Friday September 14, 2012

STOCKBRIDGE -- Berk shire Hills Regional School District administrators continued to allow school counselor Scott Muir to take young girls to his basement office in the early to mid-2000s after one complained of sexual abuse, according to the text of a civil complaint released Thursday following a records request by The Eagle.

"School administrators knew or should have known that Muir was engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with [the victims] but exhibited deliberate indifference to his conduct," the complaint alleges.

Instead, the school continued to permit Muir to remove the girl from class "and take her to his basement office without any supervision, which resulted in the [victim] suffering further harassment," claims the suit, which was filed on behalf of four victims, who were between the ages of 8 and 10 and attended the now closed Stockbridge Plain School at the time.

In addition to an alleged victim reporting the abuse, the girl’s mother and the guardian of another student complained to the principal and then-superintendent, the suit says.

The civil suit, announced late last month by the attorney representing the four victims, was first filed with the Mas sachusetts Commission Against Discrimination on Aug. 13, but the agency declined to release the text of the suit or confirm its existence until it was served on the school district.

A spokeswoman for MCAD said Thursday that the district and Muir, who is also named as plaintiff, have now been formally notified of the suit. Their responses, however, will remain secret under the commission’s guidelines.

MCAD conducts its own investigations into complaints and renders decisions based on its findings, said a spokeswoman for the commission. If the case goes to a hearing, it would be open to the public.

Muir, 37, of Church Street in Stockbridge, is still facing criminal charges in connection to the alleged rape and molestation of five students between 2003 and 2005. He has pleaded not guilty to the 20 charges against him.

The law firm handling the suit suggested in its complaint that it would be appropriate for the commission to delay its own investigation until the criminal case is resolved.

Muir hasn’t been employed by the school district since 2007, when the Stockbridge Plain School was closed.

In 2004, he was the subject of an internal investigation conducted by the district when the complaints of abuse first came to light.

In May, the district denied The Eagle’s request for records of that investigation, citing state law that allows, but does not require, such records to be withheld from the public.

To reach Ned Oliver:
noliver@berkshireeagle.com,
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