The Citadel is fighting efforts to add four school officials to a negligence lawsuit stemming from serial molester Louis “Skip” ReVille’s misconduct at the military college’s now-defunct summer camp.
The college’s attorneys argue that it’s too late to add new defendants and allegations to a case that has been underway since December 2011. They contend that allowing the move would “dramatically change and expand the nature and scope of the claims” and “wreak havoc” on trial preparations, according to court papers.
The school is responding to a recent motion to amend an ongoing lawsuit filed by an unidentified mother who is suing the military college over its handling of complaints against ReVille, a Citadel graduate and summer camp counselor, who molested at least 23 boys in the region. He currently is serving a 50-year prison term.
The woman, who has been identified only as Mother Doe A, contends that the military college’s inaction allowed ReVille to go forward and sexually assault her son on numerous occasions in 2007 and 2008 after they came in contact through athletic activity in Mount Pleasant.
The recent 90-page motion submitted on her behalf seeks to introduce new information gleaned from depositions and the legal discovery process. It also seeks to add as defendants school President Lt. Gen. John Rosa; Jennifer Garrott, a former director at the now-defunct summer camp; school attorney Mark Brandenburg; and Joseph Trez, a former executive assistant to Rosa.
A formal response filed by Citadel attorney Dawes Cooke on Nov. 15 argues that the mother’s motion, if granted, would result in an expanded lawsuit nearly 10 times longer than the initial complaint, changing the nature of the case two years after it began and almost certainly delaying a trial.
“The Citadel didn’t feel it could consent to this,” Cooke told The Post and Courier on Friday. “It would be unfair to the new defendants they are seeking to bring in.”
Gregg Meyers, an attorney for the mother, said the complaint is well within the allowable time frame. He said he was a bit perplexed as to why The Citadel, which had moved to consolidate several lawsuits stemming from ReVille’s misdeeds, now argues that these additional claims should be handled in a separate legal proceeding.
“They are doing what they can to try to keep these individuals from being held responsible,” he said. “But it’s a little confusing.”
Meyers said some of the allegations only recently came to light. Among them is a statement from an August deposition in which Garrott allegedly said she should have reported and fired ReVille after catching him rubbing ointment on a boy’s leg in his room in 2003 — a move that could have spared the boy and others from alleged abuse.
The mother’s motion also alleges that Brandenburg, Trez, Rosa and Garrott conspired to cover up another former camper’s accusations about ReVille in 2007 in an attempt to shield the school’s image.
The Citadel has denied that assertion and argued that the mother lacked legal standing to file the suit in the first place. The school argues that the mother is not a direct victim in the case and there is no proof of a conspiracy to harm her. The school had no relationship with her or her son at the time, court papers state.
Meyers said case law extending back to the 1600s supports the mother’s case and there is ample evidence to show parents suffer harm as a result of their children being sexually abused.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.