Wilton’s second attempt at quashing molestation lawsuit is denied
A Stamford Superior Court judge has denied a motion by the attorney for the town and Wilton Board of Education to further argue in favor of dismissing a lawsuit alleging sexual molestation of a preschool child by a former paraprofessional.
Judge Mary Elizabeth Sommer issued her denial on Sept. 25. Sommer had denied the original motion for summary judgment on Aug. 2 in the lawsuit of John Doe PPA v. Wilton Board of Education Et Al.
The lawsuit revolves around allegations by a family that their son, who was 4 at the time, was molested by former Miller-Driscoll paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn while a student in the preschool during the 2013-14 school year. The mother, father and child are plaintiffs in the suit filed Oct. 14, 2016.
The lawsuit alleges that during the winter/spring semester of the 2013-14 school year, Von Kohorn sexually exploited the boy by taking digital photographs of him while his pants were down in the bathroom, resulting in extensive permanent emotional and psychological injuries to the boy.
In his original motion for summary judgment, Thomas R. Gerarde of Howd & Ludorf, LLC, of Hartford, argued immunity shields municipalities from liability for discretionary acts in the performance of public duties. Further, the motion says in Connecticut the duty to supervise school children is a discretionary governmental duty, as is the supervision of public school employees.
There is an exception to that immunity when there is “imminent harm” to an “identifiable victim” and a “public official to whom it is apparent that his or her conduct is likely to subject that victim to that harm.”
Despite the fact another family alleged Von Kohorn molested their daughter prior to the incident with Boy Doe, the motion argued this suit does not meet that standard because, among other instances, Von Kohorn’s “suspected exploitative photographing of Boy Doe was not certain to happen immediately, or even at all.”
The girl’s family also filed a lawsuit, which was settled in May 2018 before going to trial.
Sommer disagreed and in her Aug. 2 denial said the boy “was clearly an identifiable victim.”
Gerarde’s motion to reargue said while the boy may have been identifiable, the harm allegedly done to him was not.
Sommer did not issue any comments with her denial on Wednesday.
In September 2018, the boy’s family, through their attorney Paul A. Slager, put forth a compromise in which the child would receive $5 million and his parents would each receive $150,000.
According to court documents, a trail management conference is scheduled for Nov. 21 and a jury trial has been set for Dec. 11, 2019.