Citadel target of sex-abuse lawsuit

A lawsuit filed against The Citadel on Wednesday seeks a court mandate that would require the military college to report all child sexual abuse complaints or face contempt charges.

Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Gregg Meyers filed suit against The Citadel on behalf of the mother of a young man who allegedly was sexually abused by Louis "Skip" ReVille after the school failed to report a complaint about the former cadet.

The lawsuit alleges that The Citadel was grossly negligent in not reporting a former summer camper's claim that ReVille showed young boys porn and masturbated with them at The Citadel in 2002.

The school received the complaint in 2007 but did not inform police.

The lawsuit contends that the school's inaction allowed ReVille to go forward and sexually assault her son. The victim in the case allegedly was molested by ReVille on numerous occasions in 2007 and 2008, according to the suit.

The school's attorney, Dawes Cook, said it would be improper for The Citadel to comment, given the ongoing State Law Enforcement Division investigation of the camp incident and a pending attorney general probe of the school's handling of the episode.

"The Citadel is anxious to file a legal response (to the lawsuit) as soon as possible," he said.

Anderson called the episode an example of "institutional failure" on

The Citadel's part. The school, he said, placed its reputation and image over its duty to protect children.

"They had a real responsibility to immediately report this to law enforcement and a real responsibility to take immediate action to protect other kids," he said. "They failed the kids in that responsibility."

Citadel President John Rosa has publicly apologized for the school's handling of the 2007 complaint and urged cadets to cooperate with a Charleston police investigation of ReVille, who was senior counselor at the camp.

ReVille went on to work with hundreds of children in the area as a teacher, coach and church group leader.

"We should have done more," Rosa has said. "We know that."

Meyers said ReVille has confessed to molesting the boy named in the suit. The suit indicates the boy was under age 16 when the incidents occurred, and that he came in contact with ReVille through athletic activity.

Meyers would not say more about the activity in question or discuss his client in detail, saying he wants to protect the young man's identity.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order forcing The Citadel to report all future sexual abuse allegations concerning children. The order would "eliminate the confusion and ambiguity" the school seemed to have in this case and force it "to do the right thing," he said.

"Some people think this lawsuit is designed to take The Citadel down," Anderson said. "It's not. Frankly, it's designed to help them clean it up."

Anderson, based in Minnesota, oversees a firm that specializes in child sexual abuse cases, and he recently filed the first civil lawsuit in the Penn State University sex abuse scandal.

Meyers, a local attorney, previously represented victims of predator Eddie Fischer, who molested more than 40 students during his teaching career in the Lowcountry.

Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or on Twitter at @glennsmith5.