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THE FIRM YOU GO TO WHEN THE
STAKES ARE HIGH

SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUITS

CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUITS

Fighting for Survivors of Student Sexual Abuse in Public & Private CT Schools

If you or someone you love were sexually abused at a school in Connecticut, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and financial compensation for your damages.

Thanks to newly revised laws, survivors of child sexual abuse in Connecticut have decades to step forward with civil claims against their abusers and/or any institutions that failed to protect them. This includes public and private schools responsible for failures in preventing abuse, supervising staff, and properly handling complaints.

Levy Konigsberg is known for litigating some of the nation’s most consequential sexual abuse lawsuits and has a proven record of helping survivors take on powerful institutions, including public and private school systems, universities, and other youth organizations. If you have questions about pursuing a civil claim over sexual abuse that occurred in any school in Connecticut, we want to help.

Levy Konigsberg proudly serves survivors across Connecticut and offers FREE and confidential consultations. To speak with a lawyer, call or contact us online.

Sex Abuse Scandals in Connecticut Schools

Schools across Connecticut have been embroiled in sex abuse scandals throughout the years. Through investigations, public record releases, and legal filings, we know that public and private schools alike have struggled to prevent abuse committed by teachers and staff and that school officials have routinely faced claims related to their negligence in protecting students, improper hiring and supervision of employees, and failures to adequately handle allegations.

Some examples include:

Hotchkiss School

  • In November 2023, a former student filed a federal lawsuit claiming that he and other students were sexually abused by staff at the Hotchkiss School. Like claims brought in the past, the suit alleged that Roy Smith, an athletic director and English teacher employed at the school from 1970 to 2000, routinely invited students to his apartment for “tutoring,” only to molest them instead. The suit claimed that the school’s failures to adequately investigate and report Smith, who died in 2014, enabled him to abuse students without consequence for three decades.
  • In March 2019, a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Hotchkiss School was allowed to proceed after attempts by the school to dismiss the case. The suit was brought by a former student who attended the school in the mid-1980s and was sexually abused at the age of 14 on multiple occasions by dorm proctor and athletic director Roy G. Smith Jr. Smith Jr., also known as “Uncle Roy.” The suit accused school officials of employing Smith despite knowing about past instances of abuse, turning a blind eye to the abuse, and failing to comply with state reporting requirements.
  • In August 2018, an internal probe released by the Hotchkiss School in Salisbury, Connecticut found that the boarding school failed to properly address decades of sexual misconduct committed by staff against students. The investigation, prompted by mounting pressure against the school to acknowledge its troubled history, found substantiated allegations against at least seven staffers (including teachers, an athletic director, medical director, and choral director) and that administrators failed to properly investigate complaints and penalize perpetrators. Among the teachers identified in the report were Leif Thorne-Thomsen, who abused at least seven female students between 1964 and 1992 and was allowed to return as a teacher after he was discovered in a motel room with a student in 1979, and Peter Gott, a former school physician (now deceased) who performed unnecessary gynecological exams and routinely had students undress during his tenure between 1972 and 2005.

Greenwich Country Day School

  • In May 2023, a former student at the Greenwich Country Day School filed a civil lawsuit over claims that he was sexually abused by former biology teacher Peter French at his on-campus apartment beginning when he was a sixth grader at the school. The suit claims that administrators should have known about improper activities involving students and French, who was named in a separate investigation for having sexual contact with at least five students between the 1960s and 1980s, and that they failed to adequately investigate complaints.
  • In April 2018, an internal investigation conducted by school administrators found that two former Greenwich Country Day School teachers sexually abused at least eight students between the late 1960s and 1990s. The teachers named in the investigation were Peter French, who taught at GCDS from 1961 to 1999 and was accused of engaging in sexual contact with at least five students, and Jim Arden who taught from 1970 to 2001.

Westover School

  • In January 2020, a former student from the all-girls Westover School in Middlebury filed a lawsuit accusing the school of turning a blind eye to a teacher who sexually abused her. The former student, who attended the school between 2003 and 2007 and was sexually abused by an unnamed teacher beginning when she was a 15-year-old sophomore, claimed that school officials knew the accused faculty member and squash coach “preyed on minor female students” but failed to report him to authorities or adequately investigate his conduct. The teacher was ultimately fired from the school in 2008 when allegations were reported to authorities.

Indian Mountain School

  • In January 2018, the Indian Mountain School in Salisbury announced that it had made payments to settle two lawsuits brought by former students who were sexually abused by faculty members in the 1980s. Indian Mountain School had previously settled five similar lawsuits in the 1990s, after a police report detailed misconduct involving English teacher Christopher Simonds and former headmaster Peter Carleton.
  • In July 2016, a former Indian Mountain School student filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he was sexually abused over several years by English teacher Chistopher Simonds. The lawsuit claimed that the former student was abused beginning when he was 12 years old in 1980 by Simonds, who would show the boy pornography and supply him with alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. It also alleged that a former headmaster and other staff knew of Simonds crimes, yet continued to employ him and, in the case of former headmaster Peter Carleton, participate in the abuse.

Kent School

  • In May 2017, a former student from the Kent School filed a lawsuit alleging that she was sexually abused by a teacher at the private boarding school in Kent, Connecticut. According to the suit, the student, who attended the school from 1987 and 1990, was sexually abused from 1987 through 1988 by a former teacher at multiple locations around the school’s campus, including his on-campus housing, and other off-campus locations. The suit also claims that at least one other teacher knew about the abuse but failed to report the information to authorities.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Connecticut?

Connecticut has revised several elements of its civil statute of limitations – or the deadline by which Plaintiffs must file suits to be eligible for a recovery of damages – for claims involving sexual abuse.

The statute of limitations for bringing a sexual abuse lawsuit in Connecticut now depends on various factors, including the age of the victim and even the criminal guilt of the alleged abuser.

  • Abuse claims involving victims under 21. In Connecticut, victims who were sexually abused under 21 years of age can file civil claims within 30 years (or until the age of 51) to file civil lawsuits from the date they turn 21, if the abuse occurred on or after October 1, 2019. For claims based on child sexual abuse that occurred before October 1, 2019, survivors have until the age of 48 to file suit. (Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 926 § 52-577d).
  • Claims involving convicted abusers. Thanks to an amendment made effective in 2022, Connecticut has no statute of limitations for civil actions brought against alleged abusers who have been convicted of 1st degree sexual assault or 1st degree aggravated sexual assault. (Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 926 § 52-577e).

Determining the statute of limitations that applies to your case can be challenging. If you have questions about your ability to file a lawsuit, Levy Konigsberg can help during a free and confidential consultation.

Do I Have a Case?

You may have grounds to file a civil legal action if:

  • You were sexually abused by a teacher, coach, or any other school faculty or staff member.
  • The abuse occurred at a public or private school in Connecticut.

At Levy Konigsberg, we support survivors in civil actions that aim to hold the public and private schools accountable for failures to stop abusive staff and protect students. These civil claims are separate from criminal proceedings and focus on holding school officials, school systems, and other responsible entities liable for damages. This means that you may still have a claim even if:

  • Your abuser is no longer alive.
  • Your abuser was never charged or convicted of a crime.

Recoverable Damages in Connecticut School Sex Abuse Claims

In addition to accountability and providing the sense of justice survivors deserve, civil sex abuse lawsuits allow survivors to recover financial compensation for their damages, which may include:

  • Past medical and mental health expenses
  • Future mental health expenses, including therapy, medications, etc.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and psychological harm
  • Lost income
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

 

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg has recovered more than $3 billion in compensation for clients, including millions in compensation for survivors of sexual abuse. We’re passionate about helping survivors seek justice and provide the firepower they need to fight back against powerful institutions and school systems.

If you have questions about pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit against a public or private school in Connecticut, we want to help. Call or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

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