Related to alleged sexual abuse at Citadel summer camp
Originally published 12:28 p.m., November 16, 2011
Updated 03:14 p.m., November 16, 2011
Two more alleged victims of convicted molester Michael Arpaio are expected to file lawsuits against the former Marine and The Citadel related to sexual abuse that reportedly occurred at the school’s summer camp, an attorney said today.
Georgetown attorney Edward Bell said he expects to file a lawsuit Friday alleging that Arpaio raped a boy at the camp during his time there. Another suit with a separate victim is in the works, but details in that case are still being reviewed, he said.
The Citadel had no immediate comment on Bell’s planned lawsuits. “We cannot comment on something we have not seen,” Citadel spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells said.
Bell represented five other campers who sued the school in 2003 alleging they had been molested by Arpaio, who served as a volunteer counselor at the camp between 1995 and 2001. The Citadel settled the lawsuits in 2006 for $3.8 million.
In 2003, Arpaio, then 29, pleaded guilty in military court to charges ranging from indecent assault to providing alcohol to minors. He was sentenced during a court-martial to 10 years of confinement, suspended to 15 months at the Navy brig in Hanahan, authorities said.
Bell said he was stunned to learn last week that The Citadel failed to notify police of allegations made against another camp counselor just months after the school settled the Arpaio case.
In 2007, a camper accused senior counselor Louis “Skip” ReVille of watching porn and masturbating with boys at the camp five years earlier.
The Citadel quietly shelved the matter after a brief internal investigation and never reported the complaint to police. ReVille went on to teach and coach around the Lowcountry, and he is now charged with molesting at least five boys.
“I would have thought they learned their lesson,” Bell said. “One’s actions should always fall on the side of protecting children rather than looking out for your own legal liability.”
Citadel President John Rosa this week publicly apologized for the school’s handling of the ReVille complaint in 2007, and The Citadel turned over hundreds of pages of documents in response to a Freedom of Information request from the newspaper.
“We should have done more,” he told cadets on Tuesday. “We know that.”
Also Wednesday, Pinewood Preparatory School released a new, though limited, statement about ReVille’s 2002-2006 tenure at the private Summerville private school, which serves preschool through grade 12. The statement, from Dr. James Mann, chairman of Pinewood school board, read:
“Louis ReVille was employed as an English teacher at Pinewood Preparatory School from August 2002 to May 2006. His annual contract was not renewed for the following year for classroom instructional reasons. A background check was conducted prior to employment in April 2002 and came back with no prior incidents or arrest.
“While Mr. ReVille was employed at Pinewood, the school administration received no notice of any incidents of sexual impropriety on the part of Mr. ReVille. If requested, Pinewood will work in full cooperation with law enforcement officials. Our concern is for the children. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims who have been affected.”
Asked later Wednesday if the school has received notice of any incidents of inappropriate behavior by ReVille since he left Pinewood, a school spokesperson said, “No comment.”
ReVille, 32, is charged by Mount Pleasant police with sexually abusing five boys. Police have indicted at least six more charges are on the way for the jailed former coach, teacher and Bible study leader.
ReVille graduated from The Citadel in 2002. Pinewood Prep, a school of 800 students founded in 1952, stands out as ReVille’s first job and most extended professional tenure.
Two former Pinewood Prep employees have told The Post and Courier this week that while ReVille was fired for academic reasons, there was widespread suspicion about his activity with young boys attending the school.
Shortly after Pinewood issued its statement, attorneys for five victims in the ReVille case put the school on notice that it must preserve all documents related to his employment there and cannot destroy records without a court order.
“It is critical to these families that all records in your possession that in any manner reference Mr. ReVille are preserved,” wrote attorney Allan P. Sloan III. “If you do not agree to comply with this request please let me know immediately so that legal action can be taken to preserve the documents and data.”
Sloan’s firm is representing the victims along with fellow Charleston attorney Gregg Meyers, who also was involved in case of infamous predator Eddie Fischer, who molested more than 40 students during his teaching career in the Charleston area.
Among other things, they are seeking ReVille’s applications for employment, background checks performed on him, job reviews, complaints about him and school guidelines for staff interacting with children off school grounds.
The lawyers would not comment further on the matter or say whether the students they represent attended Pinewood.