Published: 8/15/2021 10:44:55 PM
Modified: 8/15/2021 10:44:56 PM
CONCORD — The Claremont school district has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the guardian of a disabled woman who was assaulted by a substitute teacher during a field trip two years ago.
In court documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Concord, attorneys for the guardian, the school and the substitute teacher agreed to dismiss the lawsuit.
Though no details of a settlement were available in court documents, Mike Ricker, an attorney for Primex, the school district’s insurance provider, confirmed Thursday that the company will pay $300,000 to the woman’s family as a result of the suit.
Guardian Angela Leslie filed the lawsuit on behalf of the woman, who is not named in the lawsuit, against the school district SAU 6 and school officials in September, claiming officials failed to protect the woman during the field trip in 2019.
Former Claremont mayor and substitute teacher George Caccavaro, 80, was also named in the lawsuit.
Caccavaro was initially charged with two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault after the woman alleged he grabbed her buttocks and pushed his body against hers while he was serving as a chaperone during the trip.
Twenty years old at the time, the woman was a special-needs student in the Stevens High School Life Skills program.
Caccavaro pleaded guilty in March 2020 to two counts of simple assault and was sentenced to two months in jail. He served 40 days before he was released last fall.
George Ostler, an attorney for Caccavaro, declined to comment on the case on Thursday.
In the lawsuit, Leslie’s attorney, Anthony Carr, wrote that Caccavaro had been “grooming” the young woman before the assault and blamed the school district, as well as a Life Skills program instructor and a former Stevens High School Principal, for not intervening to protect her.
Carr claimed that the instructor was told by other staff that Caccavaro was spending an inappropriate amount of time with the student and that the principal once told Caccavaro to stop focusing so much on the student.
School officials and Caccavaro filed responses to the lawsuit in December, with Ostler writing that Caccavaro “denies ever sexually assaulting” the student.
Donna Feeney, an attorney for the school district, denied most allegations, but wrote “admitted” in response to the assertion by the woman’s guardian that Caccavaro took a “perverted sexual interest” in the student prior to the incident and that he was fired for inappropriate contact.
The district also acknowledged that the principal had learned about an earlier incident in 2018 when Caccavaro kissed the young woman on the head or cheek, but denied that it constituted sexual assault.
Messages to Leslie and Anthony Carr for comment on the settlement were not returned Thursday.
Anna Merriman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3216.