By Julia Marsh (New York Post)
September 5, 2013
A New Jersey judge ruled yesterday that a lawsuit filed against the elite Horace Mann School by an alleged victim of sexual abuse can go forward.
“The plaintiff has set forth reasonable arguments and good cause” to force the scandal-plagued Bronx institution to hand over documents and answer questions, Justice Lisa Perez Friscia ruled yesterday.
Her ruling is limited to discovery determining the school’s ties to New Jersey, where now-deceased pedophile music teacher Johannes Somary allegedly molested his young student.
“This is a huge win for the plaintiff against Horace Mann,” his attorney, Rosemarie Arnold, told The Post.
Arnold’s client elected to sue the school instead of accepting a settlement because Somary allegedly abused the student at a boat basin and at glee-club concerts in the Garden State, where the statute of limitations is more flexible.
Horace Mann’s attorneys tried to toss the suit by arguing that New Jersey courts do not have jurisdiction over the Riverdale school.
Arnold now has 60 days to prove that the case can be brought in New Jersey.
The victim, identified as John Doe in the suit filed in Bergen County, claims Somary abused him 450 times between 1973 and 1977.
His is the only current pending case against the school over the sexual-abuse that allegedly occurred at Horace Mann for two decades, from the 1970s through the 1990s, involving at least 50 students and more than 20 teachers.
“After having concealed the fact that Somary, under their supervision, raped my client in New Jersey, they should be ashamed to argue that he’s not entitled to compensation because of jurisdictional issues,” Arnold said.
A Horace Mann spokesman did not immediately return messages for comment.
Screenwriter and former Horace Mann student Amos Kamil broke the sex-abuse story last year in a newspaper article. He is working on a book based on his reporting.
The suit accuses the private school of covering up Somary’s crimes.
The parties are due back in court on Sept. 11.