The new complaint filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court Wednesday alleges abuse by four former Catlin Gabel staffers. The plaintiffs are all former students who say the abuse occurred at the school in the 1970s and early '80s.
Allegations from the four students range from sexual abuse to providing students illegal drugs.
Three of the staffers included in the complaint – Richardson Shoemaker, Mark Petersen and Stephen Richmond – were named in an independent report released by the school last month.
Catlin Gabel commissioned the report after several former students alleged abuse on social media in 2018. The report found 21 former employees have been accused of sexual abuse going back decades. Only six were named in the report.
A fourth staffer named in the legal complaint but not in the report, Roy Stubbs, directed choir at the school, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs are suing for $9 million for negligence, sexual abuse of a child, emotional distress, fraud and invasion of privacy.
In each of the four allegations, plaintiffs said instructors gained their trust and confidence, leading the student to respect and see their teacher as a person of authority.
Rebecca Green was in 6th grade when she alleges math teacher Richardson Shoemaker looked down her shirt, entered the girls’ locker room while she was changing, and groped her breasts.
During trips and practices for the school’s madrigal choir group, Frances Partridge alleges teacher Mark Petersen kissed her multiple times and exposed himself to her.
For Daniel Plumridge, he was in high school and involved with choir when he said Roy Stubbs touched him inappropriately and masturbated in front of Plumridge. In addition to sexual abuse allegations, Plumridge alleged Stubbs provided illegal drugs to him, "including nitrous oxide and marijuana," according to the complaint.
Another male student referred to as A.A. in the complaint alleged theatre tech teacher Stephen Richmond groped him.
Portland-based law firm Crew Janci LLP and attorney Megan Johnson, of Picket Dummigan and McCall, are representing the four former students.
“Our clients want to be heard, they want the school to make meaningful amends for the suffering it allowed, and most of all, they want to make sure that policies and the culture at the school are reformed to make sure this never happens again to any other student at Catlin Gabel. Period,” said attorney Peter Janci in a release announcing the lawsuit.
Each plaintiff claims the abuse caused them emotional distress and other damages.
The complaint alleges that Catlin Gabel’s culture of closeness between students and staff makes students “inherently more susceptible to child sexual abuse by trusted adults.”
It's something another former student, Kim Wilson, mentioned in a press conference announcing her lawsuit against the school two weeks ago.
“The heavy impact of a community, a 'family,' to protect a few adults rather than so many children, is immeasurable,” said Wilson during the press conference.
Wilson alleged Richardson Shoemaker abused her when she was in his 6th grade class in 1994 and 1995. Shoemaker died in 2018.
Gilion Dumas, an attorney with Dumas & Vaughn representing Wilson, said there will be other lawsuits filed against the school in future weeks.
Since Catlin Gabel published the report detailing the investigation into assault allegations, the school has released an open letter to survivors, held alumni listening sessions, and created a survivor therapy fund via the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. A dedicated Catlin Gabel RAINN hotline will be available beginning March 16, 2020, according to the school.
Catlin Gabel school leaders have said they're cooperating with a criminal investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff's office recently executed a search warrant on the school, but officials declined to say what they were seeking.
This story will be updated.