Childhood Sex Abuse Cases Settle for $3.25 Million
Tremont Sheldon P.C. represents victims of child abuse within public schools. These particular cases present difficult legal challenges. Very often there is little corroborating proof. With the passage of time, memories fade, people pass away and liability becomes difficult to prove. Proving damages is also a challenge in many cases as victims of childhood sexual abuse frequently suffer other trauma in their lives, struggle with drugs and alcohol, and have family and career challenges so expert witnesses need to be retained.
This past month, attorneys were able to settle five childhood sexual abuse cases for $3.25 million. These five cases had all of the above mentioned challenges plus one very significant additional hurdle – municipal immunity. Tragically, our five clients were sexually abused by their elementary school gym teacher in the late 1970s / early 1980s while students at the Rogers Elementary School in Stamford.
Attorneys first argued that the Stamford Board of Education had a ministerial duty to report childhood sexual abuse. Concerned that argument may not ultimately be successful, they took several dozen depositions of former students and staff at Rogers to position the case to take advantage of the “imminent harm / identifiable victim” exception to municipal immunity. In addition, they disclosed an internationally recognized expert on the prevention of child abuse in institutional settings such as schools who found fault with the school board. After years of litigation, the cases settled in June of 2018, just before jury selection was scheduled to begin, for $3.25 million.