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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Alarming Complaints Against The Citadel

CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) - The Citadel and its president Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa face multiple lawsuits claiming the historic institution and its leaders concealed knowledge of sexual abuse by summer camp counselors who admitted to preying on young boys.

The six lawsuits filed by Charleston attorney Mullins McLeod include three in Federal Court and three in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas.

They outline a pattern of abuse by former camp counselor Louis "Skip" ReVille, who allegedly molested 22 boys over a decade.

Of the six federal complaints, one named as defendants ReVille and former Citadel Summer Camp Director Maj. William Bates, individually; and President John W. Rosa, individually.

The complaints in the Court of Common Pleas include The Citadel as a defendant.

The Citadel Summer Camp was founded in 1957 by Gen. Mark Clark, a World War II hero who in 1945 became the youngest person to be promoted to general. Clark wanted to expose children to The Citadel's college experience and to recruit cadets.

The Citadel operated the camp from 1957 through 2006.

In the complaints, McLeod recounts the history of two alleged sexual predators who worked at the camp during its final decade: former Marine Capt. Michael Apria - who was a counselor from 1995 to 2001 and was later the subject of a lawsuit filed by several of his alleged victims - and ReVille, who worked at the camp during the summers of 2000 to 2004.

In 2002, according to the federal complaints, ReVille confessed to members of The Citadel Public Safety that he sexually abused young boys, and requested the help of The Citadel.

Members of The Citadel Public Safety are state-commissioned law enforcement officers operating under the authority and supervision of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

McLeod says in a federal complaint that includes ReVille as a defendant that the Citadel's policies and procedures require officers of The Citadel Public Safety to report all criminal offenses to SLED. But the college violated its own policies and procedures by failing to report ReVille to SLED after he confessed, according to the complaints.

Instead, McLeod says, Rosa and The Citadel's insurance carrier dispatched the college's in-house attorney to meet with the former camper and his family to take a statement detailing the sexual abuse. A court reporter was hired to transcribe that statement.

According to that account, in 2002, ReVille insisted that a former camper and another boy spend the night with him in his dorm room.

"ReVille showed the boys pornographic videos on his computer and talked to the boys about the effect of masturbation on the size of a boy's penis," according to a federal complaint in which ReVille is the lead defendant.

"Revile began masturbating in front of him and encouraged the young boy to do the same as they sat around ReVille's computer. When the victim tried to leave, ReVille coerced him into staying and masturbating in front of him," the complaint states.

The complaint states that the former camper and his family were assured that The Citadel would investigate the allegations of ReVille's sexual abuse and report him to the proper authorities.

"However, John W. Rosa chose only to share the former camper's report with The Citadel's insurance carrier and attempted to offer the former camper and his parents money to keep the allegations from surfacing and to avoid a lawsuit," according to a second federal complaint, which names only Rosa as a defendant.

Rosa broke his silence only after the media got wind of the alleged abuse in 2011, according to that complaint.

The new complaints include details not previously made public.

In a lurid account, one complaint states: "As an initial phase, the sexual abuse of this victim began when ReVille showed the young boy pornographic images, films and websites. The sexual abuse escalated when ReVille explained and demonstrated how to masturbate to the victim, forced the victim to masturbate in the presence of ReVille, and performed oral sex on the child victim.

"ReVille created a fraternity for young boys that he named 'The Killers.' Each member, including [the] victim, was given a nickname by ReVille that was inspired by the size and shape of the boy's penis.

"As part of the initiation into the fraternity, ReVille forced the victim to suck peanut butter off ReVille's penis.

Over the course of eighteen months, ReVille sexually abused the victim in excess of 100 times."

The John Doe plaintiffs seek punitive damages.

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