A mother who says her child was sexually abused by Louis Neal "Skip" ReVille in late 2007 is suing the Citadel for failing to act on accusations of sexual misconduct by ReVille that were made earlier that year. According to the lawsuit, the child, who was under 16 years old in 2007, was sexually abused several times over the course of more than a year while "taking athletic supervision" from ReVille in Mt. Pleasant.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages related to emotional injury and the cost of treatment that the mother says her son required after the alleged abuse. It also seeks an injunction requiring the Citadel to take specific action in future cases where sexual abuse by one of its employees is alleged.
"It would create a requirement of the Citadel to report things like they failed to report in 2007, so it would be a court order that puts some shape to what their obligations were," says Gregg Meyers, the attorney who filed the lawsuit in a Charleston County Common Pleas court Wednesday morning. "One thing we hope to do is to change the way the organization responds when they get information about a grown-up who could be a danger to children."
The mother, who is listed as "Mother Doe A" to protect the family's identity, blames the Citadel for failing to act on an implicit "duty to warn" after a former camper from the Citadel's summer camp came forward with accusations that ReVille, a former counselor, had shown him pornography and masturbated in front of him in a bedroom on campus in 2002. The former camper made the accusation in May 2007, and rather than alerting law enforcement or warning ReVille's employer, the Citadel conducted an internal investigation and dropped the case when the accuser's family broke contact with the school.
Dawes Cooke, the school's outside counsel, said he was unable to comment on the suit at this time. The lawsuit is reminiscent of a lawsuit filed in 1998 against Porter-Gaud School. Shaw Simpson, who was molested by a teacher named Eddie Fischer while attending James Island High School in 1989, alleged that Porter-Gaud officials knew about Fischer's history of abuse and, rather than fire him and turn him in to law enforcement, gave him a recommendation to teach elsewhere. The school reached a settlement with Simpson before trial, but Simpson declared it a victory.
"We got to tell our story," he told The Post and Courier in April 2000. "This is about a school that lied. Everyone heard that, so we won."
A significant difference in the Fischer case was that Simpson had proof that the school had given recommendations that helped Fischer get the job at James Island High School. No such evidence has been found in the ReVille case.
Meyers, the plaintiff's lawyer in the ReVille case, says he still sees gaps in ReVille's record. According to Meyers, when ReVille applied to work in Mt. Pleasant in the summer of 2007, he listed the Citadel as his employer in 2006 and 2007. Once he determines whether that claim is true, he says he will use that information to advise six other families who have contacted him in regards to alleged sexual abuse by ReVille.
The lawsuit makes the claim that the school showed disregard for protecting children from sexual assault, citing as evidence the fact that the school contacted its insurance provider but did not contact law enforcement, ReVille's employers, or the parents who placed their children in ReVille's care.
"Protecting children from sexual assault simply does not matter to the Citadel," the lawsuit says, "and the Citadel will concern itself with that protection only if the Citadel is compelled to concern itself with it."