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Child Victims Act lawsuit targets Brighton town, school district


The Town of Brighton and the Brighton school district have been hit with lawsuits by two women who allege that their coach sexually abused them when they participated in the town’s gymnastics program in the 1970s.

The two lawsuits filed by Barbara Shields of Rochester and Annette Miano James of Florida under the New York Child Victims Act. The complaints allege that Duncan Ververs, a former Council Rock Elementary School teacher and former Brighton Recreation Department gymnastics director and coach, abused them on hundreds of occasions between 1971, when they were in 7th and 9th grade, respectively, and when they graduated from high school in 1975 and 1976.

The lawsuit argues that the town and district failed to protect the women, who were minors at the time; that they knew or should have known that Ververs was sexually abusing the minors; and that they failed to “adequately supervise the conduct of Ververs.”

Brighton Supervisor Bill Moehle wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, but the town has released a statement:

"The Town of Brighton has become aware of a lawsuit brought under the provisions of the Child Victims Act and based on acts alleged to have occurred over 40 years ago. The Town has not yet been served with this lawsuit, and we cannot comment on litigation of this nature. The Town of Brighton is committed to ensuring that all Town programs are safe and welcoming to all participants."

The Brighton school district’s spokesperson also provided a statement:

"The District has been apprised of this matter through the plaintiffs’ attorney. However, it has not, as of now, received formal notice of any lawsuit. As is the District’s practice, we cannot comment on matters regarding pending litigation, which we understand this now is. The District remains committed to student well-being and works diligently for every child, every day in every way."