Former Shattuck-St. Mary's drama teacher Lynn Seibel, 71, faces 17 felony counts in Rice County, including second-degree criminal sexual conduct, soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct and using a minor in a sexual performance.
A judge set bail at $200,000 with no conditions or $100,000 with conditions. Prosecutor Paul Beaumaster had asked for $1 million outright bail with a conditional bail of $750,000.
Defense attorney James Martin argued for lower bail, saying Seibel is not a risk to public safety.
"These charges, although they have created a great deal of hysteria in the community, are 10 years old," Martin told Judge John Cajacob. "Mr. Seibel is 71 years old. He has health problems. He has connections to the state. He is not a risk to the public."
The incidents allegedly happened from 1996 through 2003 and involved male students ages 15 to 18. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and police say the incidents took place in school classrooms and the dormitory.
After the hearing, Martin said he sees possible issues with the statute of limitations as well as where the case would be tried.
"We've seen the charges, but we haven't seen the evidence yet. I think one of the problems is, because of the publicity, people have their mind made up," Martin said.
Seibel was fired from the school in 2003, after child pornography was discovered on his computer, but police were apparently not informed and he was never charged, authorities said. He worked at Shattuck-St. Mary's, a college preparatory boarding school for the sixth through 12th grades, from 1992 to 2003.
"Today marks an important milestone in the effort to determine the facts of this case and to see that justice is done; in support of those goals, we will continue our work with law enforcement and continue to provide assistance as requested," Shattuck-St. Mary's officials said in a statement.
In June, a community corrections agent from Olmsted County in southeastern Minnesota told police that a young man with whom she'd been working told her that Seibel had forced him and other students to sexually touch themselves in front of him. While investigating that allegation, police uncovered other former students who said they also had been abused, officials said.
Seibel was charged in Minnesota in October. He was being held in Los Angeles on an unrelated charge, but a prosecutor in Los Angeles County told the Faribault Daily News ( http://bit.ly/15gYrPS) that charge was dropped earlier this month so the Rice County case could be prosecuted.
Seibel remained in the Rice County Jail Tuesday.
Information from: Faribault Daily News, http://www.faribault.com