Motley Rice: Settlement reached in Reville victim, Pinewood Prep lawsuit
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A confidential settlement agreement has been reached in the civil lawsuits between two victims of sexual abuse by former coach Skip Reville and Pinewood Prep, before the case even came to trial.
The suit had alleged the school and former headmaster Glyn Cowlishaw breached their duty of care and committed gross negligence in the hiring, supervision and retention of ReVille as a teacher and coach. The filing also claims civil conspiracy.
"With the conclusion of these cases, our clients will finally be able to move one more step in the right direction, continuing this most difficult healing process," said David Hoyle, one of the Motley Rice attorneys representing John Doe and Joe Doe 2. "I applaud the bravery and commitment of these young men to see this case to the end, despite the intense emotions and hurt the process often brought back for them and their families."
As part of the settlement, Pinewood Prep has started a new Child Protection Policy that implements and enforces stricter procedures to protect students, which will remain in effect for a minimum of ten years. They also agreed to allow an outside agency check their documents to ensure compliance with the policy.
"Our board and our attorneys have worked to defend our school against both civil and criminal allegations and have willingly agreed to settle this civil action," stated Lisa Grossman, chairman of the PPS Board of Trustees. "With this settlement completed, Pinewood and its staff will continue to focus on preparing students to excel in college and inspire them to make a positive impact on the world."
The Pinewood Prep Board of Trustees also passed a resolution that recognized the effect the Reville case had on the Lowcountry and how it "shined a spotlight on an often overlooked problem within our society." The board pledged the school's support for the efforts of From Darkness to Light, the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center and the Medical University of South Carolina's National Crime Victims Center.
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims of Skip ReVille, who preyed on young people at numerous institutions here in the Lowcountry," added Grossman. "There is no question that these events have contributed to a deeper understanding of how sexual predators operate, helping the school create a Child Protection Policy and mandatory employee training moving forward."
In April of last year, Solicitor David Pascoe issued a statement stating "There is no credible evidence whatsoever that anyone at Pinewood Prep had knowledge that Skip ReVille was secretly abusing children and, therefore, should have reported it."
Motley Rice representatives note the differences between criminal and civil cases. The burden of proof in a criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt but in a civil case, the burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. Here, the parties resolved the case prior to any trial.
"The actions taken by Pinewood Preparatory School demonstrate real reforms that can be achieved through the civil justice system and Motley Rice's staunch commitment to our clients," stated Joe Rice, Motley Rice co-founding member and one of the attorneys for John Doe and Joe Doe 2. "The Child Protection Policy and provisions in this agreement can be used as a model and foundation for public and private institutions in implementing similar protections for students."
Motley Rice member and also an attorney for John Doe and John Doe 2 Marlon Kimpson continued, "I encourage institutions that have existing policies to revisit them and provide updates just as those indicated in this agreement. These should be living and ever-evolving polices in order to ensure effectiveness."
Pinewood Preparatory School is represented by Clayton McCullough of McCullough Khan LLC and Alice Paylor of Rosen, Rosen & Hagood LLC. Joseph Rice, Marlon Kimpson, T. David Hoyle and Laura Khare of Motley Rice LLC and attorney William H. Nixon, Jr., of Charleston, S.C. represent John Doe and John Doe 2, ReVille sexual abuse survivors.
Attorneys with Motley Rice say their client is one of around 30 "identified victims" in the evolving sexual assault and molestation case against ReVille. They say their client was a student at Pinewood Prep and abused by ReVille from 2004 until 2006 when ReVille's employment with the school was ended.
ReVille was taken into custody on Oct. 28, 2011. Investigators with the Mount Pleasant Police Department said he confessed to several counts of criminal sexual conduct involving minors. His arrest was part of an investigation prompted by information provided by the Dee Norton Children's Center. Since his arrest, ReVille has confessed to several additional counts of criminal sexual conduct with minors as well as other charges related to sexual activity.
In an editor's note to the announcement of the settlement, representatives for Motley Rice said ReVille confessed to sexually abusing both John Doe and John Doe 2 when they were middle school students at Pinewood Prep and he was a teacher and coach there.
ReVille was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his crimes and will do 85 percent before being eligible for release. By that time, he will be 74 years old.
If he is ever released, he will serve seven years under supervision.