Mar­son named in new suit

Former stu­dent su­ing pub­lic board for dam­ages linked to al­leged sex abuse

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - FRONT PAGE - JA­SON MILLER

The lo­cal pub­lic school board has been hit with yet an­other mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar civil suit linked to a dis­graced former mid­dle school teacher con­victed of prey­ing on his stu­dents in the 1970s.

Robert Reynolds, coun­sel for the male vic­tim, who can’t be named due to a pub­li­ca­tion ban, said his client has claimed for dam­ages aris­ing as re­sult of al­leged abuse he suf­fered from con­victed pae­dophile, Robert Ter­rence Mar­son, while he was a stu­dent at Harry J. Clarke, where Mar­son taught.

“It’s a claim against the board be­cause of the ac­tions of that guy (Mar­son) who was a teacher for the board,” Reynolds said of the civil claim heard last week by Jus­tice He­len MacLeod-Be­liv­eau. “We just sub­mit­ted clos­ing ar­gu­ments, the other side now has an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond and then it goes in front of the judge in early May to hear oral ar­gu­ments based on the writ­ten sub­mis­sions.”

The suit is linked to a his­tor­i­cal sex­ual abuse case, which cul­mi­nated in 2013 with a six-mem­ber jury panel award­ing Scott Langstaff, an­other stu­dent of Mar­son, $3.2 mil­lion for ex­ten­sive sex­ual abuse in­flicted on him by a Belleville el­e­men­tary school teacher in the 1970s.

“It’s a sim­i­lar case and a sim­i­lar trial, ex­cept this one is just in front of a judge with­out a jury,” Reynolds told The Intelligencer. “The num­bers aren’t the same, but it’s the same kind of claim. The amount claimed would be sim­i­lar in or­der of mag­ni­tude to what’s claimed (in the Langstaff case).”

Reynolds said his client was a stu­dent at Harry J. Clarke.

“He was a stu­dent at the school dur­ing Mar­son’s time and he came into con­tact with Mar­son,” Reynolds said.

In the Langstaff case, the jury found the Hast­ings and Prince Ed­ward Dis­trict School li­able and neg­li­gent for phys­i­cal and sex­ual as­saults com­mit­ted on Langstaff

Langstaff launched a civil suit af­ter Belleville’s Jus­tice Stephen Hunter in 2008 con­victed Mar­son of abus­ing him.

The jury in the re­sult­ing civil trial on Jan. 24, 2013 ruled the board must pay Langstaff $3.2 mil­lion in dam­ages.

Jus­tice Wolf Tausend­fre­und ruled April 5, 2013 in Belleville that the Hast­ings and Prince Ed­ward Dis­trict School Board was “vi­car­i­ously li­able” for now-re­tired teacher Mar­son’s sex­ual as­saults upon Langstaff.

Reynolds, who didn’t act as coun­sel for Langstaff but is aware of details in the case, said the 2013 civil rul­ing of $3.2 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion was ap­pealed by the board.

“The board ap­pealed and the trial judge was set aside by the Court of Ap­peal and it was sent back for new trial,” Reynolds said. “Be­fore it came up again for a new trial it set­tled.”

Dur­ing the 2013 civil case, the jury heard of the board giv­ing Mar­son a key which gave him un­lim­ited ac­cess to a mini-zoo he housed in his science class­room at Harry J. Clarke.

It was there Mar­son sex­u­ally as­saulted Langstaff, who was left alone with the pe­dophile dur­ing re­cess, lunch breaks, af­ter school and week­ends, un­der the pre­tence stu­dents were help­ing care for the an­i­mals.

Mar­son later ad­mit­ted the pri­mary pur­pose for the class­room zoo was “to groom young boys to be­come his victims,” said Jus­tice Wolf Tausend­fre­und in 2013.

Mar­son re­tired from teach­ing in 1997 and his teach­ing cer­tifi­cate was later re­voked.

Mar­son, then 68, was con­victed and sen­tenced to two years in prison in April 2008, for the in­de­cent acts.

Robert Ter­rence Mar­son

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