Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gourd v. Indian Mountain School, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 17, 2019

RAMSEY R. GOURD, Plaintiff,
v.
INDIAN MOUNTAIN SCHOOL, INC., Defendant.

          RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          JANET BOND ARTERTON, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Ramsey R. Gourd brings this diversity action seeking damages for the sexual abuse he claims to have suffered at the hands of a teacher while enrolled and living at Indian Mountain School ("Defendant"). Plaintiff asserts claims for negligence, recklessness, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiffs claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff attended Indian Mountain School from September 1977 to June 1980, when he was 12 to 15 years old. (Compl. [Doc. # 1] ¶ 1.) "Indian Mountain School, founded in 1922, is an exclusive private boarding and day school for boys and girls in kindergarten through ninth grade, in Lakeville, Connecticut." (Id. ¶ 2.)

         "At the time of the sexual abuse and exploitation described in this Complaint, Connecticut law (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 17-38a) required Indian Mountain School, the school's Headmaster and Assistant Headmaster, the school's teachers, its staff psychiatrist, and its registered nurse to report suspected child sexual abuse to state child welfare and law enforcement authorities." (Id. ¶ 13.) Similarly during this period, "Connecticut law (Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 17-38b) required Indian Mountain School, the school's Headmaster and Assistant Headmaster, the school's teachers, its staff psychiatrist, and its registered nurse to immediately report to state child welfare authorities if they had reasonable cause to believe that one or more students were in danger of being sexually abused, even if they did not have reasonable cause to suspect that any such abuse had actually occurred." (Id. ¶ 14.)

         Nonetheless, according to Plaintiff, "at the time [he] entered and attended Indian Mountain School, the school employed English teacher Christopher Simonds, a pedophile who preyed and had for years been preying on vulnerable children in the school's care." (Id. ¶ 15.) Simonds "sexually abused, assaulted, molested, exploited and threatened [Plaintiff] when [Plaintiff] was a vulnerable and defenseless boy at the school." (Id. ¶ 18.)

         Plaintiff claims that "Headmaster Peter Carleton, Assistant Headmaster Steven Carver, multiple other faculty members and staff, and members of the Indian Mountain School Board of Trustees knew and should have known of Simonds' abusive and manipulative conduct and his ongoing and frequent sexual abuse of the defenseless boys entrusted to the school's care." (Id. ¶ 23.) More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that "Carleton first learned of Simonds' sexual interest in young boys from, among other sources, Steven Carver, a teacher and Assistant Headmaster of Indian Mountain School, Michele Nemiroff, a teacher at the school, and Bernice Harned, the school's registered nurse." (Id. ¶ 24.)

         "Carver learned in or about the Spring of 1977 that Simonds possessed hard core child pornography, including 8 mm films, magazines, and photographs depicting adults sexually assaulting and abusing pubescent and pre-pubescent boys and girls." (Id. ¶ 25.) According to Plaintiff, "[a]t the time Carver learned of Simonds' possession of hard core child porn, Ramsay Gourd was a 12-year old child finishing his seventh grade at Indian Mountain School: Simonds had been abusing him since the beginning of the year." (Id. ¶ 26.) Defendant points out that "this allegation must be in error" because, inter alia, the Complaint elsewhere "alleges that Simonds began abusing Plaintiff when he was 12, at the beginning of his seventh grade year, which would have been the fall of 1977, not the spring." (Def.'s Mem. Law Supp. Mot. Dismiss [Doc. # 25] at 3 n.1.)

         "According to Carver's sworn testimony, Simonds' pornography, some of which Carver had confiscated from the basement of Simonds' apartment on campus," showed "'fairly young, ... twelve to sixteen year old males'" engaged in sexual activity. (Compl. ¶ 27.) Some of this pornography "showed adults forcing children to have sex with each other[.]" (Id. ¶ 28.) In approximately "the spring of 1977, Carver showed the child pornography to the school's staff psychiatrist, Charles S. Mirabile, Jr., and to the school's registered nurse, Bernice Harned." (Id. ¶ 29.) Nurse Harned described the pornography as consisting of "[y]ounger children[, ]" "up to and including nine or ten years old[, ]" engaging in sexual acts. (Id. ¶ 30.) The pornography bore a mailing label addressed to Simonds. (Id. ¶ 31.) When Nurse Harned and "Carver showed Simonds' pornography to the school's staff psychiatrist, Dr. Mirabile, she told Mirabile that she 'was concerned because Chris Simonds was always touching and hugging the students and especially those in his special photography group or club.'" (Id. ¶ 32.)

         Plaintiff also asserts that "[i]t was well-known to Indian Mountain School administrators, faculty and staff, before and during Ramsay's attendance at the school, that Simonds surrounded himself with a group of young male students known as 'Simonds' boys' and 'Simonds' pets'." (Id. ¶ 33.) Plaintiff "was a member of this group[.]" (Id. ¶ 34.) Nurse Harned observed Simonds touching the boys in his photography club '"more intimately that he did anyone else at the school[.]'" (Id. ¶ 37.) "When Carver and Harned showed Simonds' pornography to Dr. Mirabile, Harned told Mirabile that Simonds 'did touch and feel' his favored boys, and that Simonds 'would allow them to come over to his home at odd hours.'" (Id. ¶ 38.)

         According to Plaintiff, "[a]round this same time, in or about the Spring of 1977, Harned told all of this same information about Simonds' child pornography and his predilection for the young boys in his 'print club' and his inappropriate touching and feeling of the boys to the then outgoing Headmaster Dick Rouse, and to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, William Cuddy." (Id. ¶ 39.) That summer, "Carver showed Simonds' hardcore child pornography to the school's incoming Headmaster, Peter Carleton; and Nurse Harned told Carleton all of the same concerns about Simonds' inappropriate touching and feeling of young boys that she had previously shared with Dick Rouse and William Cuddy." (Id. ¶ 40.) Also in approximately 1977, "Carver learned from a former Indian Mountain School student that Simonds was known to be sharing his hardcore pornography with students." (Id. ¶ 44.)

         "From 1977 onward - including the entirety of [Plaintiff]'s eighth and ninth grade years at Indian Mountain School - Assistant Headmaster Carver suspected that Simonds was a pedophile." (Id. ¶ 46.) "Before and during [Plaintiff]'s attendance at the school, Carleton, Carver and other members of the school faculty and staff knew that Simonds frequented the boys['] dormitory and individual boys['] rooms after lights out." (Id. ¶ 47.) "Before and during [Plaintiff]'s attendance at the school, Carleton, Carver and other members of the school faculty and staff knew that Simonds invited boys to his apartment after lights out." (Id. 48.)

         II. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

          A. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.