Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney Lawsuit Accuses Former Stamford Connecticut Gym Teacher of Abuse
A former Stamford public school gym teacher, who for years has been the subject of whispered allegations, repeatedly sexually assaulted a young boy in his school office in the 1970s, a new lawsuit claims.
The suit, the first filed against Robert Martinez, claims the former teacher assaulted a then 8-year-old boy under the noses of school officials at the former Rogers School. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages against both Martinez, who now lives in Florida, and the Stamford Board of Education, and was filed Monday in Bridgeport Superior Court.
“This is a very disturbing case, because we have been contacted by multiple victims who have made similar claims against Mr. Martinez,” said Cindy Robinson, who represents the plaintiff, who is identified in court papers only as John Doe. “Here we have a situation where parents entrusted their children to the school board, only to have them violated by their own teacher.”
Robinson, whose law firm, Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney, has represented more than two dozen people who settled abuse claims against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, said she expects to file more lawsuits for others who claim they were abused by Martinez.
Stamford Board of Education officials did not return calls for comment. A woman who identified herself as Martinez’s wife said he was not available for comment.
Martinez was never charged with any crime related to the civil suit’s allegations. In the 1970s, there was a five-year statute of limitations for the prosecution of sex abuse cases.
In the suit, the plaintiff, who is now 44, claims that he was sexually molested and fondled by Martinez while a student at Rogers School. The molestation caused the victim to suffer emotional trauma and distress, the suit claims.
The suit claims that the Stamford Board of Education failed to enforce rules prohibiting teachers from having unsupervised access to children and further claims that the school board should have realized that students were at risk because of Martinez’s conduct. Martinez, who later worked as a physical education instructor at Toquam Magnet School, retired from Stamford public schools in 2005.
In July, advertisements were posted in The Advocate and on Facebook by a man looking for other people who might have been abused while attending Rogers during the 1970s and 1980s. At the time, Stamford Schools Superintendent Winifred Hamilton, who saw the ads, consulted with the school district’s human resources and legal departments, and then decided to contact police.
“I asked the city law department to contact Stamford police, to see if there is any record of any report of abuse,” Hamilton said in July.
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, police said. Police talked to all three men, who they said denied being abused at the school, which today houses Domus Trailblazers Academy.
By Dan Tepfer Connecticut Post and Reporter Rob Varnon contributed to this story.