Gunnery School sued over alleged sexual abuse by former dean
Claim alleges sexual abuse by former dean
WASHINGTON -- A second civil suit alleging sexual abuse of a student by Robert Reinhardt, former dean of students at The Gunnery, was filed Thursday in Waterbury Superior Court, naming the private preparatory school as a defendant.
The plaintiff, called John Roe, is not identified.
"This is an extreme breach of fiduciary responsibility on the part of the school," Kenny said Thursday. "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 (Reinhardt's) apartment all hours of the night. This went on for a considerable length of time, allowing him to do what he did," Kenny said.
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 on Thursday afternoon was not returned. The secretary answering Graham's phone indicated she was unaware of the suit being filed.
The first civil suit, naming Reinhardt and The Gunnery as defendants, was filed Aug. 10 by New London attorney Robert Reardon Jr. on behalf of a now-16-year-old boy alleging sexual molestation by Reinhardt during the 2007-08 school year.
The new suit alleges the male plaintiff was abused by Reinhardt when he stayed overnight in Reinhardt's dorm-parent housing on the Gunnery campus from 2006 through 2008.
During this time, the boy was "an overnight guest of Reinhardt on approximately 13 occasions" while he was a day student, residential student or a recent graduate of the school and was between 15 and 18 years old, the suit says.
On approximately eight of those occasions, "the plaintiff was subjected to increasingly invasive sexual contact for the purpose of Reinhardt's sexual gratification," the suit says.
The suit alleges that, among other things, Reinhardt "inappropriately caressed and touched the body of the plaintiff for his own sexual gratification."
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff has suffered feelings of humiliation, embarrassment, anger, painful memory, depression, anxiety and feelings of exploitation, among other psychological conditions, as a result of the alleged acts by Reinhardt.
The plaintiff has spent money on psychological counseling and may require further psychiatric treatment, 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.
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 assault.
He is free on $750,000 bond with a court date of Sept. 1.
Reinhardt's attorney, William Dow of New Haven, said at the time the first civil suit was filed that the charges in the civil suit brought by Reardon are identical to the criminal charges. Dow said Reinhardt is denying the criminal charges and will deny the civil charges as well.
Dow was out of town and unavailable for comment Thursday when the second civil suit was filed.
Contact Susan Tuz