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LINCOLN LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL OFFICIALS COVER-UP SCANDAL
Posted on Monday, September 26 @ 04:26:03 CDT by van

News and Views Several people have asked what my interest in airing the "dirty laundry" of the Lincoln Lutheran High School in public might be. When something stinks, the smell doesn't go away by hiding the source. The only way to deal with such a problem is to get it out into the open and that is precisely what I intend to do in this and future articles. By the Grace of God, a young female student at the Lutheran High School located on north 56th street in Lincoln, Nebraska avoided possible rape! Even more disgusting is the way officials of the Nebraska District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LC-MS) and school officials, including the school's Board of Directors handled and are handling the situation.

In the interest of full disclosure, it is important for me to state up front my ongoing interest in the school in question. I am a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, one of the current member churches of the school association. All four of my children attended the 7th through the 9th grades at the facility when it was only a junior high school. I served two terms as a member of the Lincoln Lutheran School Association , Inc. (the formal name of the governing body) board of directors. Additionally, I was privileged to serve as chairman of that board for at least two years. Thus, I can, in a way, empathize with the current board in that, while I presided years ago, we had to terminate the services of a teacher. In that case however, it was for professional incompetence, not an act of moral turpitude.

The matter which the incumbent board had to face involved a 62 year old male teacher sending a dozen unwanted and inappropriate letters to a 17 year old female student. The nature of such letter ranged from being "suggestive" to what some indicated were outright solicitations of an intimate affair with the young lady. In fact, I was informed that a therapist who was one of two or more individuals appointed by Rev. Russell Sommerfeld, President of the Nebraska District of the LC-MS to investigate the situation stated that if the girls had kept the date proposed by the teacher, she could have been raped! The therapist went on to say that in her opinion, if the letters had been sent on the Internet, the teacher would have "already been in jail." The teacher, was identified in an article appearing in the Lincoln Journal Newspaper on as Bob Rabe, who at the time also served as an elder at Faith Lutheran Church in Lincoln.

Eventually, Rabe who had served as the school for nine years was fired by the school board and removed from the "teaching roster" of the LC-MS, meaning he was not eligible to be "called" as a teacher at a school operated by the denomination. Rabe within the time allotted appealed the action taken by Rev. Sommerfeld, but did not challenge the termination of his employment by the Lutheran High School board.

At this point, one would suppose that the synodical appeal process and the complaint(s) filed by one or more entities with the State Department of Education against Rabe will eventually lead to a final resolve of the matter. That much is true. If indeed the State Department of Education should revoke Rabe's teaching certificate, his appeal involving the disciplinary step taken by the Nebraska District of the LC-MS would be moot. On the other hand, if the state department should find in favor of Rabe, he very well could have standing for legal action against the school board.

It is worth of note however, in any case, the family of the young woman involved, in my less than humble opinion, have standing for legal action against the teacher, the school and the district officials of the church if the trauma caused by the actions of the teacher and the incompetent and unlawful handling of the unfortunate matter by school and church officials should be determined to be the proximate cause of future physical, emotional or scholastic harm to the victim.

At first, the young lady was afraid to divulge the content of the letters written to her by Rabe, but did, I'm told share the information with school officials. They apparently were more concerned with covering up the indiscretions of the teacher than taking appropriate action as prescribed by law!

When the girl shared all of the letter with her parents, and her father confronted school officials and members of the board of directors, the scurry to cover-up shifted into "high gear." One of the directors who was made aware of the situation was Lincoln attorney Paul Schudel a member of the Woods & Aitken lawfirm and a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln. As an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Nebraska and presumed to know the law, in my opinion, he had a compelling responsibility to report the matter immediately to the Lincoln Police Department for investigation which he did not do. Thus, in my opinion, upon a complaint being filed by the girl or her family, he should be disciplined by the Nebraska State Bar Association.

I believe that an in-depth investigation would show that rather than allow the Lincoln Police Department the opportunity to investigate the situation, Schudel involved himself in a series of events which, in my opinion, were calculated and designed to cover-up the improprieties conduct of not only the teacher involved, but the improper conduct on the part of Gary Hammack, "Executive Director" of the Lincoln Lutheran School Association.

Hammack, I am informed, before coming to Lincoln and being contracted to work for the school association, was a teacher and administrator at a school in Kearney, Nebraska. I am further informed that he was a member of the parish then being served by Russel Sommerfeld who is now the "district president." Hammack, according to the State Department of Education, allowed his Teaching Certificate to expire, but was "grand fathered in" as an administrator under than existing requirements. For the information of the Lutherans who read this article, Hammack is not a "called" worker at the facility, but survived a "reduction in force" when "called" workers were "let go" in absolute violation of the Doctrine of the call which is clearly expressed in God's Word.

Upon being fully apprised of the teacher's inappropriate behavior and due to the nature of it, Hammack also should have immediately informed the Lincoln Police Department. Hammack not only had a duty under law to take that action, but also, as a credentialed administrator, the rules of the Department of Education additionally required him to do what he did not do in a timely manner. Rather, he and one or more members of the board of directors appear to have conjured up a plan to cover-up and conceal the matter. Remember folks, what President Richard Nixon did regarding Watergate was not what finally forced his retirement from office, but rather THE COVER-UP!

According to additional information I have received, Sommerfeld, upon advice of his "legal counsel" (which is Omaha, attorney KERMIT BRASHEAR, SPEAKER OF OUR STATE LEGISLATURE) the matter should be "investigated" before it was reported to proper authorities.

Then enters a THIRD ATTORNEY, Mark Fahleson (reported to be a member of attorney Paul Schudel's church) who is believed to have been commissioned by Hammack to "investigate the matter" in question. I am informed that Fahleson is providing legal services "Pro Bono" and apparently is "representing the school" rather than teacher Rabe or the victim.

It should be noted here, that Fahleson, also an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Nebraska and presumed to know the relevant law, chose to ignore that law regarding timely reporting of the matter to the Lincoln Police Department and advised school officials to do likewise! Thus, once again in my less than humble opinion, I believe that upon a complaint being filed with Dennis Carlson, Counsel for Discipline of the State Bar Association and subsequent investigation, Mark Fahleson could be formally disciplined. His interaction with the victim's family, also in my opinion, was not only unprofessional, but downright deplorable.

Months later, according to the Lincoln newspaper reporters article, "Rev. Russell Sommerfeld, district president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, also reported Rabe's actions to the state Health and Human Services System, he said Tuesday." It was additionally reported in the paper that even though Sommerfeld would not "discuss of the firing" with the reporter, the story revealed that "...Sommerfeld's report to the state suggests school and church officials believe Rabe physical, emotionally or sexually mistreated a student in some way."

It was reported (read this carefully if you have a daughter attending the Lutheran High School), "What church and school officials found led directly to the firing but didn't compel them to call Health and Human Services until after the investigation was complete" according to Sommerfeld, Hammack's former pastor.

Sommerfeld further stated that "... he hadn't called the police during the church investigation, which he headed" and that "Rabe has not been charged with a crime." Both statements are unfortunately true.

Hammack added, ""We're confident we've complied with all applicable laws and that we've taken appropriate action to protect the interest of our students" and "We saw a need to take action, we took action, and that's where we are."

Lincoln police chief Tom Casady said " Church officials who investigated a Lincoln Lutheran teacher's alleged advances toward a student made a mistake by not contacting police about the possible crime."

The police investigation didn't begin until mid-June, when Casady said he received a tip from someone who wasn't a school or church leader. That was at least a month after LC-MS, school officials and attorney Fahleson "launched their own investigations into Rabe's possible misconduct, which led to his firing."

"There are occasionally well-meaning but misguided attempts for people to do their own investigation before they turn things over to police," Casady said. "Generally speaking, that's probably not a good idea." "It's a mistake not allowing police to investigate first often tips off the suspect, allowing him or her to create a cover story and destroy evidence, he said.

The Lincoln police chief also added, "It also may violate a state statute that calls for anyone who observes abuse or neglect to report it to the proper authorities."

When Gary Hammack told the reporter that "No student was in danger during the investigation" he was, in my opinion, an absolute liar! An incident occurred, a member of the victim's family said, which led to consideration being given to seeking a "Court order restraining Rabe form being in the vicinity of the victim."

Sommerfeld and Hammack are completely ignorant as to the law or they were trying to put their own "spin" on the story, when they told the reporter, "The nature of the allegation also made it acceptable to report to Health and Human Services after the internal investigations, not before them"

Since Rabe did not actually assault the victim, Casady indicated that based upon the "evidence obtained" no criminal charges would be file against him. Recall, however, the therapist which the Lincoln Police Department interviewed, has made the statement, with witnesses present, that if the victim had met with Rabe, as he proposed, "for dinner" and then to "go to the lake and listen to music and watch the sun to down" she likely would have been assaulted if not raped.

Our state legislature should, in my opinion, harmonize the state law with federal law concerning solicitation of a minor via the Internet.

There will likely be much more on the subjects contained in his article in future postings. Fahleson and Schudel are predicted to dominate a board of directors meeting scheduled at the school at 7:00 P.M. Monday, 26 September 2005. They will attempt to stifle discussion and hide information from members of the contributing churches by "going into executive session" when the board meets. Members of the churches in the association are entitled to attend every board meeting if they choose and to voice opinions. I encourage one or members of the press and electronic media to attend the meeting and interview Hammack, Schudel, Fahleson and others.

Subjects to bring up might include the propriety of Schudel's wife Mary being an English teacher at the same time her husband is a member of the board of directors. The propriety of Rev. Mark Hannemann's wife Sandy, a member of the board of directors, participating in the selection of her husband as "Chaplain" for the school and FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL COMPENSATING HIM FOR HIS SERVICES! Recall, Mark Hannemann is Bob Rabe's pastor (might that have something to do with the cover-up?) The propriety of the mother of Scott Ernstmeyer serving as a school secretary (compensated or not). Deficiencies in the school handbook which Gary Hammack has published failing to provide for adequate safeguards for students. Manipulation of the "delegate assembly" so as to change corporate bylaws to allow for Schudel and the current board president Ron Kuehn to have their terms of office extended.

Good Lutherans of Lincoln who are members of the congregations participating in the school association, if you have other items which should be made public, you are welcome to contact me. Remember, when Martin Luther had it up to his neck with corruption in the Catholic Church over five hundred years ago, he made his grievances public by nailing a document to the door of his church. I don't suggest anything being nailed to the door the Lincoln Lutheran High School, rather, that a case be put together to "nail" the evil doers and law breakers in a more legal and socially acceptable manner.

Recall where there was corruption in the church when our Savior walked on earth.....WHAT DID JESUS DO? HE THREW THE BUMS OUT! I wish Jesus would be present IN PERSON at the next few meetings of the board of directors of the school association and if necessary, repeat history!

If any person named in this posting would like to offer a different account of anything presented herein, e-mail it to me and I'll guarantee it will be posted, but I do reserve the right to comment on such posting or postings.

VansOpinion
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Thursday, June 18
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Friday, November 28
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Sunday, May 11
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Saturday, January 26
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Saturday, December 29
· KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's AND 70's
Saturday, December 15
· A MIDDLE EAST IMPERATIVE
Friday, December 14
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Wednesday, December 12
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Friday, November 23
· NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD
Sunday, September 09
· GOD DOES INDEED ANSWERS PRAYER
Monday, July 16
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Monday, April 23
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Saturday, March 31
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Thursday, June 01
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Thursday, March 30
· KATHY TAYLOR WILL BE THE NEXT MAYOR OF TULSA
Wednesday, March 29
· MORAL POVERTY COST BLACKS IN NEW ORLEANS
Friday, December 23
· HAVE A SAFE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS
Sunday, November 20
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Thursday, October 27
· SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Thursday, October 13
· HELP WANTED - MAYOR OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA
Thursday, October 06
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Wednesday, October 05
· WHY I CONTINUE TO WORK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Monday, September 26
· LINCOLN LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL OFFICIALS COVER-UP SCANDAL
Sunday, September 25
· IT'S NOW TIME TO DO A BIT OF FINGER POINTING
· A LETTER FROM A VERY UPSET MISSISSIPPI DOCTOR
Tuesday, September 20
· RELIGIOUS HUMOR THAT'S NON-DENOMINATIONAL
· COUNCIL SHOULD SAY NO TO ANOTHER MULTI-PLEX
Monday, September 19
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