This composite shows a banner at Longwood High School and former science teacher...

This composite shows a banner at Longwood High School and former science teacher William Wenk from the 2003 Longwood High School yearbook. Credit: Tom Lambui; Longwood School District

A Long Island judge has ordered one of Suffolk’s largest school districts to disclose decades-old reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by its employees as evidence in a lawsuit filed by a 2001 graduate who alleges she was abused by her science teacher as a 17-year-old high school senior and that the district did nothing after someone reported the alleged abuse to the principal.

State Supreme Court Justice Leonard D. Steinman ruled the former Longwood High School student is entitled to “documents and information concerning other abusers” in the Longwood Central School District through 2001, saying the accuser has "demonstrated in good faith" that reports “could be useful in establishing a ‘pattern and practice’ of allowing and concealing sexual abuse as well as negligence in sexual abuse incidents.”

Newsday is withholding the name of the student because she is the alleged victim of sexual abuse.

“Although the School Defendants contend that the requested materials are ‘irrelevant,’ courts have consistently found that if defendants had notice of sexual abuse before the alleged abuse reported by plaintiff — even if committed by employees other than the alleged perpetrator — evidence of such notice may be material,” Steinman wrote in his decision.

The student has accused now-retired teacher William Wenk of sexual abuse. Her lawsuit, which names the school district, its board of education and Wenk as defendants, is one of two Child Victims Act complaints filed against Longwood, a K-12 district educating more than 8,800 students from Ridge, Middle Island, Coram, Gordon Heights, Yaphank and Shirley.

While the judge ruled reports of alleged abuse regarding other employees should be limited to incidents "that predate or are contemporaneous with the subject abuse" in the lawsuit, any reports of alleged abuse by Wenk at a later date must also be turned over.

Wenk, who taught in the district for 26 years, has denied the allegations in court filings and in a statement from his attorney to Newsday.

"Mr. Wenk is a beloved science teacher who taught on Long Island for over 30 years, retiring in 2009 after receiving numerous testimonials and awards for his devotion to the teaching profession," attorney Mark Masini of Garden City said in a statement. "Mr. Wenk vehemently denies the allegations contained in the complaint and he looks forward to being vindicated at trial."

Longwood also must report the names of known witnesses to abuse claims, though names of the alleged victims would be redacted for privacy, Steinman ruled. 

The school district, which argued disclosure of reports of other alleged abuses would be “overbroad and unduly burdensome,” is appealing the judge’s decision. The school district is represented by attorneys Brian Davey and Matthew Luke Williams of Mulholland, Minion, Davey, McNiff & Beyrer in Williston Park. 

"Unfortunately, the district is unable to comment on matters of ongoing litigation," Longwood Superintendent Lance Lohman said in a statement. "Further information will be available, should the time arise in the future that we are able to provide such information."

In supporting documents seeking the reports of past abuse, Melissa Ryan Clark, the former student’s attorney, alleged that another Longwood High School teacher had “romantic and/or sexual relationships” with multiple students that same school year, marrying one of them soon afterward.

“This is no fishing expedition,” Clark wrote in an affirmation dated March 21. “Plaintiff is aware of at least seven alleged instances of sexual abuse or misconduct involving four different wrongdoers between roughly 2000 and 2003, as well as rumors going back to at least 1999, without the benefit of any disclosure from Longwood.”

Reached by telephone, Clark declined to comment on the litigation.

The former student alleges that after she sought help with a personal situation from Wenk in November 2000, he began to sexually abuse her in office rooms at the school, in his car at a local park and on the school-sponsored senior trip, according to the complaint.

“He even pulled her out of classes to do so,” the complaint alleges.

After discovering an email between Wenk and the student discussing the sexual activity, her boyfriend sent an anonymous email reporting it to the school’s principal at the time, the suit alleges. Wenk later told the student he met with the principal about the allegations but persuaded him not to report it to the student’s parents and no one at the school or school district met with her to discuss them, according to the complaint, which alleges Wenk’s abuse continued for five years after the student graduated.

The other Child Victims Act case involves former Longwood High School math teacher Erwin Faralan, who was convicted of sexually abusing a student from 2003 to 2004 and is now a registered sex offender living in Port Jefferson.

The Child Victims Act, approved by state lawmakers in 2019, temporarily allowed victims of past child sex assault under the age of 55 to bring civil suits against their alleged abusers even if the statute of limitations had otherwise expired. Steinman, a Nassau County judge, is presiding over Child Victims Act cases in both Long Island counties.

Wenk sued Longwood and the state Department of Education after he was denied counsel by the district in the civil suit. An Albany judge ruled in the district’s favor last month.

The former student's lawsuit was filed in August 2021. She is seeking monetary damages to be determined by the court.

A Long Island judge has ordered one of Suffolk’s largest school districts to disclose decades-old reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by its employees as evidence in a lawsuit filed by a 2001 graduate who alleges she was abused by her science teacher as a 17-year-old high school senior and that the district did nothing after someone reported the alleged abuse to the principal.

State Supreme Court Justice Leonard D. Steinman ruled the former Longwood High School student is entitled to “documents and information concerning other abusers” in the Longwood Central School District through 2001, saying the accuser has "demonstrated in good faith" that reports “could be useful in establishing a ‘pattern and practice’ of allowing and concealing sexual abuse as well as negligence in sexual abuse incidents.”

Newsday is withholding the name of the student because she is the alleged victim of sexual abuse.

“Although the School Defendants contend that the requested materials are ‘irrelevant,’ courts have consistently found that if defendants had notice of sexual abuse before the alleged abuse reported by plaintiff — even if committed by employees other than the alleged perpetrator — evidence of such notice may be material,” Steinman wrote in his decision.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Retired Longwood High School science teacher William Wenk has been accused in a civil suit of sexually abusing a student inside the school, in his car at a local park and on a school-sponsored trip when she was a senior in the 2000-01 school year. His attorney said he denies the allegations.
  • The judge presiding over the case has ruled the Longwood Central School District must turn over any reports of sexual misconduct involving other employees from before and during the time of the alleged abuse.
  • The lawsuit was filed in 2021 under the Child Victims Act, which temporarily allowed victims of past child sex assault under the age of 55 to bring civil suits against their alleged abusers even if the statute of limitations had otherwise expired.

The student has accused now-retired teacher William Wenk of sexual abuse. Her lawsuit, which names the school district, its board of education and Wenk as defendants, is one of two Child Victims Act complaints filed against Longwood, a K-12 district educating more than 8,800 students from Ridge, Middle Island, Coram, Gordon Heights, Yaphank and Shirley.

While the judge ruled reports of alleged abuse regarding other employees should be limited to incidents "that predate or are contemporaneous with the subject abuse" in the lawsuit, any reports of alleged abuse by Wenk at a later date must also be turned over.

Wenk, who taught in the district for 26 years, has denied the allegations in court filings and in a statement from his attorney to Newsday.

"Mr. Wenk is a beloved science teacher who taught on Long Island for over 30 years, retiring in 2009 after receiving numerous testimonials and awards for his devotion to the teaching profession," attorney Mark Masini of Garden City said in a statement. "Mr. Wenk vehemently denies the allegations contained in the complaint and he looks forward to being vindicated at trial."

Longwood also must report the names of known witnesses to abuse claims, though names of the alleged victims would be redacted for privacy, Steinman ruled. 

The school district, which argued disclosure of reports of other alleged abuses would be “overbroad and unduly burdensome,” is appealing the judge’s decision. The school district is represented by attorneys Brian Davey and Matthew Luke Williams of Mulholland, Minion, Davey, McNiff & Beyrer in Williston Park. 

"Unfortunately, the district is unable to comment on matters of ongoing litigation," Longwood Superintendent Lance Lohman said in a statement. "Further information will be available, should the time arise in the future that we are able to provide such information."

In supporting documents seeking the reports of past abuse, Melissa Ryan Clark, the former student’s attorney, alleged that another Longwood High School teacher had “romantic and/or sexual relationships” with multiple students that same school year, marrying one of them soon afterward.

“This is no fishing expedition,” Clark wrote in an affirmation dated March 21. “Plaintiff is aware of at least seven alleged instances of sexual abuse or misconduct involving four different wrongdoers between roughly 2000 and 2003, as well as rumors going back to at least 1999, without the benefit of any disclosure from Longwood.”

Reached by telephone, Clark declined to comment on the litigation.

The former student alleges that after she sought help with a personal situation from Wenk in November 2000, he began to sexually abuse her in office rooms at the school, in his car at a local park and on the school-sponsored senior trip, according to the complaint.

“He even pulled her out of classes to do so,” the complaint alleges.

After discovering an email between Wenk and the student discussing the sexual activity, her boyfriend sent an anonymous email reporting it to the school’s principal at the time, the suit alleges. Wenk later told the student he met with the principal about the allegations but persuaded him not to report it to the student’s parents and no one at the school or school district met with her to discuss them, according to the complaint, which alleges Wenk’s abuse continued for five years after the student graduated.

The other Child Victims Act case involves former Longwood High School math teacher Erwin Faralan, who was convicted of sexually abusing a student from 2003 to 2004 and is now a registered sex offender living in Port Jefferson.

The Child Victims Act, approved by state lawmakers in 2019, temporarily allowed victims of past child sex assault under the age of 55 to bring civil suits against their alleged abusers even if the statute of limitations had otherwise expired. Steinman, a Nassau County judge, is presiding over Child Victims Act cases in both Long Island counties.

Wenk sued Longwood and the state Department of Education after he was denied counsel by the district in the civil suit. An Albany judge ruled in the district’s favor last month.

The former student's lawsuit was filed in August 2021. She is seeking monetary damages to be determined by the court.

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

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