Former Port Jervis student wins multimillion-dollar lawsuit against ex-teacher, district for sex abuse
A former Port Jervis student has won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a former teacher and the district under the state Child Victim’s Act.
The lawsuit accuses ex-district computer teacher Thomas Grosse of repeatedly sexually abusing Lauren Leudemann when she was a teen – starting in 1995, when the victim was 13 and attending Port Jervis Middle School.
An Orange County Supreme Court jury found Grosse guilty of sexually abusing Leudemann, who is now 41, and found the district guilty of negligence for ignoring warning signs of the inappropriate relationship, including frequent classroom visits which continued after Leudemann became a high school student.
The victim says she’s grateful for the closure.
“I feel a sense of justice, definitely. I’ve been waiting a long time for him to be held accountable,” says Leudemann.
The Port Jervis school district referred News 12’s inquiries to their attorney who declined to comment.
Grosse was ordered to pay Leudemann $3.75 million.
The Child Victim’s Act was passed in 2019 to give victims of childhood abuse a temporary window to seek justice in civil courts. Just this week, News 12 reported on two decades-old sex abuse lawsuits involving the Newburgh Enlarged City School District that also finalized with a multimillion-dollar settlement.
All three cases were handled by the same law firm.
“It happened so long ago and that's what we are dealing with in a lot of these cases under the Child Victim's Act," says attorney John Stark. "Witnesses are gone, memories are old so that a lot of people who saw things might have difficulty remembering them, but our clients never have a problem remembering them. They live with this for their entire life.”
Stark says the dollar amount the Port Jervis School District was ordered to pay is confidential.