Attorneys for a teenager molested by an ex-police officer claim in a lawsuit the village of Round Lake Beach and Grayslake High School District 127 did not do enough to prevent her from becoming a victim two years ago.
Leroy Kuffel, 54, was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in May 2010. He was sentenced to a 60-day local jail term and 30 months of additional confinement, with release only for work and sex-offender treatment.
Trial testimony showed the girl, then 16, became close to Kuffel as she was breaking up with his son. Kuffel apologized at his sentencing hearing for making “bad decisions.”
The suit charges District 127 with negligence and willful and wanton misconduct for not making sure she complied with the school’s sign-out policy required of students leaving the Grayslake North High School campus.
The suit also claims Grayslake North employees didn’t notify the teen’s parents about her absenteeism pattern during the months she was involved with Kuffel.
Court documents state the teen left the Grayslake North campus on “numerous occasions” during school hours to meet with and have sex with Kuffel, adding he would pick her up on school grounds.
District 127 Superintendent Catherine Finger said Friday in an email she was in meetings and could not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the suit accuses Round Lake Beach of negligently retaining Kuffel as a police officer while he abused the girl from January to April 2009. The complaint doesn’t specify how or when the village learned about Kuffel and the teenager, but alleges that unspecified Round Lake Beach officials were “uniquely aware that Leroy posed a risk to engaging in an inappropriate sexual relationship with plaintiff.”
“On at last two occasions, Leroy met with plaintiff while on duty and in uniform,” says the suit filed by attorneys Timothy Hoerman and F. Todd Weston, who declined to comment Friday.
Round Lake Beach Village Administrator David Kilbane also declined to comment because officials there have yet to receive the lawsuit, which was filed in October.
Kuffel, who owns a towing and wrecking business in Lake Villa Township, also was named in the lawsuit. It accuses him of assault, battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. Kuffel declined to comment and deferred to his attorney, Charles Smith.
Smith said Friday he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint, but reiterated his position the teenager, now 19, had a lawsuit in mind from the beginning when she accused Kuffel.
Other defendants in the suit are Kuffel’s son and a Round Lake Beach restaurant.
The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages.
On Nov. 10, Circuit Judge Jorge Ortiz ruled the name “Jane Doe” will be used for the teen in all public documents and hearings over the lawsuit.
Her lawyers wrote she would suffer further emotional distress, anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation if her real name became known.
Kuffel was a police officer for 29 years and retired soon after his arrest in April 2009.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.