Parents of Abused Child Sue School District

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – The parents of an 8-year-old abused by her teacher claim in Federal Court that the district covered up his pattern of misconduct.
     Identifying themselves with pseudonyms, John and Jane Doe say Paul Hochschwender “engaged in inappropriate, criminal physical contact with” their daughter L on multiple occasions during the 2013-14 school year.
     Such conduct at Darby Township School included but was not limited to “touching and placing his hands on her vaginal area, buttocks and legs,” the June 30 complaint states.
     After township and Delaware County authorities began investigating Hochschwender’s “sexually abusive conduct,” including his treatment of L, last year, the teacher pleaded no contest to “indecent assault, institutional sexual assault and corruption of minors,” the complaint states.
     Now labeled a sexually violent predator, Hochschwender faces sentencing on Aug. 3, the Does say.
     With L facing long-term mental health treatment because of the teacher’s “outrageous abuse,” the Does want punitive damages.
     They note that Hochschwender’s abuse of their daughter was part of a pattern that the Southeast Delco School District ignored when it hired him in 2006 to teach at Darby.
     Indeed an unnamed school in Delaware County that employed Hochschwender between 1993 and 2000 “formally admonished [him] … after a police investigation of credible complaints that he had inappropriately groped or touched several female students,” the complaint states.
     The Does say no Delco or Darby official ever looked for the documentation of Hochschwender’s previous misconduct or tried to determine why he left the earlier job.
     Delco allegedly actively covered upp for Hochschwender in the 2006-07 school year when a fifth-grade student complained that the teacher “continually held her hands, touched her shoulders, and whispered in her ears.”
     “She also complained that Hochschwender grabbed and placed her hands on his lap,” according to the complaint.
     When a similar complaint against Hochschwender arose in the 2011-12 school year, the school principal allegedly failed to file a report with Pennsylvania’s child services department or discipline the teacher.
     The Does say the district sat on the principal’s report and transferred the teacher to the second-grade classroom from fifth grade, “thereby leaving him in contact with the vulnerable students who were his preferred victims.”
     “It is believed and therefore averred that the district issued a warning to Defendant Hochschwender because of his misconduct,” the complaint says.
     The Does allege violations of the Fourth and 14th Amendments, as well as Title IX, plus assault and battery, and emotional distress.
     They are represented by James Byrne Jr. of McNichol, Byrne & Matlawski in Media.

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