Suit Accuses Former Harborfields Teacher of Abuse

A woman who says a teacher abused her for years has filed suit against him, the Harborfields school district, Oldfield Middle School and the Board of Education.

Donna DePasquale, 58, filed the suit Monday  against the teacher, Eugene Senzer, in New York State Supreme court, under the Child Victims Act. It alleges sexual battery, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, emotional distress and other claims. 

A district spokesman said, “The district cannot comment on matters of litigation.”

She is represented by Motley Rice attorney Daniel Lapinski, Nye Stirling Hale & Miller LLP lawyer Tim Hale, The Sweet Law Firm lawyer Benjamin J. Sweet and Berger Montague attorney Michaela Wallin.

Senzer, who now lives in Tennessee, could not be reached for comment.

The suit alleges that Senzer, who was a yearbook advisor and choral director in Oldfield’s music department, began to groom DePasquale for abuse when she was in the 7th grade. Senzer appealed to her love of music to draw her attention, using her as an accompanist, helping her select songs for auditions, and asking her to listen to music with him, according to the suit. At times he would compliment her clothing, and praise her body while criticizing other girls, she alleges, while normalizing sexual talk and initiating conversations about sex and drugs under the false pretense that the conversations were educational. Senzer’s alleged inappropriate behavior later progressed to improper and abusive touching as he often lured the girl to his office and asked to massage her or for her to rub his back, according to the suit. When she allegedly reported Senzer’s behavior early on to an agent of the school, Senzer’s employers seemingly took no action.

DePasquale alleges Senzer continued to manipulate her even after she left Oldfield to attend high school and that Senzer raped her when she was a 10th grader.  The school and the school district are alleged to have worked collectively to conceal knowledge of the abuse and to have failed in their obligation to protect their students.

The case is Donna DePasquale v. Harborfields Central School District, et al., in the 

Supreme Court of the State of New York County of Suffolk. 

Read the complaint.

2020-02-03 DePasquale Complaint

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