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Appeal rejected in lawsuit over school tutor’s abuse of boy

April 18, 2020 GMT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from a young man who accused the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese of negligence for failing to prevent a sexual relationship with a high school tutor.

It wasn’t unanimous. Three justices — Bridget McCormack, Richard Bernstein and Megan Cavanagh — said Friday they wanted to hear the case.

The state appeals court in 2018 agreed with a Kent County judge who had dismissed a lawsuit against the diocese and school officials. They said they were unaware of the relationship between Abigail Simon and a teenager at Catholic Central High School in 2013.

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There were concerns, however, among staff about how Simon publicly acted with boys at Catholic Central and West Catholic high schools.

Simon, now 40, is serving an eight-year sentence for first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Cavanagh said she wanted the Supreme Court to consider whether Simon’s public behavior could have been seen as sufficient “to put the diocese on notice that she posed a threat of criminal conduct to a specific victim or victims.”