Twelve women who were students at the New York School for the Deaf have filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, alleging a dorm housemaster sexually abused them for years and nothing was done to stop it.
The New York Times reported that all 12 plaintiffs attended the prominent school during the 1960s and ’70s. They claimed that housemaster Joseph Casucci, who died a decade earlier, carried out the abuse daily.
The New York Post reported that the students were as young as four when Casucci kissed, fondled, and raped them in dorm bathrooms, bedrooms, and a living room. The lawsuit stated that administrators did very little to stop the abuse until 1979, when the abuse allegations surfaced.
Also called Fanwood, the New York School for the Deaf is the oldest school for deaf and hearing-impaired children in the country. The Journal News reported that the breadth of the abuse was revealed in 2013, when Marlene Hodge, 59, recounted her traumatic experience at the prominent school in a Facebook post. The revelation reportedly resulted in other former students coming forward and sharing similar stories.
The women sought a lawyer but were told that the matter was too old to pursue. Similarly, the Westchester District Attorney’s Office concluded that a criminal case wasn’t possible because too much time had passed, according to the news outlet.
In 2014, some of the accusers met with school administrators—who told them they wouldn’t be compensating them for the abuse they suffered there decades earlier, according to Kevin Mulhearn, the attorney who is representing the women in their latest lawsuit.
Casucci’s accusers were able to file their lawsuit this week due to the Child Victims Act. Passed in February, the law provided a one-year window for lawsuits to be filed in decades-old abuse cases.
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