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Second family files sexual abuse lawsuit against town and schools

November 23, 2016

By Wilton Bulletin on November 22, 2016.

The town of Wilton and Wilton Board of Education are facing another lawsuit from a second Wilton family, which has alleged that former Wilton preschool paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn sexually exploited their son in 2013-14.

The child was a preschooler when Von Kohorn worked at the Miller-Driscoll School as a preschool paraprofessional. Von Kohorn, who had worked at the school for about seven years, was arrested by Connecticut State Police on Aug. 20, 2014. He was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance. He later pled guilty to illegal possession of child pornography and in 2015 was sentenced to six years in prison suspended after two years served and 10 years probation.

The family is represented by Paul Slager and Michael Kennedy of Stamford’s Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, the same attorneys who represent the family of a female student whose parents sued the town of Wilton and the Wilton Board of Education in 2015, alleging she was sexually assaulted by Von Kohorn in a Miller-Driscoll bathroom. A civil summons was issued Oct. 19.

According to a statement issued Nov. 22 by Slager, this lawsuit alleges that Von Kohorn took the boy alone into a Miller-Driscoll bathroom and photographed him in the bathroom stall while the child’s pants were down. The family does not know what Von Kohorn did with the images or whether and where the images were distributed, which, according to the lawsuit, is a source of considerable distress for the family.

The complaint alleges, among other things, that:

  • In January 2013, Wilton Board of Education staff members received a report from the parents of a female Miller-Driscoll preschool student — the student whose family brought the first lawsuit against Wilton related to Von Kohorn — that she had reported being sexually assaulted by Von Kohorn in a school bathroom and that the parents had noticed visible injuries and irritation to her genital area.
  • During the school’s investigation, Von Kohorn initially denied taking the girl — who was fully toilet-trained — alone into the bathroom, and then, in a second interview, admitted he had lied during the first interview and that he actually had taken the girl alone into the bathroom, despite the fact she did not require assistance toileting.
  • Miller Driscoll’s pre-school director, Dr. Fred Rapczynski, notified the Human Resources department of the Wilton Board of Education of these facts after receiving the report from the parents and interviewing Von Kohorn.
  • Rapczynski also reported the incidents to the Department of Child and Family Services (DCF), including the fact that his own investigation “did not support the girl’s claims,” after which DCF made Rapczynksi aware that the DCF would not be performing its own investigation into the matter based on Rapczynski’s report.
  • The Board of Education performed no further investigation of its own into the alleged sexual abuse of the female student and did not discipline, suspend or reprimand Von Kohorn in any way.
  • The Board of Education instead removed Von Kohorn from the girl’s classroom and then placed him into another classroom where he continued to work directly with other Miller-Driscoll preschool students, including the boy in the current case.

The complaint further alleges that the boy — the plaintiff in the current lawsuit — was a student in the preschool class to which Von Kohorn was reassigned, after Rapczynski and the Board of Education knew of the girl’s reports of sexual abuse. After Von Kohorn began working in the boy’s classroom, the case says, Von Kohorn took the boy alone to the bathroom, where he photographed him with his pants down.

The plaintiff does not specify the amount of damages sought in the case.

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