BRIDGEPORT, Feb. 11, 2015 – Two former students of the Rogers School in Stamford have filed separate lawsuits alleging sexual abuse and assault by a teacher. These are the fourth and fifth cases to be filed in connection with abuse by the same individual – and more are expected.
The lawsuits were filed today in Bridgeport Superior Court against the Stamford Board of Education, Robert Martinez, a Rogers School physical education teacher, and Edward Mathews, Principal of Rogers School, which serves children from Kindergarten through Grade 8.
The suits were filed by Thomas Carter, now a resident out-of-state, and Patrick Doe, who obtained court permission for the pseudonym because the matter involves childhood sexual molestation, is of a highly sensitive and personal nature, and disclosure would cause him additional humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress.
“Tragically, these assaults have had lasting effects on all of the victims as they saw Mr. Martinez as a respected role model who then betrayed their confidence and violated their person,” said the attorney representing the plaintiffs in both cases, of Tremont Sheldon P.C. “It is hard to understand how a pedophile, a sexual predator, was allowed free and unsupervised access to elementary school children.”
“Parents entrusted their children to the school board only to have them grossly violated by their own teacher,” attorney added. She currently represents a total of seven victims of the sexual assaults and said she intends to file additional lawsuits. She represents plaintiffs in the first three suits, filed in 2014 against the same defendants.
Board of Education records indicate Mr. Martinez was hired by the Stamford Board of Education in 1972 as a physical education instructor at Rogers School until 1982. He then worked at the Hart Elementary School in Stamford as a gym teacher through 1991, moving to the Toquam School in Stamford, also as a gym teacher, from 1991 through 2005 at which time he retired.
In September of 2010, the Stamford Police Department Special Investigations-Juvenile Offenses Unit requested Mr. Martinez’ school personnel file in connection with a criminal investigation but, as of today, nothing has come of the investigation.
The victims, now in their 40s, attended Rogers School in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“Schools have a duty to supervise teachers but in this case Martinez was routinely allowed to call boys out of class and keep boys after gym class so that he could spend time alone with them in his private office where he molested them,” attorney said.
The two latest lawsuits say that the school board “knew or should have known that the defendant Martinez had unchaperoned access to minor students, including the minor plaintiff(s), in his private office.”
As well, the suits say “it was commonly known among the student body and/or faculty that the defendant Martinez spent alone time with minor students, including the minor plaintiff(s), in his private office.”
“These plaintiffs lost the ability to enjoy their childhood and their adolescence,” attorney said. “They suffered from physical injury at the time of the assaults but will have to deal with deep emotional trauma for their entire lives.”
About the Firm
Tremont Sheldon P.C. represents clients throughout the State of Connecticut in all claims of personal injury. The firm has been continually ranked by U.S. News & World Report and other publications as a top law firm in Connecticut for personal injury work. Areas of focus include: car and truck accidents, clergy sexual abuse, defective products, dog bites, dram shop (bars over-serving alcohol), falls, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, nursing home neglect and elder abuse, public transportation accidents, security issues, sexual abuse (teachers, coaches, medical professionals), spinal cord injuries, workplace injuries and wrongful death. /