Well known for its zealous representation of sexual abuse victims, the law firm of Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney P.C. this month filed three lawsuits against Daniel Checovetes, long-time director within Massachusetts’s community theater circuit, on behalf of three female clients. The suits allege that in 2008, the three women, then ages 14, 16 and 17 respectively, came under Checovetes’s tutelage when they participated in the Naugatuck Teen Theater program where he served as director for teen and community theater performances.

As reported in the Connecticut Post and other newspapers, the lawsuits name not only Checovetes as a defendant, but also the Landmark Community Theatre, Inc., the Naugatuck Teen Theater, LLC, the Thomaston Opera House, and the Warner Theatre. The suits claim that employees of these theaters failed to properly oversee Checovetes’s interactions with teenagers even though they knew at the time that some of their employees had received criminal convictions for child pornography possession.

“Open secret”

In a statement to the press, senior partner Jason E. Tremont stated the following: “It appeared it was an open secret within the theater community. The culture was such that we believe adult participants knew but chose not to report the abuse.”

The girls themselves did not report the abuse to law enforcement officials at the time it occurred. Now in their twenties, one of them, however, recently came forward in an attempt to prevent similar abuse from happening to other teens.

Grooming process

The lawsuits allege that Checovetes abused the girls between 2009 and 2016. First, he groomed them by using his position to cast them in acting and/or production roles. His ulterior motive? To gain their trust and give him extensive access to them. Eventually, he began sexually assaulting them not only at the theaters but also at his home and in his vehicle.