Indian Mountain School has been hit with another lawsuit claiming a former English teacher sexually abused a student, and that staff knew and failed to do anything.
In the latest federal lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Ramsay Gourd claims he was sexually assaulted by Christopher Simonds from 1977-1980, beginning when he was 12 years old. The latest lawsuit comes after the school settled three recent claims.
Simonds has been accused of sexually assaulting several boys at the private boarding school decades ago. The school reached confidential settlements with two of the alleged victims in January.
There is no statute of limitations in Connecticut to pursue civil sexual assault claims. Criminal charges were never filed.
The newest lawsuit claims Gourd, who now lives in Vermont, was groomed by Simonds. School staff, including then-headmaster Peter Carleton, knew of the abuse, but did nothing to stop it, the lawsuit added. Simonds, who is now deceased, taught at the school from 1973 until he resigned in 1985.
The lawsuit alleges Gourd and other students were known as Simonds’ “boys” or “pets,” and that Simonds gave them marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol, LSD and cocaine. The former teacher also allegedly showed the boys pornography, and took photographs of them to blackmail them into silence.
“Despite knowing of Simonds’ history of perverted, manipulative and sexually abusive treatment of young boys, and despite knowing that the school housed and employed a sexual predator and pedophile, the board, the headmaster, the assistant headmaster, the school’s staff psychiatrist, the school’s registered nurse, and the school’s lawyer allowed this sick and dangerous man to continue to have unfettered access to young vulnerable boys to satisfy his prurient sexual desires,” according to the lawsuit.
“Another brave victim of the school’s negligence has come forward seeking justice for the horrific abuse he suffered as a child,” Gourd’s attorney, Antonio Ponvert III of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, said in a written statement Monday. “As in the previous cases, the school will be held accountable.”
It’s alleged school officials became aware in the spring of 1977 that Simonds possessed pornography that depicted adults sexually assaulting and abusing children. The school is accused of covering up the abuse “so that victims and victims’ parents would not learn of the school’s culpability in Simonds’ abuse and would not sue the school,” according to the lawsuit.
It’s also alleged that Carleton, who is also deceased, admitted that after the school confirmed Simonds was a child abuser and allowed him to resign, he and the school chose not to report Simonds.
As of Monday morning, the Indian Mountain School did not have an attorney representing it in the lawsuit. Ally Morrissey, the school’s director of communications, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder was involved in recent confidential settlements with three former students.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages against the school for negligence, recklessness, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The case is before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer in New Haven.