Lawsuit accuses Pinewood Prep faculty of failing to report sexual abuse

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Another lawsuit was filed Wednesday against a Summerville private school, claiming the former headmaster and former guidance counselor were told one of the teachers, Louis "Skip" ReVille, was sexually abusing students.

"We believe that Pinewood (Preparatory School) had an excellent opportunity to step in, intervene, stop ReVille, and they didn't," said Laura Khare, an attorney representing a former Pinewood Prep student.

Khare said school officials at Pinewood Preparatory School had the chance to stop ReVille, but didn't.

"Anytime you can take a predator off the streets, out of society, out of contact with children, you can prevent additional abuse," Khare said.

This is the second lawsuit filed against the school and its former headmaster Glyn Cowlishaw regarding ReVille.

"The allegations of this second lawsuit are unfounded and without merit," said Pinewood Prep Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. James Mann in a statement released late Wednesday night.

The latest lawsuit also names guidance counselor Brenden Diffley, claiming in 2004 Cowlishaw and Diffley were notified that ReVille improperly touched middle school boys on school property.

The lawsuit goes on to state that the school officials "engaged in a conspiracy of silence by failing to notify law enforcement."

"Pinewood continues to fully cooperate with investigators and has provided information as requested by law enforcement," Mann went on to say in the school's release. "SLED recently interviewed a number of educators at the school and indicated that the information provided appeared to be consistent with facts already collected by investigators."

The lawsuit also claims the officials named tried to keep others from notifying law enforcement. According to state law, people in certain professions, such as teachers, guidance counselors and principals, must report abuse to authorities.

"If a child is being abused, one of the reasons we need to report it is so that child can get some help," said Libby Ralston, Executive Director of the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center.

Ralston said even if abuse is suspected and not known for sure, it is important to tell police.

"They need to understand it's not their job to know for sure. There is a department in place with trained people to look into that," Ralston said.

Khare said you cannot be held responsible, criminally or civilly, if it turns out that your suspicions are wrong.

ReVille worked at Pinewood as a teacher and a coach from 2002 to 2006. He has also worked for many other schools, including the Citadel, Bishop England High School and Moultrie Middle School.

ReVille was arrested Oct. 28 and is accused of molesting nine boys in Mt. Pleasant. Police in Hanahan, Summerville and Charleston are also investigating ReVille.

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