A federal judge on Monday dismissed a pair of lawsuits filed against Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa, an attorney for the school and others accused of enabling serial molester Louis “Skip” ReVille to further victimize children by “covering up” prior allegations of sexual abuse.
Named defendants in both federal suits were Rosa; Jennifer Garrott, a former director at a now-defunct summer camp where ReVille served as a counselor; school attorney Mark Brandenburg; and Joseph Trez, a former executive assistant to Rosa.
They each were accused of covering up a 2007 complaint concerning sexually inappropriate behavior by ReVille with multiple children, and failing to implement policies that called for the termination of any camp counselor caught alone with a minor behind closed doors.
The defendants sought the dismissals in December by filing motions for summary judgment in the cases, which were brought in 2014 by two ReVille victims identified in court documents only as John Doe A of North Carolina and John Doe 4 of Dorchester County.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel heard arguments from attorneys on both sides Thursday. The judge concluded the hearing without disclosing a decision in either case. An order later filed in federal court stated that Gergel ultimately ruled in the defendants’ favor.
ReVille previously served as John Doe 4’s swimming coach, according to court documents. The once “happy child” was preyed upon by ReVille up until his arrest in 2011, the documents said.
ReVille coached John Doe A in tennis in 2008, according to court documents. Both children were assaulted away from The Citadel grounds and after ReVille no longer worked for the school, court documents state.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were still culpable as they failed to take steps to stop ReVille before John Doe A and John Doe 4 crossed his path.
“From 2007-2011, the Defendants chose to conceal ReVille’s sexual misconduct with children and ReVille’s work around children. The Citadel knew, or should have known, that its silence and efforts to conceal the abuse by ReVille misrepresented that ReVille was equipped to work with and around children,” a civil complaint filed by John Doe A stated.
Up for discussion during Thursday’s hearing were allegations of a “state-created danger” and “supervisory liability” by the defendants.
Gergel’s thoughts on the matter were influenced by a 4th Circuit appellate panel ruling in a similar cases brought by another ReVille victim, John Doe 2, as well as the mother of victim John Doe 3.
In that case, the appellate court found that Rosa’s conduct regarding ReVille amounted to inaction, not action, and failed to rise to a level needed to prove state-created danger. Gergel agreed.
“The 4th Circuit did not ignore what it characterized as bad decisions,” Gergel said. “Notwithstanding that, there’s not a constitutional claim here.”
The supervisory liability claim, too, lacked legal ground, Gergel said, considering ReVille was no longer under the defendants’ supervision when John Doe A and John Doe 4 were assaulted.
Gergel expressed sympathy for the victims, saying he was “sickened” by the abuse they suffered. But, he continued, “our job here is to apply the supreme rule of law.”
Gergel encouraged attorneys for the victims to file any additional evidence they had to bolster their claims before deciding to dismiss the lawsuits.