The family of the woman molested by former Claremont mayor George Caccavaro is suing the school district, saying Stevens High School Principal Patricia Barry and others knew Caccavaro was a danger.
“My daughter could not defend herself from this monster, yet the school allowed her to be his prey — even after they had received multiple reports about the things he was doing to her,” the victim’s mother said.
Caccavaro was released from jail on Sept. 18 after spending 30 days behind bars. Caccavaro was arrested last October and charged with two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault for the incident, which took place in February 2019. He ended up pleading guilty to two counts of simple assault earlier this year.
Attorney Anthony Carr of Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. said Caccavaro’s crimes against the disabled woman left her with lasting emotional scars.
“George Caccavaro only had to spend 30 days in jail for grooming and sexually abusing a disabled female student over a period of several months. The other defendants have yet to face any accountability. Conversely, my client is left to deal with this for the rest of her life,” Carr said.
According to Carr, Caccavaro was disciplined and fired by the Claremont school district in 2017, where he was working as a substitute teacher, but was rehired later that year. The reason for that firing is not known.
Caccavaro, 78, is a retired businessman who started working as the business manager for the Mascoma Regional Valley Regional School District. After he retired from Mascoma, he started work at Stevens High School in Claremont, first as a substitute teacher, and then as a paraeducator.
Caccavaro is also a former mayor, member of the city council, and member of the police commission. The victim, who was 20 at the time of the sexual assault, is diagnosed with Smith-Lemil-Opitz Syndrome, a genetic disorder that impacts her cognitive, physical and social development, according to Carr.
According to Carr, Kelly Fontaine, who heads up the Stevens High School Life Skills program, Barry, and others in the district were concerned enough about Caccavaro’s interactions with the victim to intercede in the fall of 2018.
He was told by the administration at the high school to stay away from the victim in the fall of 2018, after he was seen by other staff members kissing her, according to court records. Caccavaro used to buy the woman lunches and other gifts, according to her mother.
In February 2019, Caccavaro took the victim and another developmentally disabled student to an off-campus volunteering opportunity at an animal shelter. It was here that Caccavaro groped the woman, grabbed her from behind, and thrust his hips into her, according to the court record. Animal shelter staff witnessed the incident and contacted the school, according to the court record.
The school fired Caccavaro and contacted police, but school officials never contacted the victim’s family, according to the victim’s mother.
“No one from the school told me or anyone in our family about any of this. Instead, they tried to cover everything up,” she said.
School Board Chair Frank Sprague declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted on Wednesday. SAU 6 Superintendent Michael Tempesta did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Caccavaro.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Concord.