Women file 4 new lawsuits alleging abuse by Catlin Gabel teachers


The newest lawsuits share the alleged experiences of five women

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Five women have filed four new lawsuits against the private Portland school, Catlin Gabel.

More former students filed new lawsuits against the school on Tuesday, with claims of child sexual, physical and mental abuse. The newest lawsuits share the alleged experiences of five women: Mary Doe 1, Emily White, Mary Doe 2, Sarah Jones and Mary Doe 3. The lawsuits allege the abuse went on from the 1960s to 2001.

Mary Doe 1

While in middle school, Mary Doe 1 gave her teacher Fred Corbett a Mickey Mouse watch she bought with her own allowance money. She thought Corbett was her boyfriend. She said he first molested her in a windowless storage room beneath Catlin Gabel’s library, but that was only one out of numerous instances of sexual abuse.

Other instances allegedly took place after basketball games, in Corbett’s car and once at a house where she was babysitting. Mary Doe 1 says the abuse occurred from the time she was in seventh grade through ninth grade.

Corbett was not named in the 16-page report released by the Catlin Gabel Board of Trustees in December 2019, but instead referred to as “Employee 2.” In the report, the abuse is described as “A student reported that this employee showed an inappropriate romantic interest in her when she was in the 7th and 8th grades. He reportedly told her to meet him at various locations on campus including the library, where they would have sexual intercourse.” According to the plaintiff, that description is inaccurate.

“When I read the Report, it hurt me that they couldn’t even get it right,” said Mary Doe 1. “It was like Catlin didn’t listen to me.”

She is seeking $6 million in non-economic damages.

Emily White and Mary Doe 2

Emily White and Mary Doe 2 say they both were abused by the same Catlin teacher, Samuel Crawly. Crawly was named in the Catlin Report which detailed his sexual abuse against multiple students.

White said she was abused by Crawley starting when she was 17, ending when she was 19. Doe 2 said she was abused by crawly beginning when she was 17, ending when she was 18. They both allege he groomed them for a sexual relationship when they were still minors by isolating them from friends and family, manipulating them into becoming emotionally-dependent on him.

Both women are seeking $1,550,000 in damages.

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones’ lawsuit alleges that two teachers abused her in 1994 and 1996. Jones said Dale Rawls mentally abused her in 1994 while fellow teacher Susan Sowles psychically and mentally abused her in ’96.

Jones alleges that Rawls intentionally, sexually shamed her during her eighth grade graduation ceremony, which she said led to her being taunted as a “slut” throughout her high school years at Catlin.

When Jones was a junior in high school, the lawsuit said that she and her friends were talking loudly in a library when Susan Sowles forcibly grabbed Jones, put her hands around Jones’ throat and pushed her against a bookcase. Sowles allegedly told Jones if she tried reporting her, no one would believe her and that she was just a “stupid, disrespectful teenager.”

Jones seeks $750,000 in damages.

Mary Doe 3

Mary Doe 3’s lawsuit alleges she was abused by Richardson Shoemaker during the 2000-2001 school year, both sexually and psychologically. Shoemaker was named as the most notorious of Catlin Gabel’s sexually abusive teachers in the Catlin report. Several girls had reportedly gone to Catlin Gabel teachers or administration to complain that Shoemaker had molested them.

Mary Doe 3 said the abuse she experienced began when she was just 11-years-old. The lawsuit says Shoemaker abused her at his desk, touching her hips and backside at least six separate times, touching her breasts over her shirt at least once, and forcing her to sit on his lap. She says he would abuse her during basketball practice under the guise of teaching her different moves like “boxing out.”

After she witnessed counselors not taking any of Mary Doe’s classmates seriously when they attempted to report this, Mary Doe went to Paul Berg, the head of the middle school. However he reportedly told her he wasn’t going to do anything about it.

“I saw my classmate’s anguish after they had to confront Shoe themselves and could not stop him harassing and touching them,” said Mary Doe 3. “So I went to Paul Berg and he just told me to drop it. We all felt like we weren’t getting the help we needed. None of the adults would protect us so we tried to hide in the girls’ bathroom during math class as often as we could.”

Mary Doe 3’s lawsuit is seeking $2 million in damages.

Previous Allegations

These lawsuits come one week after another former student announced she’s suing the school for $4.5 million over her claims she was abused by Shoemaker more than 80 times during the 1994-95 school year. A recent investigation identified 21 staff members involved in incidents going back six decades.

The Catlin Gabel Board of Trustees released the explosive 16-page report in December 2019. The report, carried out by independent investigator Lori Watson, lists allegations of sexual abuse against students by 9 former teachers and staff members, 6 of whom are named. It also details dozens of additional allegations of misconduct.

Three of the plaintiffs and their attorneys will be spoke about the suits in a press conference held at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.

KOIN 6 News will update this when more information becomes available.

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