The Glory Has Departed


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Monday, January 11, 2016

From 2008 - WELS Facing a Lawsuit Over Teacher Having Sex with a Student



Judge Lamelas with her father, a Cuban refugee.

Ellie Rodriguez and Brent Biesterfeld's Destination Wedding

Brent's Facebook Page - "B-Rod" - studied at Martin Luther College, selling used cars now

Ellie's Facebook Page

Assault victim sues school, synod

Wisconsin Lutheran teacher was sentenced in '02 for assaulting 2 girls; damages sought

By MARIE ROHDE

mrohde@journalsentinel.com

Posted: May 7, 2008
A civil lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of a girl who was sexually abused by a religion teacher at Wisconsin Lutheran High School beginning when she was a freshman there in 2001.

Past Coverage
B-Rod Sentenced to Prison

The lawsuit accuses the school and church officials of negligence and of covering up the episode. It seeks unspecified damages.

The teacher, Brent Biesterfeld, now 35, was sentenced in July 2002 to 18 months in prison on two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child for assaulting two female students both on and off school grounds.

News article link

The lawsuit seeks damages from Biesterfeld, the school, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the school principal, as well as four insurance companies.

Robert L. Habush, a lawyer representing the girl, who was identified under the alias of Jane Doe, has asked that the lawsuit not reveal the girl's name because of the humiliation, distress and other injuries she has suffered.

According to the lawsuit:

School and church officials should have been aware of a 1999 criminal report on file with the Milwaukee Police Department that accused Biesterfeld of engaging in illicit sexual activities with a minor. No charges were brought as a result of that report.

School and church officials had a duty to disclose the past allegations against Biesterfeld, who was hired by the school in November 1998, the lawsuit states. He was also the basketball and soccer coach for the school, 330 N. Glenview Ave.

The assaults that led to charges against Biesterfeld began in the spring of 2001 when the girl was 15 and in the second semester of her freshman year at the school, according to court records. She was a student in Biesterfeld's religion class and was a member of the teams he coached. According to the lawsuit, Biesterfeld had ongoing sexual contact with the girl between April 2001 and March 2002, when Biesterfeld was arrested.

The teacher had sexual contact with the girl in the school's athletic training room and in classrooms, according to court records, and he had her taken out of other classes for private training sessions and kept her after class had ended, making her tardy for other classes.

School officials should have recognized that Biesterfeld was spending an inordinate amount of time with the girl, and that his relationship with her was not normal, the lawsuit says.

The girl began psychological treatment in 2007 for the injuries she suffered as a result of the assaults, the lawsuit says.

The Rev. James Kleist, superintendent of the school, said Wednesday that he had not seen the lawsuit. He said that the school reported the allegations to authorities as soon as officials learned of it, and that Biesterfeld was immediately removed from the school.

"Our heart goes out to this student and her family," Kleist said. "We are confident that we followed all the right procedures."

The Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of the synod, said Wednesday that he had not seen the lawsuit but added: "We're confident that the legal process is one in which justice will be served."

The case has been assigned to Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Elsa Lamelas.

***

GJ - I warned District Pope Robert Mueller and VP Paul Kuske that there would be grave consequences - not only for their failure to supervise but also for their cover-ups. Their outright deception of the laity was another reason why both of them should have left the ministry. Wally Oelhaven and Fred Adrian went along with the Columbus scam, too. If someone opposed Church Growth or clergy adultery, the District Mission Board honchos were righteously angry.

Notice that Roger Kovaciny (ELS Missionary), Jay Webber (ELS Seminary Rector, Ukraine), and John Shep (ELS Thoughts of Faith) had no qualms in soliciting money from Floyd Luther Stolzenburg. Was Rolf Preus bothered by the situation when he went to Jay and Kovo's little school in the Ukraine? There is no record of any objection made. Jay could not tolerate anyone saying "The Ukraine." He had to correct them right away, saying "Ukraine, not The Ukraine." One must concentrate on important things.

If anyone wonders why I was disgusted with the Wisconsin Sect, read the news story above. Observe how the officials ignored everything and let the abuse happen and continue. If the judge is handed the facts about past WELS abuse and cover-ups, the award will be generous and justified. Adrian and WELS lost a $400,000 case in Grand Rapids, WELS lying to the judge, saying, "We know of no other cases of abuse." That case developed because Adrian's then-married vicar had an extended affair with a minor girl in the congregation. When the girl's lawyer went to the court with the facts, which I helped provide, justice prevailed.

The Wisconsin Synod was likely given a chance to settle this new case out of court. Lawyers prefer that. Filing the lawsuit suggests that WELS refused to settle.

WELS Cases

Scott Zerbe case - He went to state prison.
DP Ed Werner case - He went to state prison.
Al Just case - He went to prison for murder, married his children's babysitter.
William Tabor case - He got away, but his mistress went to prison for murder.

I have a list of other WELS cases, so do not imagine the above names are the only ones.

The Wisconsin Sect teaches that the papacy is the Antichrist, but they invited Archbishop Weakland, a known homosexual and an apologist for pedophilia, to be a featured speaker at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

But then, I keep forgetting the Wisconsin Synod rules. If a pastor has an affair with his secretary, he marries his mistress and keeps his high-paying job. If a pastor has an affair with a congregational member, he gets promoted to a synodical position. If a mission pastor insists on the efficacy of the Word, the synod excommunicates him--through an administrator's letter--and excludes him from the ministry. Yes, WELS is very strict about doctrine.

***

rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Wisconsin Synod Facing Another Lawsuit":

I'm certain that this story will make the cover on the next issue of FIC. The WELS cult of secrecy is made public, one incident at a time. Notice the typical platitudes from WELS powers that be. The spin machine will have to go into full swing to pacify any laity who may be outraged by this. Sexual harassment can be a serious matter in the secular workplace. Most companies take it very seriously and go to great lengths to comply with the law and avoid lawsuits. It is a sad testimony to see a worst track record in the WELS.

***

Norman Teigen has left a new comment on your post "Wisconsin Synod Facing Another Lawsuit":

Greg, I don't understand the connections that you are making here: GJ - I warned District Pope Robert Mueller and VP Paul Kuske that there would be grave consequences - not only for their failure to supervise but also for their cover-ups. Their outright deception of the laity was another reason why both of them should have left the ministry. Wally Oelhaven and Fred Adrian went along with the Columbus scam, too. If someone opposed Church Growth or clergy adultery, the District Mission Board honchos were righteously angry.

Notice that Roger Kovaciny (ELS Missionary), Jay Webber (ELS Seminary Rector, Ukraine), and John Shep (ELS Thoughts of Faith) had no qualms in soliciting money from Floyd Luther Stolzenburg. Was Rolf Preus bothered by the situation when he went to Jay and Kovo's little school in the Ukraine? There is no record of any objection made. Jay could not tolerate anyone saying "The Ukraine." He had to correct them right away, saying "Ukraine, not The Ukraine." One must concentrate on important things.

You were writing about this sad WELS case and then got into this other stuff. Please advise.

Norman Teigen
ELS layman

***

GJ - Floyd Luther Stolzenburg was forced to resign from the LCMS ministry by his DP in St. Louis. That happened on a Saturday. The DP preached for him on Sunday. If you want details, there is a lawsuit filed against Stolzenburg and his wife's divorce decree. Floyd followed his ex-wife back to Columbus, Ohio, where he began looking for another playground. Somehow, without ever joining WELS, Floyd got the WELS officials to lie for him and install him as a "Church Growth Consultant" via Lutheran Parish Resources. He and Roger Zehms, another divorced ex-pastor, ran LPR into the ground in five years.

Here is the connection. I warned the WELS officials that they would be facing many lawsuits for covering up sexual assaults. As one reader said, industry is far more careful about these matters than the denominations are. Mueller and Kuske were not in a listening mood. Mueller/Kuske even tried once or twice to get Stolzenburg into the WELS ministry. Their approach was to get rid of me and support Stolzenburg (who has never been a WELS member). Kuske wrote a letter of reference for Stolzenburg so Floyd could install himself in another call (Emmanuel, Columbus).

It is a long sordid story, a never-ending story.

Norm, if the WELS officials were honest and put church worker arrests into FIC, church workers would be warned that the cover-ups are ending. Are the WELS officials any different from the Roman Catholic officials who simply moved offending priests into new positions? The only difference I see is that the Lutherans are married and have even less of an excuse to assault minors and married women. If someone takes advantage of a married woman while "counseling" her--in his office at church, or in her home alone--he should be canned, caned, and committed to prison, not elevated to synodical office.

The ELS leaders are just as guilty.