EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 24, 2012

Town, teachers cleared in rape lawsuit

Plaintiffs withdraw suit over school trip


The suit named the town of Andover, teacher/chaperones Josephine Goldin and Brian Shea, and EF Cultural Travel, the company that set up the trip.

The attorney for EF Cultural Travel could not be reached for comment.

Perkins said the girl and her parents decided to drop the case after depositions from three key witnesses: “The young man who had the encounter, the chaperone from his school in Vermont, and a friend of the plaintiff who was with her throughout the trip.”

Those three witnesses countered nearly every major detail of the lawsuit brought by the girl and her parents, he said.

He stopped short of saying that the girl made up the story, noting that his clients didn’t want him to get into details about what did or didn’t happen that night or during the trip.

“They (the teachers) had a close relationship with her,” Perkins said. “It was very poor judgment and very harmful to them to bring the lawsuit. But they don’t want to discuss the details about what happened. People will have to draw their own conclusions.”

He said the claim that she was not treated well by the chaperones was also refuted by the testimony.

“There was truly no basis for that claim,” he said.

He added, “the judgment was for them. They have been vindicated and they wish the plaintiff well. They are glad to put this behind them and plan to move on.”

Perkins said they are also glad that a cloud of suspicion has been lifted.

“Their experience now for four years has been under a cloud because of these accusations,” he said. “They feel this result is the result everyone should have realized from the start.”

While the lawsuit was hanging over them and the town, Goldin and Shea, who have supervised a number of overseas trips in the past, decided to opt out of this year’s April trip to London.

School Superintendent Marinel McGrath did not comment on the disposition of the case.

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