Former Newburgh student sues district alleging sexual abuse by teachers


GOSHEN – An Orange County man, who is now 59, has filed a lawsuit against two former Newburgh art teachers and the Newburgh Enlarged City School District alleging the men sexually abused and assaulted him for three years while he was a student at the Balmville Elementary School and that the district did nothing to prevent the behavior.

The suit, filed by “JM Doe,” maintains the abuse began from about 1973 to 1975 when he was 10 to 12 years old.

The 22-page suit, filed in Orange County State Supreme Court, alleges the teachers, identified as the late Thomas Herman and Ralph Petrozello “sexually assaulted and sexually abused plaintiff on multiple and numerous occasions, touching the plaintiff’s penis and genitalia, forcing the plaintiff to touch their genitalia and repeatedly raping the plaintiff.”

The lawsuit maintains the school district had a responsibility to protect students and “did nothing to prevent the abuse and assault from occurring.” It stopped when “JM Doe” left the Balmville School, the suit said.

As a result of the alleged assaults, the plaintiff “has suffered and continues to suffer great physical, mental pain and anguish, severe and permanent emotional distress, psychological injuries, fear and anxiety; was prevented and will continue to be prevented from performing his normal daily activities; develop the problem with sexual issues; was and will continue to be deprived of the enjoyment of life’s pleasures; has suffered and will continue to suffer loss of earnings and earning capacity; has incurred and will in the future incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment, and was otherwise damaged in an amount that exceeds the jurisdictional limits of lower courts in the state.”

The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial, interest, costs and disbursements and attorney’s fees.