Superintendent apologizes for misstatements regarding arrested preschool worker

In a letter to parents and staff members issued Friday, Aug. 29, Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith admitted he erred when responding to parents’ questions regarding the safety of children in light of the conduct of former Miller-Driscoll preschool paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn. State police arrested Mr. Von Kohorn, of Bridgeport, on Wednesday, Aug. 20, for first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance.

In a previous letter to parents, and at a meeting with parents and the community on this issue Monday evening, Aug. 25, Dr. Smith said there was no evidence that any Wilton children were harmed as a result of Mr. Von Kohorn’s actions.

“I relied on information contained in the summary report of the district’s investigation into the allegation,” he wrote Friday. “In doing so, I was not mindful of information contained in a second report that had been submitted to the CT Department of Children and Families (DCF).”

After receiving, and being asked by The Bulletin and other media outlets about, a statement from attorney Paul Slager of Silver Golub & Teitell in Stamford, who represents a family that made a complaint with the school district about Mr. Von Kohorn, Dr. Smith reviewed all the information again.

“It was then that I realized my error,” Dr. Smith wrote. “Specifically, contrary to several answers I gave during the question-and-answer session on Monday, I would like to recognize that there was a situation in which Mr. Von Kohorn reported he did walk a student to the bathroom without other staff members present. While I can’t comment on the specifics because of the active investigation, the second DCF report did contain information that was contrary to information contained in the initial report and the district’s investigation report.

“I sincerely regret my mistake, which could cast doubt on my truthfulness,” he continued. “I am deeply sorry for conveying inaccurate information. My desire all along has been to share information to assist families in finding the truth and providing support to them.

“Our first priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of children,” Dr. Smith wrote, adding information from this incident was shared with the Wilton Police Department and DCF last week. He also said a review of protocols is under way to prevent any further similar situations.

“I hope this clarifies any confusion that my misstatement may have caused,” Dr. Smith concluded. “Going forward, I assure you of my continued intention to provide clear and transparent updates to the community, as information becomes available.”