Tuesday, December 10, 2013
CARRABASSETT VALLEY -- A civil lawsuit has been filed against Carrabassett Valley Academy by the family of a 16-year-old former student who was assaulted by a coach at the school.
In April 2011, snowboarding coach Dylan Darienzzo, then 19, had sex with the 16-year-old girl while on a school winter sports competition in Colorado, according to the suit filed by attorney Michael Noonan in Maine District Court on Sept. 21.
On Sept. 29, 2011, Darienzzo was arrested in Maine on a warrant from Colorado.
Darienzzo was initially charged with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, a felony. On May 29, he pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in the district court of Summit County, Colo.
Colorado District Attorney Christine Word said that the lesser charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and that Darienzzo was given a deferred judgment.
"That recognizes that somebody made a big mistake; they exercised poor judgment," Word said. "A dangerous sex predator, he's not going to get a deferred judgment."
The lawsuit claims that the school was aware that, before the assault, Darienzzo had "an intimate affair" with another student at the school and "kept him on as coach, rejecting efforts by coaches to dismiss him from the program as a danger to students."
The suit claims that during the week-long competition in early April, Darienzzo got the 16-year-old's phone number while riding with her on a chairlift. The two exchanged text messages. Near the end of the trip, Darienzzo invited her to the coaches' condominium where they engaged in sexual relations, according to the suit.
The amount being sought in the suit cannot exceed $1,350,000.
Head of School Kate Punderson said that the school reacted appropriately.
When Carrabassett Valley Academy learned about that incident, the school "immediately addressed it by terminating its relationship with the coach, notifying the student's parents and notifying the appropriate authorities," Punderson said.
Punderson said that Darienzzo had been employed to coach participants in the affiliated Sugarloaf/Carrabassett Valley Academy program and had not been hired to coach the 16-year-old, who was a student at Carrabassett Valley Academy.
A successful snowboarder, Darienzzo graduated from the academy in June 2009 when he was the faculty choice speaker at the graduation ceremony.
Darienzzo is on probation until May 2014, according to Word.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287