Two women who allegedly endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of a former teacher and gymnastics coach have filed a new lawsuit in accordance with the New York Child Victims Act.
According to ABC 13- WHAM, Duncan Ververs retired from the Brighton Central School District in March 2001. He also served as a gymnastics coach with the Brighton Town Recreation Department, was a member of Brighton Volunteer Ambulance, and worked at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
In a complaint filed last Tuesday, Ververs was accused of sexually abusing the plaintiffs on “hundreds of separate occasions,” beginning in 1971, when the women were in seventh and ninth grades. The alleged abuse continued through 1975-1976.
According to the lawsuit, he initially groomed the plaintiffs by giving them special attention and seeking their assistance outside of class. The women claim they were abused by Ververs in multiple locations at Council Rock Elementary School, as well as hotel rooms when they traveled to sanctioned gymnastics competitions.
They also assert that school district and town employees knew or should have known of Verver’s alleged misconduct. The New York Child Victims Act lawsuit names the Central Bright School District and the Town of Brighton as defendants.
In statements to ABC 13-WHAM, both entities said they had yet to be served with the lawsuit and indicated they could not comment on pending litigation.
Normally, alleged survivors of child sexual abuse would be barred from going to court over allegations that are decades old.
However, the passage of the New York Child Victims Act opened a one-year window allowing adult survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their abusers, as well as any individuals and institutions that enabled their abuse, regardless of when the statute of limitations expired on their claims.
More than 500 Child Victims Act lawsuit filings have been recorded in New York state courts since the window opened on August 14, 2019. While the majority of cases name Roman Catholic Dioceses or the Boy Scouts as defendants, a growing number allege abuse at the hands of teachers, pediatricians, coaches, and in at least one case, a baby sitter.
The New York Child Victims Act also permanently extended the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits in cases of child sexual abuse until a survivor’s 55th birthday, while the deadline for pursing felony criminal charges was extended until the victim’s 28th birthday.