Sex-abuse victim sues Madison School District

By ED TRELEVEN 608-252-6134

More than 25 years after his teacher sexually molested him, a former Cherokee Middle School student sued the Madison School District, claiming the district should have known about the teacher’s history of molesting students at other schools.

The teacher, Gary T. Kazmarek, 67, is in prison in Kentucky, where he is serving a 13-year sentence for molesting five boys while he was a teacher and coach at a Catholic school in Louisville from 1968 to 1973.

The lawsuit, filed by former Cherokee student Robert Heinz, alleges the Madison School District should have known before Kazmarek became a teacher at Cherokee in the late 1970s that he molested students at other schools. In addition to Louisville, the lawsuit states, Kazmarek also abused boys at Catholic schools in Milwaukee and Middleton.

Kazmarek pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault of a child in 1983 for molesting Heinz, then 12 years old, and was sentenced to five years in prison. Heinz said Thursday he doesn’t object to including his name with this story because he wants others to know they need not be silent about abuse.

In 1995, a $600,379 judgment was entered in a Milwaukee County lawsuit involving a man who said Kazmarek abused him when he was an 11-year-old student at a Catholic school there.

Last year, the state Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Diocese of Madison, brought by five men who said they were abused by Kazmarek in Louisville and said his history in Wisconsin was covered up.

The court said the Archdiocese and Diocese were not required to notify all potential subsequent employers about the abuse. The men also were part of a $25.7 million abuse settlement with the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The diocese lawsuit, and many others like it in Wisconsin, was filed by St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who is also representing Heinz. Anderson was not available for comment Thursday.

Heinz’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court, states Heinz came to “know, admire, trust, revere and respect Gary Kazmarek,” before he molested Heinz for about a year.

The school district knew or should have known about the abuse, the lawsuit states, but did nothing to prevent or stop it.

District spokesman Ken Syke said the district has not yet received the lawsuit and could not comment.

Because the district failed to act, the lawsuit states, Heinz has suffered emotional distress, fear, embarrassment and humiliation and has lost income and earning capacity and will continue to incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensation for past and future pain and suffering, health care and wages.