Town of Wilton, school district sued for alleged abuse by former preschool employee

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WILTON–For the second time, a lawsuit has been filed against the town of Wilton and the Wilton Board of Education for employing a man accused of sexually exploiting young children.

In January 2013, parents of a girl at the Miller-Driscoll School, a preschool part of the Wilton Public Schools, reported to the Board of Education that their daughter had been inappropriately touched by a teacher. The parents claimed that Eric von Kohorn, 36, a paraprofessional who started working at the preschool in 2007, had taken their daughter to the bathroom alone. The girl was fully toilet-trained at the time.

The girl said that von Kohorn touched her genitals, which led to physical irritation and injuries in that area.

When interviewed, von Kohorn initially denied taking the girl to the bathroom alone, but in a second interview said he’d lied and actually had taken her, despite her not needing assistance.

The school’s director investigated the claims and reported the incident back to the Board of Education human resources department, as well as to the Department of Children and Families. However, he told DCF that his investigation “did not support the girl’s claims,” and DCF decided not to perform its own investigation.

That girl’s family also sued the town and district.

After the incident von Kohorn was switched to a different preschool classroom in the same school.

Later on, a boy in the second classroom told his parents about a bathroom incident.

According to the parents of the boy, who filed the second lawsuit, their child said that von Kohorn brought him to the bathroom alone and photographed him with his pants down.

The parents don’t know what was done with those photos, “which, according to the lawsuit, is a source of considerable distress for the family.”

von Kohorn was arrested on August 20, 2014 on charges of first-degree possession of child porn and promoting a minor in an obscene performance, but later pleaded guilty in a deal to one count of illegal possession of child pornography. State judicial records indicate he was sentenced to six years, which would be suspended after he served two years.

It’s not clear if the photos he was arrested for were of the boy in this second lawsuit or of a different child.

After von Kohorn’s arrest in August 2014, the district released a statement that it was notified by federal and state law enforcement that Von Kohorn was under investigation on June 11, 2014, at which point he was put on administrative leave, removed from the school grounds, and asked not to return. Von Kohorn later resigned on June 16, after which point communication between Von Kohorn and the district ceased.

A follow-up statement released by the district said authorities told the district that there was no evidence that suggests he harmed any Wilton children. Von Kohorn had no disciplinary record in his personnel file, and the district said there were no reports of staff members observing him acting inappropriately with children.

FOX 61 has not spoken with police or the school district about the latest lawsuit.