Third Sexual Assault Suit Filed Against Lakeville Boarding School

A third former student of a prestigious boarding school in Lakeville has filed a federal lawsuit, alleging he was sexually assaulted by two teachers and a headmaster while he was enrolled in the 1980s and school officials were aware but did nothing to stop it. 

The man who filed the suit says he was abused by staff members of at Indian Mountain School from 1980 to 1983 when, he was 12 to 15, according to the law firm representing him. 

NBC Connecticut is not identifying the victim because of the sexual abuse allegations. 

This is the third suit accusing the school -- for children in kindergarten through grade 9 -- of failing to stop teachers and the headmaster from “predatory sexual assaults and pedophilia” inflicted on minor boys, “including fellatio, anal sex, sodomy, voyeurism, fondling and forced masturbation,” according to attorneys for the plaintiff. 

“The monstrous sexual abuse perpetrated by the school and its nest of child molesters inflicted torture and suffering on (name deleted) that began when he was a defenseless, innocent little boy, and that continues to this day,” said the man’s attorney, Antonio Ponvert III of Bridgeport-based Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder. “Like other Plaintiffs who filed complaints against the school last year, (name deleted) was subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation by the very adults who had pledged to protect him.” 

The lawsuit accuses a former English teacher of sexually abusing, assaulting and exploiting dozens of boys at the school for more than a decade, taking photographs of the boys to blackmail them into silence and giving them marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine and LSD. 

The man who filed the suit fears photos that show him naked or partially dressed have been or will be published on kiddie porn sites and viewed by pedophiles around the world, according to the law firm. 

The suit also claims the then-headmaster and several staff members knew what was happening and found hardcore child pornography in the English teacher’s possession. It also claims staff witnessed boys entering the teacher’s apartment after lights out and they saw him visiting dormitories late at night. 

“Not one staff member, including the Headmaster, the Assistant Headmaster, the school’s staff psychiatrist, the school’s registered nurse, members of the school’s Board of Trustees, and even the school’s lawyer – ever complied with mandatory child sexual abuse reporting laws,” Ponvert said in a statement. “Nor did anyone ever report Simonds’ possession of child pornography to the authorities, even though it clearly was against the law.” 

The lawsuit also accuses the then-headmaster of rubbing cream all over the victim’s penis, claiming it was to treat jock itch, frequenting the boys’ showers and commenting on their penises and pubic hair. 

The lawsuit accuses the then-French teacher of assaulting boys as well. 

“Indian Mountain was charged with the wellbeing of its students in their parents’ absence,” Ponvert said in a statement. “These were vulnerable children who, instead of being protected by the adults they relied on, were subjected to unfathomable abuse. Not one adult at this institution came to their rescue.” 

NBC Connecticut has reached out to the school. 

When the last lawsuit was filed in January 2015, Indian Mountain School's headmaster at the time, Mark A. Devey, responded with a statement promising to support its former students.

"Recently we notified our school community that we were conducting an investigation in order to identify any alumni who may have been victimized while a student at Indian Mountain School in the past. We believe that it is best for both the school and its alumni to deal with these issues now," Devey said in a statement. "It is heart wrenching to hear these allegations, and we are saddened by them. We will take the allegations very seriously, and we will support our alumni." 

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