Four Former Catlin Gabel Students File $9 Million Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Abuse

The complaint described a “culture of intimacy” that “blurred boundaries between staff and students" at Catlin Gabel.

Four former Catlin Gabel students filed a lawsuit today alleging they were sexually abused by faculty during the 1970s and 1980s.

Rebecca Green, Frances Partridge, Dan Plumridge, and a fourth plaintiff identified as A.A. are suing Catlin Gabel School and seeking $2.25 million each for the psychological and economic damages they say they endured from the sexual abuse.

The lawsuit, filed in Multmonah County Circuit Court, accuses four faculty members of sexual abuse: Richard Shoemaker, Stephen Richmond, Marc Petersen and Roy Stubbs.

Shoemaker, who died in 2018, was accused in a different civil lawsuit filed earlier this month of sexually abusing another Catlin Gabel student, Kim Wilson, when she was a sixth-grader at the school.

"Shoemaker's sexual abuse of students was so open and notorious," the complaints says, "that approximately in 1981 or 1982, members of his sixth grade class created and presented Richardson Shoemaker with a 'dirty old man award' at a graduation ceremony or assembly attended by parents, teachers, and administrators."

Catlin Gabel Spokesman Ken DuBois told WW in an email statement that the school launched its own investigation into the sexual abuse of students in 2018, and that the school is cooperating fully with law enforcement officials.

"Current student safety is our highest priority," DuBois wrote to WW. "We are aware of the lawsuit filed today. We take these allegations very seriously. We apologize to any students who were subjected to sexual misconduct and abuse when they attended Catlin Gabel and deeply regret their suffering."

Today's filing brings the number of students who have filed lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of Catlin Gabel faculty up to five.

The complaint described a "culture of intimacy" that "blurred boundaries between staff and students." It said Catlin Gabel faculty and staff spend significant time with students and families outside of the classroom, and that faculty and staff travel frequently with students.

"This culture of close familial relationships is actively encouraged and promoted by the Catlin Gabel school as part of its 'progressive' educational model," the complaint says. "The policies and practices of Catlin Gabel school… make students inherently more susceptible to child sexual abuse by trusted adults."

The lawsuit is seeking $9 million total for negligence, sexual battery of a child, negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud, and invasion of privacy.

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