Lawsuit: What Breck School knew about William Jacobs abuse, history

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) –

A Wisconsin man is suing the elite Breck School and William Jacobs, alleging he was sexually abused by Jacobs over a three year period, starting when he was 12 years old.

Jacobs, a former Minneapolis Park Police chief and former Breck teacher, was given a maximum 18-year prison sentence earlier this year for the abuse of a 15-year-old boy over a period of three years, also beginning when that victim was 12.

Prosecutors say there are other victims dating back to when Jacobs was a chemistry teacher at Breck School, but the cases are too old to press charges.

Richard Covin, now 50 years old, spoke at a news conference Thursday afternoon alongside St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, saying shame kept him quiet for decades.

“I was embarrassed. I was afraid,” he said.

Anderson also released a statement from Jacobs detailing information about which Breck School officials knew of Jacobs’ past and when they knew it.

Covin is alleging Breck school officials covered up other abuse at the school and failed to alert students to the danger of a teacher with “pedophilic tendencies” in their midst.

“This man … knew that this man was a pedophile, and he knew that I was a kid hanging out with Jacobs,” said Covin of the school’s headmaster at the time, John Littleford.

Jacobs admitted to attorneys that parents of two other children told Littleford that he had molested their sons before he ever molested Covin.

Covin claims that Littleford kept the cases quiet — and didn’t call police — to preserve the school’s reputation.

“He chose to keep it a secret. Why? To protect who? The reputation of the school that he presided over,” Anderson said.

FOX 9 news attempted to contact Littleford, who is now an education consultant in Louisiana, for comment, but he could not be reached.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Breck School said, “It would not be appropriate for us to comment on pending litigation, but I can tell you that Breck has an unwavering commitment to protecting the safety and security of our students.”

The lawsuit says the school wasn’t the only one to drop the ball because Jacobs also taught at Blake School and was accused of molesting another child, along with several other children at YMCA’s Camp Warren.

According to the lawsuit, Covin claims both schools discovered the abuse and sent Jacobs to various psychologists before quietly firing Jacobs and failing to notify police.

A similar lawsuit was dismissed nearly two years ago because the allegations dated back 35 years, which is outside the statute of limitations; however, alleging fraud on the part of the school given the new information from Jacobs could play out differently in court.

The first hearing in this suit is expected later this month.

All told, Jacobs is believed to have molested between 18 and 22 children.