PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first of what could be multiple sexual abuse lawsuits against The Catlin Gabel School was filed Monday.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Kim Wilson of Portland claims she was molested 80 times by Richardson Shoemaker, a long-time Catlin sixth-grade math teacher. She is seeking $4.5 million in damages.
Wilson accused Catlin Gabel administrators of doing little about Shoemaker despite the complaints of 23 female students over the years. She attended Catlin from 1992 to 2000.
The posh private school released a report in December detailing decades of abuse at the school by at least nine instructors including Shoemaker. Shoemaker was a popular teacher who worked at Catlin for about 36 years before leaving in 2001. He died in 2018.
“Catlin posed as a community that was better than outsiders,” Wilson said at a Monday press conference. “I believe it is important Catlin be held accountable for that vanity because it harmed children.”
Wilson’s lawyer, Gilion Dumas, agreed that Catlin’s culture “fostered sexual abuse … and other sexually inappropriate acts by adults with students. The school put its reputation before the safety of the children in its care,” Dumas said.
The school said in an email that they take the allegations very seriously.
“We apologize to any students who were subjected to sexual misconduct and abuse when they attended Catlin Gabel, and deeply regret their suffering. The school is committed to truth, transparency, and accountability as we support our survivors. We want to hear from our survivors and to establish a meaningful dialogue with each one who reaches out,” Catlin Gabel School’s statement said.