A former dean of students at the American Boychoir School is facing allegations that he sexually assaulted a young boy while he looked after him after school.
Thomas Curran, who worked at the American Boychoir School in Plainsboro, allegedly abused the 11-year-old boy at the child’s West Windsor home on numerous occasions between April and June of 2013.
Curran, 55, a former dean of students and science teacher at the American Boychoir School, was arrested in Woodstock, Ga. on Friday.
The Ewing resident is accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with a minor and has been charged by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, according to a new release issued by the prosecutor’s office.
Curran was located in Woodstock, Ga., and arrested by the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Georgia Regional Fugitive Task Force. He was taken back to New Jersey by detectives from the prosecutor’s office detective and the West Windsor police after signing a waiver of extradition, the office said.
He is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail in the Mercer County Correction Center and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact Detective Anthony Petracca of the county prosecutor’s office Special Victims Unit at (609) 989-6424 or email@example.com.
In 2002, the New york Times detailed previous sexual abuse cases that took place at the school several decades earlier. In court documents related to some of those cases, the American Boychoir School claimed that it had no duty to protect children in their care from sexual abuse and that children who were abused were themselves negligent for not bringing the abuse to light. One of the students who claimed that he was victimized was constitutional scholar Lawrence Lessig, who has represented another student, John Hardwicke, in his lawsuit against the school. The school claimed that Hardwicke, then 12, had consented to sex and school representatives said that he was negligent in not reporting the incidents at the time.
Several other men stepped forward after Hardwicke went public with the allegations, and said they were sexually abused by staff members or other older students enrolled at the school. This abuse occurred in the 1970s, 1980s, and into the late 1990s. The school paid more than $850,000 in settlement money to one victim to avoid further lawsuits.
The school had contended that the state’s charitable immunity act protected it from liability in sexual abuse lawsuits brought by former students. The New Jersey Supreme Court found that the Charitable Immunity Act immunizes charities for negligence only. It does not bar statutory or common-law claims that are based on willful, wanton or grossly negligent conduct. The school’s lawyers requested that the New Jersey Supreme Court reconsider the decision. But in 2006, Richard Codey signed a bill into New Jersey law ending the Boychoir’s charitable immunity defense, making New Jersey the 48th state to allow victims of childhood sex abuse to sue churches, schools and other non-profits for the actions of their staff. Hardwicke fought tirelessly to get the bill passed. His efforts were championed by New Jersey State Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex).