A former student of Devereux Glenholme School in Washington has sued the school and former school employees in district court for $20 million.

The suit claims Schelle Hodges, now 47, was sexually assaulted while a student at the school from 1981 to 1982.

She filed suit July 30 in state district court naming as defendants the Glenholme School, former school nurse Claudia Nicholas, Nicholas’ husband, Stephen Nicholas, and John Doe one, two and three.

According to the suit, Hodges was 13 when attending the school in 1981 and, during that year, was assaulted by the school nurse and her husband.

The John Doe defendants refer to three supervisors at the school who the suit claims were or should have been aware Nicholas was unfit for her position and should have supervised Nicholas’ interaction with students in a manner to prevent the assault Hodges claims to have experienced.

“My client should be proud of herself for coming forward,” said Mitchell Garabedian, lead counsel in Hodges’ suit. “In doing so she is empowering herself and other sexual abuse victims and making the world a safer place for children.”

Glenholme School, located along Sabbaday Lane, is a private co-educational boarding school that provides therapeutic programs to address “varying levels of academic, social and emotional development” for boys and girls aged 10 to 18, according to the school website.

Marc Bonaguide, the clinical director at Glenholme, declined to comment on the specific allegation based on state law requirements.

“We have received the complaint and are conducting a thorough and thoughtful investigation,” Bonaguide said. “Unfortunately, the elapsed time may present challenges.

“The former staff member in question has not been employed with our organization for more than 25 years,” he added, “but we will do all we can to discover the true facts in this case. We take this complaint very seriously.”

Bonaguide said Glenholme’s focus is to provide an outstanding educational and therapeutic environment for the students it serves.

Hodges suit claims both Nicholas and her husband sexually abused her after Nicholas befriended her following treatment at the nurse’s office at the school. The abuse is claimed to have happened both in the nurse’s office and at the Nicholas home, where she and Hodges would walk from Hodges’ dormitory on the school campus.

Nicholas and her husband also are accused of giving Hodges marijuana and alcohol and coercing her into engaging in sexual acts with both of them. The suit claims Hodges was physically abused and threatened with physical harm to keep quiet about the abuse.

The filing also claims Nichols went to Hodges’ home in Westport, where Hodges was spending a weekend with her parents in 1982, and tried to lure her away from the home one night. Hodges did not return to the school after that incident, the suit states.

The suit lists 13 claims including assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty.

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