Third Lawsuit Filed Alleging Von Kohorn Sexually Assaulted a Wilton Preschool Student

The new preschool entrance.

More than six years after the arrest and conviction of former Wilton preschool paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn on child pornography possession charges, a third family has filed suit against Wilton and the Wilton Board of Education, alleging that Von Kohorn sexually assaulted and exploited their son during the 2013-14 school year.

The boy, identified as James Doe to protect his identity, was 4- and 5-years-old at the time and was enrolled in Miller-Driscoll Preschool Services during the time Von Kohorn worked there.

His parents are also plaintiffs in the suit identified as Mother Doe and Father Doe.

The family is seeking a minimum of $15,000 in compensatory damages.

This is the third such complaint filed against the Wilton BOE and Town of Wilton by families who allege Von Kohorn behaved inappropriately with their children when they were in his care as students at the M-D preschool.

The first lawsuit was filed on behalf of Girl Doe and her parents in November 2015, and alleged that Von Kohorn sexually assaulted the then-4-year-old girl (identified only by the “Girl Doe” pseudonym) in 2012. The suit maintained that the school district failed to protect her and investigate properly when the parents notified them of their suspicions. The suit was withdrawn in May 2018 when the family and the town reached a settlement.

The second lawsuit, filed one year later, alleged that Von Kohorn took a male student, John Doe, alone into a Miller-Driscoll school bathroom and photographed him in the bathroom stall while the child’s pants were down. The complaint asserts that the preschool staff, district administrators and BOE knew of prior incidents involving Von Kohorn and at least one other student and placed John Doe in danger by reassigning Von Kohorn to the boy’s classroom.

John Doe’s complaint had been headed to a jury trial in January 2020 when attorneys for the family indicated that the parties might instead reach a settlement. Court procedings were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now a trial management conference has been scheduled for March 2021.

Von Kohorn had been hired to work at the M-D preschool in 2007, and worked with preschool students until his arrest by Connecticut State Police on August 20, 2014. Von Kohorn was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance; he later pled guilty to reduced charge of illegal possession of child pornography in the second degree. He was sentenced in Oct. 2015 to six years in prison, suspended after two years served, and 10 years probation.

The family’s lawers, Paul Slager and Michael Kennedy, of the law firm Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, are the same attorneys who represent the other two families in their lawsuits.

Compaint Details

According to the complaint filed Oct. 20, 2020 in Stamford Superior court, James Doe is described as disabled.

The suit alleges, among other things, that:

  • the director of the preschool at the time, Dr. Fred Rapczynski, investigated earlier “reports of disturbing conduct by Von Kohorn” and that during one interview, Von Kohorn told Rapczynski he did not take the female student into a bathroom alone, but at a subsequent interview admitted to lying and confirmed he actually had done so. It also states that Rapczynski had reported the allegations to the district’s Human Resources Department and at least one other Miller-Driscoll staff member.
  • Rapczynski reported the incidents to the Department of Child and Family Services but that his investigation “‘did not support the girl’s claims,'” and the DCF declined to conduct its own investigation. Von Kohorn was reassigned to a different classroom, where they knew he was allowed to continue working closely with other Miller-Driscoll preschool students–including James Doe.
  • “Miller-Driscoll staff members and authorized agents and/or employees of WBOE, including Dr. Rapczynski, staff in the WBOE Human Resources Department and other WBOE staff, knew or should have known that James Doe, a disabled Miller-Driscoll preschool student who had frequent contact with Von Kohorn, was an identifiable victim who faced the threat of imminent harm from contact with Von Kohorn, a known alleged sexual abuser.”
  • “Throughout both semesters of the 2013-14 school year, Von Kohorn groomed, sexually exploited, abused, assaulted, and injured James Doe at Miller-Driscoll, resulting in significant physical injury to James Doe.”
  • “James Doe suffered physical injuries and serious and permanent damages, as well as extensive permanent emotional and psychological injuries flowing directly from the physical injuries and abuse he suffered.”