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December 8, 2020
By Jeannette Ross | The Hour & The Wilton Bulletin | WILTON, CT (December 8, 2020) — A third Wilton family has sued the town and the Board of Education, claiming former paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn sexually assaulted their child while he was a preschool student at Miller-Driscoll School.
The complaint, filed Oct. 20 in Stamford court, states “Von Kohorn groomed, sexually exploited, abused, assaulted and injured,” the 4-year-old boy with disabilities during the 2013-14 school year.
The latest lawsuit follows complaints by two other families against Von Kohorn over the years. The first, filed by parents on behalf of their daughter who was allegedly sexually assaulted in a Miller-Driscoll bathroom during the 2012-13 school year by Von Kohorn, was settled in 2018.
A second lawsuit, filed by the parents of a boy, appeared headed for settlement in February before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted court proceedings. In that case, the suit alleges Von Kohorn took the boy into a deserted Miller-Driscoll bathroom and photographed him in the bathroom stall while the child’s pants were down. A trial management conference is scheduled for March 2021.
No criminal charges were filed in either case, but Von Kohorn spent 18 months in jail after being convicted in 2015 of possession of child pornography.
Despite knowing about the incident involving the young female student, the suit argues, the preschool director and district human resources department failed to fully investigate whether Von Kohorn had sexually abused the girl and failed to provide additional supervision of his contact with students.
The latest complaint argues school and district administrators should have known Von Kohorn was a threat to the boy, following previous sexual assault allegations made against the parapofessional.
The family is being represented by Paul Slager and Michael Kennedy of Silver Golub & Teitell, of Stamford, the same attorneys who represented the other two families. The town and Board of Education are again represented by Howd & Ludorf, of Hartford.
Both firms did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
According to the complaint, the boy, referred to as James Doe, was disabled and 4 and 5 years old during the 2013-14 school year, and came into close contact with Von Kohorn during that time.
The suit states the boy “suffered physical injuries and serious and permanent damages, as well as extensive permanent emotional and psychological injuries flowing directly from the physical injuries and abuse he suffered.”
Her family’s formal complaint, filed in 2015, also alleged the preschool director waited four days before reporting the parents’ complaint to the Department of Children and Families.
Von Kohorn was then assigned to a different classroom, where he came in contact with the second student, whose family filed a lawsuit in 2016.
The most recent complaint alleges the preschool director and staff knew or should have known James Doe was “an identifiable victim” who “faced the threat of imminent harm from contact with Von Kohorn, a known alleged sexual abuser.”
The family is seeking damages in excess of $15,000.
Includes previous reporting by Pat Tomlinson and John Nickerson