United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RAMSEY R. GOURD, Plaintiff,
INDIAN MOUNTAIN SCHOOL, INC., Defendant.
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
BOND ARTERTON, U.S.D.J.
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.
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.)
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.
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. ¶
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.)
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.)
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. ¶
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.)
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.)
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.)
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss