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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

School Officials Blamed for CT Teen’s Murder

MILFORD, Conn. (CN) - Connecticut school officials face a lawsuit over the stabbing death of teen who had rejected her emotionally disturbed classmate's invitation to prom.

Maren Sanchez, 16, suffered stab wounds to her throat and body on April 25, 2014, in the hallway at Jonathan Law High School. It was the same day as the junior prom.

The girl's mother, Donna Cimarelli-Sanchez, filed suit Thursday in superior court against Milford, the city's board of education, her daughter's killer, and that teen's parents.

The lawsuit comes just over a week after Christopher Plaskon, now 18, pleaded no contest to Sanchez's murder. Plackson will likely be sentenced to 25 years in prison at a hearing on June 6, but his case will be reviewed in 13 years.

Cimarelli-Sanchez's 17-page complaint now accuses the school, Plackson and the teen's parents of negligence.

Though the lawsuit makes no mention of the spurned prom invitation that reportedly incited Plackson, it says Sanchez told her guidance counselor in November 2013 that Plaskon was "emotionally disturbed and was threatening to commit suicide or acts of serious self-harm by cutting himself with a knife."

Though Sanchez's guidance counsel immediately relayed notice of the self-harming behavior, Plaskon's guidance counselor failed to take the appropriate action and contact the school nurse to arrange for an assessment of the student, according to the complaint.

The counselor also allegedly failed to inform other administrators and the Department of Children and Families.

Cimarelli-Sanchez says Plaskon's guidance counselor did advise Plaskon's parents, David and Kathleen, of Sanchez's concerns regarding their son.

Though Christopher Plaskon was absent from school for one week after his parents were notified, school officials failed to put together a safety plan for his return, according to the complaint.

"After returning to school in late 2013, Christopher Plaskon continued to engage in self-harming behavior, including cutting himself with a knife," the complaint states.

Milford Public Schools superintendent Elizabeth Feser said they are aware of the suit Sanchez's mother filed.

"Maren was an intelligent, vibrant, warm, caring and talented young woman whose life was tragically taken," Feser said in a statement. "Our hearts and prayers continue to go out for her, her family and all those still healing. With respect to the legal process, we will refrain on commenting on this case and allow the judicial system to determine the outcome."

The Plaskon family's attorney, Edward Gavin, told the Hartford Courant that allegations against parents David and Kathleen Plaskon are "inappropriate and simply unfounded."

"This was just not foreseeable to them," Gavin said, according to the article. "They would have done anything in their power to avoid this situation."

Cimarelli-Sanchez's attorney, David Golub, told the Hartford Courant that they waited until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings to file the lawsuit.

"We feel that this case involves important issues about the responsibility of a school system to respond to reports of potential student violence and to protect its students from harm from other students and the responsibility of parents to take affirmative steps to prevent their child from engaging in destructive behavior," Golub said in a statement.

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