of betraying him.
|WI||teacher, athletic director||
This was a boarding school with about 200 students, all male.
The then former dorm supervisor gave the statements to the school's dean of discipline and the acting rector. After the incidents of abuse were reported, Gardipee was promoted to athletic director.
In 1988 the parents of the student who alleged the Aug. 1987 abuse went to the rector, showed him copies of Gardipee's "love letters" to their son and said, "We want this stopped". Gardipee was removed from St. Lawrence Prep. by the provincial, Rev. Kenneth Reinhart, but was reinstated three months later when the provincial council overturned Reinhart's decision.The allegations were not reported to civil authorities, which was required by law.
Gardipee was placed on leave in Dec.1992 after the 1987 incidents of abuse surfaced in a news story. In the story, seven other former St. Lawrence Prep. students accused five friars of having sexually abused them while they were students in the early 1970s.
The Fond du Lac County District Attorney launched an investigation. Gardipee was charged in Jan. 1993 with enticement of a child for immoral purposes and intimidation of a victim. Charges were dropped in March 1993, due to the statute of limitations. The D.A. stated "the judge did seem to find there was lewd and lascivious conduct".
After charges were dropped, the former student sued. A state racketeering lawsuit was also filed against the Province and the seminary "for creating a decades-long environment that encouraged the sexual abuse of children.” Court action ended when the Capuchins offered plaintiffs $5,000.00 each in exchange for their silence and an agreement that released the order from liability.
|1992||2001||St. Anthony Retreat||Marathon||WI||Gardipee made and sold pottery.||St. Anthony's Retreat was a Capuchin residence.|
|2001||2002||Gardipee left the Capuchins and was granted a dispensation from his vows in May 2001.|
|2002||Sept. 2009||Kamehemeha Schools, Kapalama Campus||Honolulu||HI||high school World History teacher||
This is a private day and boarding school primarily for native Hawaiins, with more than 3,000 students, K-12.
In Sept. 2009 SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) alerted the school and local media to Gardipee's past. As a result, Gardipee was placed on leave by the school. In Nov. 2009 he resigned from Kamehameha Schools.
• A Try: Complaint Went Nowhere, Milwaukee Journal, December 20, 1992