CT Boarding School Sued for 1980s Sex Abuse | Courthouse News Service
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CT Boarding School Sued for 1980s Sex Abuse

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CN) - A Connecticut boarding school failed to protect a boy from continuous sexual assaults by school staff in the 1980s, he claims in Federal Court.

William Brewster Brownville sued the Indian Mountain School in Lakeville on Monday. Brewster was 12 years old when he enrolled at the boarding school in 1983, and stayed until he was 15. He claims that then-headmaster Peter Carleton assaulted him 15 times and forced him to live in his basement at the school.

In its coverage of Carleton's death at the age of 60 in 1996, the Hartford Courant noted that celebrated philanthropist had been named as a co-defendant in previous lawsuits by five former students of the Indian Mountain School.

Those actions, filed in state and federal courts in Connecticut, alleged "that several teachers sexually abused the students while they attended the school."

While those former students had reportedly claimed that Carleton "knew or should have known that the teachers' relationships with students were inappropriate," Brewster names Carleton as his chief abuser.

"In or around April 1986, when Brewster was 14 years old, Carleton showed Brewster and other minor boys pornography on the television in his living room, including the violent pornographic film 'Caligula' and a movie about a headmaster of a boys school who had sex with children," the complaint states. "While showing the movies Carleton gave Brewster and the other boys whiskey. While showing the movies Carleton talked about being sexually aroused, asked Brewster and the other boys if they were 'getting hard,' and encouraged the boys to masturbate."

The 19-page complaint goes onto explain that Carleton chose four boys to live in his basement every semester. Carleton allegedly called the boys, including Brewster, up from the basement at night.

"Each time, Carleton lay naked on the floor or on his bed, and he directed Brewster to undress and to lie on top of him and massage his body," the complaint states. "Carleton moaned sexually provocative phrases, thrust his buttocks and anus into Brewster's penis encouraging Brewster to anally penetrate him, and directed Brewster to masturbate him to ejaculation."

Though the complaint says others in the school community knew about and even participated in the abuse, Brewster did not name any of them as defendants.

"Many members of the Indian Mountain School community - including chairman of the Board of Trustees Paul Levin, assistant headmaster Steven Carver, teacher Gerard Jones, and other teachers at the school - knew about and witnessed Carleton's predatory and perverse fascination with boys' bodies," Brewster claims.

Brewster says English teacher Christopher Simonds and math teacher Daniel Cook sexually assaulted him as well. He was also allegedly gang raped on five occasions during his four years at the school.

"Jamas Stanton and Jim Hickey held Brewster down in a maintenance closet while a third member of the crew, Bob 'Bullet' Sherwood, ordered Brewster to 'suck my dick,'" the complaint states. "During each of these gang rapes, 'Bullet' pulled out his penis and forced himself into Brewster's mouth."

Mark Devey, Indian Mountain's current headmaster, said in a statement to the New Haven Register that the school is "shocked and disheartened" by the allegations.

"Because our first priority is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the students here, it is deeply disturbing to learn that 30 years ago a student at IMS might have been abused," Devey said. "We are looking into these allegations and we take them very seriously."

Brewster is represented by Antonio Ponvert III of Koskoff, Koskoff and Beider in Bridgeport. He is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

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