Minnesota Private School Settles Student’s Sex Abuse Lawsuit

December 3, 2014

A private Catholic high school in St. Paul, Minn., has settled a lawsuit filed by a former student who was sexually assaulted by a weight room instructor six years ago, a newspaper has reported.

The Star Tribune reported that Cameron Clarkson’s lawsuit alleged Cretin-Derham Hall was negligent because it failed to supervise Gail E. Gagne, failed to prevent her misconduct and failed to protect him, alleging that other students bullied and targeted him.

The case was scheduled to go to trial next week. Terms of the settlement were unclear.

The school’s attorney, Teri Bentson, couldn’t be reached on Wednesday and didn’t immediately return an email from The Associated Press on Sunday. Jeff Anderson, Clarkson’s attorney, told the Star Tribune that the settlement hasn’t been formalized. The lawsuit also named Gagne as a plaintiff; her attorney told the newspaper that she settled with the student a week or two ago for $1.

The Associated Press doesn’t usually name sexual assault victims but is naming Clarkson because he has chosen to speak out about his case.

Cretin-Derham Hall hired Gagne as an assistant basketball coach in 2007. She was working as a weight room instructor during the summer of 2008 when she met Clarkson. She was 25 at the time; he was 16. The lawsuit said the student participated in the school’s work-study program and reported directly to Gagne. Clarkson said the abuse lasted two months.

Gagne, the daughter of former professional wrestler Greg Gagne and granddaughter of former wrestler Vern Gagne, pleaded guilty in 2011 to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor. She was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender.

The lawsuit said Gagne’s actions caused Clarkson ongoing emotional distress and humiliation.

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