August 6, 2020
By Jeremy Boyer
Two former Weedsport Central School District students have filed lawsuits in the past week claiming the district failed to protect them from sexual abuse on school grounds.
The complaints were filed in state Supreme Court in Cayuga County under the state’s Child Victims Act look-back provision for civil cases that would otherwise be barred under the statute of limitations. One of the new cases follows an earlier lawsuit filed against the school district that identified the same alleged abuser. The other new case is connected with a former teacher’s aide who was arrested and convicted of having sexual contact with students more than 16 years ago.
In a case filed July 29, a plaintiff identified as AB 509 Doe, said the school district was negligent in its handling of issues related to an aide named Mary Schoonmaker, who in 2003 pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy charges. She admitted in court that she had sexual relationships with two teenage boys, and a one-night sexual encounter with another teenager. The victims were 14 and 15, and she was in her mid-20s at the time. She was sentenced to probation with a period of homebound detention in 2003.
“Prior to the sexual abuse of the plaintiff, defendant Weedsport learned or should have learned that Schoonmaker was not fit to work with children,” the complain states, saying the abuse took place in 2002 and 2003.
In a separate case filed Monday by a plaintiff identified as AL 540 Doe, the district is accused of negligence with respect to a former Boy Scout leader who ran the school district’s audio-visual club in the late 1970s. The complaint said the alleged abuser, former village of Weedsport Mayor Victor Sine, abused the victim from 1975 to 1980.
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