Family sues Wilton, claims child was molested

Although he is now incarcerated, Wilton must deal with the aftermath of Eric Von Kohorn’s actions while he was a paraprofessional at Miller-Driscoll School. The family of a student has filed a civil lawsuit against both the town and the school district, alleging Von Kohorn sexually abused her.

The suit alleges Von Korn sexually assaulted the preschool student in a school bathroom during the 2012-13 school year.

The family — referred to as Doe in the complaint — is represented by attorney Paul Slager of Silver Golub & Teitell in Stamford.

The first count of the complaint, dated Oct. 13, 2015, and distributed by Slager, is against the Wilton Board of Education. It says the girl’s mother dropped her off at school on Jan. 2, 2013 and Von Kohorn escorted her into the building. Shortly after, the complaint says, “Von Kohorn escorted Girl Doe alone into a deserted bathroom inside Miller-Driscoll” where he “inappropriately touched, sexually assaulted and battered” her.

It also says at least one other school staff member knew Von Kohorn was taking the girl into the bathroom alone, but failed to stop him.

When the girl went home, her mother noticed visible irritation to her genital area and the girl said Von Kohorn “wiped her too hard.”

The lawsuit further claims the girl’s parents reported the incident to preschool director Dr. Fred Rapczynski, referred to as “principal.” The lawsuit claims Rapczynski violated his legal obligation to report the allegation to the state Department of Children and Families within 12 hours, instead waiting four days before making the legally mandated report.

The complaint also claims Rapczynski submitted a signed report to DCF indicating Von Kohorn admitted taking the girl to the bathroom, but then separately informed the girl’s parents his investigation concluded just the opposite: that Von Kohorn had never taken the girl to the bathroom at all. Based on Rapczynski’s false representations, the suit alleges, the girl’s parents permitted her to have further contact with Von Kohorn, which caused her additional trauma.

There are three further counts to the complaint — by the girl and the parents — as to the town of Wilton, claiming it is legally responsible for any damages assessed against the Wilton Board of Education.

In addition to the injuries suffered by the girl, the lawsuit alleges the mother and father have suffered physical and emotional injury from knowing they did not seek timely treatment for their daughter based on Rapczynski’s inaccurate information. Their emotional distress, the complaint says, was severe enough it might result in illness or bodily harm to the parents.

The family is seeking compensatory damages in excess of the minimum of $15,000.

Von Kohorn pleaded guilty to one count of illegal possession of child pornography and on Oct. 23 was sentenced to six years in prison, suspended after two years, and 10 years of probation. He was arrested Aug. 20, 2014, on charges of first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance after a state police investigation. He was removed from school grounds June 11, 2014, and resigned five days later. He was not allowed to return.

Allegations of Von Kohorn’s misdeeds with a preschooler surfaced publicly shortly after his arrest. Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith told parents, via a letter issued Aug. 21, there had been no information from state police indicating Von Kohorn had acted inappropriately with children.

In addition, he wrote, “There are no reports to date of staff members ever observing any behavior that would be considered inappropriate,” adding that Von Kohorn had no disciplinary record in his personnel file,.

A few days later, however, Slager said the family he is representing had indeed brought Von Kohorn’s actions to the school district’s attention. On Aug. 29, Smith admitted he was mistaken, saying he had relied on one report, and not a second report that had been submitted to DCF, confirming Von Kohorn had taken the girl to the bathroom.