Student charged in case that led to sex-abuse lawsuit against Catholic school, diocese

By Jane Musgrave
Palm Beach Post
September 22, 2020

The parents of an 11-year-old girl have sued All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach over allegations that a boy inappropriately touched her.

A sixth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School was charged with battery and lewd and lascivious molestation after an 11-year-old classmate accused him of groping her, according to a Jupiter police report.

The allegations last week spawned a civil lawsuit against the school, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach. 

In the lawsuit that was filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, an attorney representing the girl and her parents accused school officials and the diocese of protecting the boy because he is the son of wealthy donors.

The heavily redacted report that police provided to The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday confirmed many of the claims made by attorney Michael Dolce, who is representing the girl and her parents.

For instance, Dolce’s assertion that principal Jill Broz told police that she had been instructed not to allow them to meet with the boy without his attorney present was confirmed by the police report.

However, the boy’s father, who said he and his son wanted to cooperate with the investigation, never mentioned that he had hired a lawyer for his son, police said. Further, no lawyer accompanied them to the police station in March, when the boy was told he would be charged as a juvenile offender.

The tearful girl told police the boy had touched her inappropriately on two separate occasions before classes were suspended because of the coronavirus in March.

During art class when the teacher wasn’t looking or had left the room, he pushed his hand up her skort and touched her underwear, she said. Another time, he put his hand on her thigh.

The boy admitted he touched the girl, police said. “I put my finger in a girl’s private spot but it wasn’t on purpose, but it wasn’t on accident,” he said, according to police.

Dolce said the school’s handling of the girl’s allegations was unusual. Other students have been disciplined for inappropriate behavior that wasn’t criminal in nature. In this case, he said the boy wasn’t disciplined by school officials even though he was charged with a crime.

Police were summoned to the school when an anonymous caller reported the boy’s behavior to the state’s Child Abuse Hotline. Because both are juveniles, their names weren’t released.

Dolce is seeking an unspecified amount in damages. Diocesean officials declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying they don’t talk about pending litigation.



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