Town, schools face second sexual abuse lawsuit

A second Wilton family is suing the Town of Wilton and Board of Education for at least $15,000 after they claim their son, referred to as “Boy Doe,” was sexually exploited by former Miller-Driscoll paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn in 2013-14.

“While our policy is not to comment on pending litigation,” Board of Education Chair Bruce Likly told The Bulletin on Monday, Nov. 28, “I can tell you that the safety and well-being of all of our students is always of paramount importance to the Wilton Public Schools.”

Von Kohorn worked at Miller-Driscoll from 2007 until he was arrested in August 2014 and charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a female student (“Girl Doe”), whose family is also suing the town and school district, at the school during the 2012-13 school year.

He pled guilty to the reduced charge of second-degree illegal possession of child pornography and was sentenced to six years in prison, suspended after two years served, and 10 years probation in October 2015.

Both families are represented by Paul Slager and Michael Kennedy of Stamford’s Silver Golub & Teitell LLP.

According to the new complaint, filed on Oct. 19, Von Kohorn sexually exploited Boy Doe when he was a four- and five-year-old preschool student during the winter and spring semesters of 2013 and the 2013-14 school year.

After Miller-Driscoll Special Education Director Fred Rapcyznski, who retired earlier this year, received reports of disturbing conduct by Von Kohorn relating to interactions with Girl Doe in early-January 2013, he and the Human Resources Department reassigned Von Kohorn to a different classroom, according to the complaint.

Boy Doe was a student in Von Kohorn’s new classroom and had “frequent contact with Von Kohorn,” according to the complaint.

Although Boy Doe was fully toilet trained, Von Kohorn “regularly took [him] alone into the Miller-Driscoll school bathrooms,” where he “sexually exploited and injured Boy Doe by taking digital images of [him] while his pants were down,” according to the complaint.

Other Miller-Driscoll employees and authorized agents “negligently permitted” Von Kohorn to take Boy Doe to the bathroom alone, according to the complaint, thus “violating their non-discretionary obligation to prevent him from doing so.”

The Wilton Board of Education was “legally responsible for any acts and omissions of its agents, employees and/or the staff working at Miller-Driscoll that affected the safety and well-being of the Miller-Driscoll students, including Boy Doe,” according to the complaint.

By reassigning Von Kohorn to a different classroom where he had direct contact with students like Boy Doe, the complaint continues, Miller-Driscoll and Human Resources Department staff members “negligently placed Boy Doe under the threat of imminent harm.”

As a result of what happened in the bathroom, Boy Doe suffered “serious and permanent damages, as well as extensive permanent emotional and psychological injuries arising directly from the digital exploitation he suffered,” according to the complaint.

“Boy Doe has suffered and will continue to suffer significant loss in the enjoyment of his life’s activities,” according to the complaint, as well as:

  • “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder;

  • Loss of self-esteem;

  • Learning difficulties;

  • Sleep disturbances;

  • Fear and anxiety;

  • Adverse behavioral changes;

  • Learning difficulties and disabilities;

  • Disruption in his interactions and relationships;

  • Negative changes in the way [he] functions and will function in the world.”

The complaint also states that Boy Doe “has and will suffer economic losses for costs of treatment over the course of his lifetime.”

The Board of Education “functioned as an arm or agency of [the] Town of Wilton,” according to the complaint, and the town is “legally responsible for any damages assessed against the [board] as a results of the injuries suffered by Boy Doe.”

The board had an obligation to remove Von Kohorn from having contact with preschool students at the school, according to the complaint, and it “breached its obligation by failing to do so.”

When the board assigned Von Kohorn to their son’s classroom, not only was Boy Doe placed “under the threat of imminent harm,” but so were his parents, states the complaint, in which they are referred to as Mother and Father Doe.

Both parents have suffered “emotional injury,” according to the complaint, which “also … resulted in additional injury to Boy Doe,” and their emotional distress was “severe enough that it resulted in injury or bodily harm” to them both.

Rapcyznski and the Board of Education’s conduct was the cause of their distress, the complaint states.

As of Monday, Nov. 28, no hearings or trial date had been set in Stamford Superior Court.