Catholic diocese and school reach settlement in sexual abuse case.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford and officials of the Hopkins School in New Haven have agreed to settle a lawsuit in Superior Court in New Haven that claimed a teacher abusing young boys was covered up by the faculty. In his lawsuit, filed in May 2018, an unidentified man said he was just twelve years old and a student at St. Lawrence parochial school in West Haven when he was sexually assaulted by Glenn Goncalo, a teacher at Hopkins School in 1990 and 1991. In October 2019, Cindy Robinson of the law firm Tremont, Sheldon, Robinson and Mahoney representing the plaintiff, offered to settle the case against the archdiocese and the school for $7.48 million.
Goncalo committed suicide after he had agreed to turned himself into police in an unrelated sexual assault allegation. The lawsuit claimed “Goncalo was allowed 24/7 access into Hopkins School, including after regular school hours and when school was not in session, and would bring minor boys, including the plaintiff, to the school under the guise of using the gym to play basketball.”
“It is especially upsetting that Hopkins allowed Goncalo to come and go as he pleased and permitted him to bring children on school premises at all hours of the day and night, even allowing the boys to sleep over at the school, without any supervision,” Robinson said. “We have a preventable situation where schools allowed a school employee to have unmonitored access to children, enabling him to sexually abuse them. The effects of this kind of abuse are indelible – the loss of self-esteem, the inability to trust, the anxiety never goes away.”
Hopkins School officials stated last year that its “protocols were strengthened and updated following investigations into three alleged sexual assaults on its campus or involving its faculty dating back to 1970.” And, John Galayda, Director Of Communications, said, “Hopkins first learned of the current allegations in the last few years when it received a letter from plaintiff’s lawyer. It swiftly commenced an investigation and did not sweep anything under the rug. Hopkins School has been very open and transparent about its confrontation of any sexual misconduct within its community.” He added, “Indeed, the school has written its community about past sexual misconduct including naming the adults who committed the abhorrent act. Hopkins will continue to address these issues with conviction for rooting-out misconduct and supporting those who have survived such reprehensible behavior.”
A report detailing the assault of the second victim, dated September 7, 1991, was uncovered. In the report, the boy’s father alleged that his son had been sexually assaulted at Hopkins School by Goncalo. It reads, “Goncalo was the boy’s teacher at St. Lawrence and had taken the boy to Hopkins on the pretext of having him try out for the baseball team. But when they got into the school’s vacant gym, Goncalo allegedly sexually assaulted him… Goncalo bound the boy’s hands behind his back” so he would not fight the assault and that another “child witnessed the act.”
In another statement issued by Johns Hopkins at the time of the original settlement negotiations, the school indicated, “It is important for the public to know that the Archdiocese condemns the sexual abuse of minors as well as the sexual abuse of vulnerable adults.”