In the News

Sexual Abuse Case Filed Against The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT

Posted on February 5, 2015

By Daniel Tepfer

BRIDGEPORT – A second exclusive Connecticut boarding school has been accused in a lawsuit of allowing a young boy to be fondled and raped by a teacher and sexually assaulted by multiple students in the mid-1980s.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court here, is against the 123-year-old The Hotchkiss School, a private college preparatory boarding school in Lakeville.

Within the past few months, two other similar lawsuits were filed against nearby The Indian Mountain School, also located in Lakeville and also an exclusive private boarding and day school. The Indian Mountain School cases also allege sexual assault and rape of young schoolboys by faculty.

The lawsuit, which refers to the plaintiff only as “John Doe,” a New York resident, claims

He was a slight 14-year-old when he was ritually sexually hazed and assaulted by groups of older students. The ritual was well-known to Hotchkiss officials, and had been going on at the school for many years, the suit states. Although the plaintiff reported the assaults to staff, they did nothing other than to ask him “if his bottom was feeling better,” it alleges.

“Hotchkiss knew and should have known that it employed and exposed young vulnerable children to a teacher who sexually desired pubescent schoolboys,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Antonio Ponvert III of the Bridgeport-based firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder. “The victim reported the rape to the school health services counselor and to his faculty advisor, both of whom did nothing to protect him.”

When the plaintiff was 15, a faculty member, Roy G. Smith, Jr., known at the school as “Uncle Roy,” drugged him “into semi-unconsciousness with a pill that he misrepresented as an aspirin” and then raped him, the lawsuit states. The plaintiff wrote an article for the student newspaper about the failure of the school to appropriately respond to complaints. The headmaster forbade publication and even “conspired to prevent John from informing the students, their parents and the school community about Smith’s sexual assault and his aberrant and predatory propensities and behavior,” the suit says.

“The school’s unconscionable betrayal of this defenseless and vulnerable child’s trust inflicted a lifetime of humiliation, shame, disgust and suffering,” Ponvert said.