Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Robert Reinhardt Charged with Sexually Abusing Juveniles

The former dean of students at a boarding school in Washington who was arrested last week on charges that he sexually abused three juveniles is being sued by one of the alleged victims.

The teenager and his father filed a lawsuit Monday in Superior Court in New London against Robert Reinhardt, the former dean. The other defendants are The Gunnery, Susan Graham, the head of school and Dana Jackson, a teacher.

The plaintiff, John Doe, was sexually assaulted repeatedly during his freshman year at the boarding school from September of 2007 and June 2008 and now suffers emotionally and fears attending school, the lawsuit states.

Reinhardt, 44, was also the crew coach, a teacher and a "dorm parent," the lawsuit states. He had an on-campus apartment where he entertained minors late at night, early in the morning or overnight, according to a lawsuit.

The school knew or should have known about Reinhardt's inappropriate relationships with the alleged victim and failed to promptly respond to sexual abuse allegations, the lawsuit states.

In a statement a released last week, Graham says the school first learned in June of an allegation regarding inappropriate contact between a faculty member and a student.

"We reported this information to Connecticut state child welfare authorities immediately. The faculty member in question has left the school's employment," she said in the statement.

Reinhardt surrendered to state police Aug. 5. He is charged with second-degree sexual assault, one count of fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a minor. His bail was set at $750,000. His next court date is Sept. 1 at Superior Court in Litchfield.

The Gunnery is a coeducational boarding and day school on a 220-acre campus near the scenic town green in the village of Washington. It was founded in 1850 by Frederick William Gunn. It is popular with many Connecticut and suburban New York families because its small enrollment of 300 students provides an intimate academic setting.

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