Two men are suing a former long-term substitute gym teacher at John Wallace Middle School alleging that he repeatedly sexually assaulted and abused them at the school 24 years ago.
A. second lawsuit was filed Thursday claiming Stamford school officials failed to protect children from being abused by a public school gym teacher in the 1970s. The latest lawsuit, filed in Superior Court here, brings to seven the number of men who claim they were abused by the same teacher, Robert Martinez when they were children. All were between 8 and 10 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, according to the lawsuits. "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 be alone with them in his private office where he molested them," said Cindy Robinson, who represents the seven plaintiffs. She said she anticipates filing more lawsuits against the school system as more victims of Martinez come forward.
Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney is currently representing victims and investigating child sexual abuse that occurred at Rogers Elementary School in Stamford, Connecticut. The victims, all of whom were young boys at the time, claim that a former male gym teacher sexually abused them at Rogers School while they attended the school in the 1970s.
A man claiming to have been abused while a student at Rogers Elementary School in the 1970s has prompted a new review of police reports at the school going back three decades. "I asked the City Law Department to contact Stamford Police to see if there is any record of any report of abuse," said Stamford schools SuperintendentWinifred Hamilton earlier this week in response to an advertisement in The Advocate and posted on Facebook by a man looking for other people who may have been abused while attending Rogers during the 1970s and 1980s. Hamilton said she saw the ad and consulted with the schools' human resources and legal departments, and then decided to reach out to police. "First we're going to go through our legal counsel," she said. "We need to see the credence of this so we can act on it, then we'd all be involved." Hamilton, who has been with the district for decades, including as a teacher, said she has no information on the allegations. This is not the first time allegations of child abuse at the old Rogers School have been raised. In 2010, a woman gave police the name of three boys who were allegedly abused by a teacher at the school during the same period, said Police Sgt. Sean Scanlan. "We could not find anything to substantiate the allegations," Scanlan said Friday. Police talked to all three men, who denied being abused at the school, which today houses Domus Trail Blazers Academy, Scanlan said. The police also pulled the personnel file of the teacher accused of being involved and found no evidence of abuse in the 300-page file, Scanlan said. The teacher has since retired and moved out of state.Contacted by phone, he said he did not abuse any children and had never been accused of such a thing. He also said he was never contacted by investigators in 2010. ....... While it was a long time ago, Scanlan urged anyone with knowledge of an act of child sex abuse to report the crime. He said in serious cases of child abuse, perpetrators can still be charged and tried even decades later. "The clock doesn't start until the crime is reported," he said of crimes deemed particularly serious. According to the state Office of Legislative Research, there is no statute of limitations on first-degree sexual assault of a minor, employing minors in obscene performances or for aggravated sexual assault. For second-degree sexual assault of minors between the ages of 13 and 16 by a person three years or more older, the crime must be reported within five years of when it happened. For child sexual abuse, exploitation or assault, criminal prosecution can occur up to 30 years after the victim reaches the age of consent. ..... The man who took out the advertisement looking for others who may have been abused while at Rogers Elementary School said in a phone interview that he was 10 years old when he was kept after school and raped by a teacher at the school. He is now 44 years old, and blocked out the worst of the memories for years, but recently began to confront his past, he said. He hopes that by coming forward now he can expose a person who might have done this to others and could still be doing it to this day. It's not uncommon for victims of child abuse to not report the crime until later in life, according to a lawyer who has worked on similar cases. "Children don't come forward," said Cindy Robinson, a lawyer with the law firm Tremont and Sheldon in Bridgeport. "They blame themselves." Robinson's firm represented a victim abused by a doctor at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, and won a $2.75 million judgment that was upheld by the state Supreme Court on Wednesday. It was a stroke of luck that helped Tremont and Sheldon win its client's case: a couple who bought the doctor's former home found a massive stash of child pornography in the wall in the basement of the house, which provided documentation of the abuse. The firm sued the hospital for failing to prevent Dr. George Reardon from abusing its client over a period of several years. The child porn found in the house helped win that case, and proved that Reardon, who died in 1998 without being charged with any crimes, abused hundreds of other victims. The hospital has settled dozens of other cases with Reardon's victims. Robinson is not part of the alleged Rogers Elementary School case, but she said there are similarities to the St. Francis case, such as looking at whether the school district had proper policies in place to guard against abuse. She said many people do come forward seeking to file criminal charges as adults only to find out, due to the nature of the crime committed against them, that the statue of limitations has run out. They are, however, allowed to pursue a civil action until they reach the age of 48, in the state of Connecticut. Robinson said taking out advertisements is fairly new for victims, but is a way advocates and lawyers can find other victims to corroborate abusive behavior. As reported in Stamford Advocate by Rob Varnon