Three more lawsuits have been filed by several women against a retired Harborfields teacher, the school district and the Board of Education, alleging that he sexually abused them when they were students. The newest lawsuits bring the total number of claims to five.
The lawsuits claim that Eugene Senzer, who taught music and served as yearbook adviser in the Harborfields district, abused the girls while they were students in the years ranging from 1969 to 1998.
They claim sexual battery, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, emotional distress and other complaints under New York law and were filed in Suffolk Supreme Court. Motley Rice attorney Daniel Lapinski and Nye Stirling Hale & Miller LLP lawyer Benjamin Sweet (PA) represent the plaintiffs.
“Based upon the allegations, it seems it was far from a secret that Eugene Senzer was a threat to innocent children, and we have reason to believe the school and district knew it, too. The plaintiffs allege that dating back to the early 1970s, Senzer’s office was covered with explicit sexual photos of young female students. The allegations are that although members of the staff and administration were aware of this, Senzer was never reprimanded, disciplined or investigated but, instead, was allowed to hold his position as a teacher for decades, giving him the opportunity to prey on young girls entrusted to his care,” Lapinski said. “The nightmare these women endured has stayed with them for their entire lives. The New York’s Child Victims Act has now provided an opportunity for their voices to be heard. These women have demonstrated strength in coming forward to seek accountability for the horrible acts committed against them.”
The Harborfields district did not respond to questions.
The first lawsuit was filed in 2019 by attorneys Weitz & Luxenberg PC, representing Haldis McEvoy, of Gardiner, N.Y. The second was filed in February 2020 by Berger Montague and Motley Rice, representing Donna Depasquale. The three newest cases were filed last week by Motley Rice, and Nye Stirling, Hale and Miller, representing Nancy Maliwesky, Whitney Gardner and Doreen Schipper.
The filings accuse the district of “fostering an environment that allowed the abuse to occur.” And that Senzer’s office was “covered with explicit sexual photos of young female students. The allegations are that although members of the staff and administration were aware of this, Senzer was never reprimanded, disciplined or investigated but, instead, was allowed to continue as a teacher for decades, giving him the opportunity to prey on young girls entrusted to his care.”