A judge has ruled against allowing the addition of four officials at The Citadel to a negligence lawsuit stemming from serial molester Louis “Skip” ReVille’s misconduct at the military college’s now-defunct summer camp.
Circuit Judge Kristi Harrington issued a ruling Nov. 19, stating that adding parties to this suit would be prejudicial.
She denied the motion to amend an ongoing lawsuit filed against the school only 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 college’s attorneys argued that it’s too late to add new defendants and allegations to a case that has been underway since December 2011. They contended 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 woman, who has been identified only as Mother Doe A, contends that the 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 90-page motion submitted on her behalf attempted to introduce new information gleaned from depositions and the legal discovery process. It also sought to add as defendants school President Lt. Gen. John Rosa; Jennifer Garrott, a former director at the camp; school attorney Mark Brandenburg; and Joseph Trez, a former executive assistant to Rosa.
In a formal response filed Nov. 15 by Citadel attorney Dawes Cooke, he argued that the mother’s motion, if granted, would have resulted 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.
Following the judge’s ruling, Gregg Meyers, an attorney for the mother, said now they have to weigh their options of filing the new cases in federal or state court. “We’ll have to figure out what makes the most sense to attempt,” he said.
Meyers also called the situation frustrating because he said The Citadel had asked for the cases to be consolidated, instead of trying them separately. Cooke said they had asked a judge to consolidate the cases only for the purpose of discovery — gathering the evidence of the case — in order to avoid having to take depositions four or five times for each witness.
“It had nothing to do with bringing in new defendants after two years,” he said.
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 alleged 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 argued 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.
Glenn Smith contributed to this report. Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.