Second civil suit leveled against The Gunnery in sexual abuse case
Published 11:24 pm, Monday, August 31, 2009
A second civil suit alleging sexual abuses of a student by Robert Reinhardt, former dean of students at The Gunnery, was filed Aug. 20 in Waterbury Superior Court, naming the private preparatory school in Washington as defendant.
"This is an extreme breach of fiduciary responsibility on the part of the school," Mr. Kenny said. "When you take custody as they have of children, the fiduciary responsibility by the school is to make sure those children are protected.
"Children were coming and going in and out of his (Mr. Reinhardt's) apartment all hours of the night. This went on for a considerable length of time, allowing him to do what he did," Mr. Kenny said.
Mr. Kenny added that "it is not appropriate for the school to say it did not know of this. Why didn't they know of it?"
A call to Gunnery Head of School Susan G. Graham was not returned.
The first civil suit, naming Mr. Reinhardt and The Gunnery as defendants, was filed Aug. 10 on behalf of a now 16-year-old boy alleging sexual molestation by Mr. Reinhardt during the 2007-08 school year.
The new suit alleges the male plaintiff was abused by Mr. Reinhardt when he stayed overnight in Mr. Reinhardt's dorm-parent housing on The Gunnery campus from 2006 through 2008. The plaintiff was between 15 and 18 years old at the time, the suit says.
The Gunnery is accused of corporate negligence, breach of duties based on a fiduciary duty or confidential relationship, breach of its special duty of care owed to children and liability.
Mr. Reinhardt was dismissed by The Gunnery in June 2009 after allegations surfaced of sexual abuse of students.
He was charged Aug. 5 in Litchfield County on criminal charges of two counts of second-degree sexual assault, with risk of injury to a minor attached to each charge, and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.
He is free on $750,000 bond with a court date of Sept. 1.
Mr. Reinhardt's attorney, William Dow of New Haven, said at the time the first civil suit was filed the charge in the civil suit are identical to the criminal charges. Mr. Dow said Mr. Reinhardt is denying the criminal charges and will deny the civil charges as well.
Mr. Dow was out of town and unavailable for comment Aug. 20 when the second civil suit was filed.