By Melissa Scheffler
KWCH 12 Eyewitness news
4:22 PM CDT, March 15, 2012
Behind the order and structure at St. John's Military School in Salina, four former students claim a dangerous and disturbing culture is forming.
"They were the victims of a significant physical and mental abuse,” Kansas City attorney Dan Zmijewski said.
He is representing the teenagers and their parents in a federal lawsuit. The complaint filed last week, claims St. John's allows senior-level boys called "disciplinarians" to "do what they wish and inflict harm upon the Younger Boys."
One of the boys says he was "bound, gagged and beaten by multiple students." The complaint says that boy has been "diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" as a result of his abuse.
Another boy claims he "witnessed children attempt to commit suicide and, on one occasion, an attempted rape."
The complaint documents other examples of alleged abuse, one which left a boy with a "fractured orbital socket."
"We're going to prosecute this as quickly as possible and try to help each one of these boys and any other boy precluding them, from having to take the abuse this kids had to suffer through,” Zmijewski said.
This is the second time this attorney has gone after the school. The attorney says in recent years the school has settled 9 lawsuits. In fact, years ago, Factfinder12 followed one of the students who settled a lawsuit.
“I'd stay up all night and I had stuff in my bed so it looked like there was somebody in there and I'd hide under my desk,” Julian McCabe said in 2006.
In a statement, the school says it "denies that there was a culture of abuse, lack of institutional control, failure to supervise or any kind of cover-up."
The next move will come from the school... In a formal written response filed with the court.
The families in this lawsuit are also suing the Episcopal Church, because of its affiliation with the school. We contacted the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas. He did not want to comment at this time.
Copyright © 2013, KWCH-TV