A settlement was reached in a sexual abuse and negligence civil suit filed against Crosspoint Christian School and a former school board president and coach.
The plaintiffs in the civil suit allege Larry J. Zeitzmann, 57, Washington, on multiple occasions kissed a 13-year-old girl and touched her buttocks while hugging her in a “full frontal hug.”
According to court records, the defendants were ordered to purchase an annuity for an undisclosed amount to benefit the plaintiffs. The defendants also were ordered to pay the attorney fees for the plaintiffs, who were represented by The Simon Law Firm, P.C., St. Louis.
A criminal case against Zeitzmann is not resolved.
The civil suit was filed in June by the plaintiffs, who were not named by The Missourian, and heard by Franklin County Associate Circuit Court Judge Stan Williams.
According to court records, the girl was a student at the Villa Ridge area school in 2015-16 while Zeitzmann was the school board president and a soccer coach.
The suit described text and Facebook messages from Zeitzmann that indicate he was pursuing a relationship with the girl, and many of the messages were inappropriate and of a “sexual nature.”
Zeitzmann also allegedly asked for kisses in exchange for birthday gifts, and sent the girl love notes, the lawsuit stated.
The plaintiffs sought damages of more than $25,000 for each of the seven alleged counts against Zeitzmann and the school.
According to court records, “the settlement reached is not meant to serve as admission of liability, but instead to serve as the settlement of disputed actions.”
A satisfaction of judgment for the settlement was received Nov. 13. Court records do not state if the settlement was paid by the school, Zeitzmann or both.
Zeitzmann was charged in October 2017 in Franklin County Associate Circuit Court with sexual misconduct and third-degree assault, both misdemeanors, for the alleged molestation of the girl.
According to the probable cause statement filed in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, on Nov. 22, 2016, a victim contacted authorities stating Zeitzmann allegedly molested her and possibly others.
On Dec. 5, 2018, Zeitzmann’s attorney requested a continuance in the case. A new court date is not listed in online court records. Zeitzmann is being represented by attorney Kevin Richardson, Washington.
Zeitzmann allegedly made inappropriate comments toward the student, stated he would leave his wife to marry her and that he “loved her very much,” according to the statement.
The alleged crimes occurred during sporting events at the Crosspoint Christian School campus and in a Union park.
The civil suit alleges the teen was often in the care of Zeitzmann during school trips and sporting events. During those times, he allegedly would attempt to be alone with the girl.
During a graduation party, Zeitzmann allegedly cornered the girl against a wall and would not allow her to leave, according to court records.
At the same event, other school board officials noticed odd behavior between Zeitzmann and the girl and confronted the man. However, the suit alleges the officials failed to further investigate the relationship between the man and the student.
A Crosspoint teacher was made aware of the inappropriate messages in 2016 and contacted the girl’s parents.
On Nov. 28, 2016, the Children’s Division and the Missouri Department of Social Services received a report of child abuse and neglect.
Then, on Jan. 12, 2017, the Children’s Division issued a report concluding Zeitzmann had sexually abused the girl based on the “preponderance of evidence,” according to the suit.
Counts Against Coach
The first count in the civil suit alleges child abuse by Zeitzmann for hugging, kissing and inappropriately touching the girl.
The suit states the girl did not consent to the physical contact from her coach, and she suffered “physical” and “psychological” injury, as well as “humiliation and mental anguish” from Zeitzmann’s alleged actions.
The second count of battery alleged that Zeitzmann’s contact with the girl caused “bodily pain and injury,” court records state.
The third count alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress by Zeitzmann. The suit stated the girl suffered “severe emotional distress that resulted in bodily harm.” Under that count, the suit also alleges the distress was “medically diagnosable and of sufficient severity so as to be medically significant.”
The fourth count against Zeitzmann cited negligence due to the coach breaching his duty to protect the girl from harm.
Case Against School
The fifth, sixth and seventh counts in the civil suit named Crosspoint Christian School and claims negligence by the school, which hired and retained Zeitzmann.
The suit stated Crosspoint “knew or should have known of Zeitzmann’s dangerous proclivity to abuse children.”
Crosspoint allegedly “carelessly and negligently failed to supervise Zeitzmann,” which the school had a legal responsibility to do, the court records continue.
The suit sought punitive damages against Crosspoint to deter future conduct, court records state.
Crosspoint is a nondenominational Christian school for kindergarten through 12th grades. It leases space from The Ridge Baptist Church located on Highway M near Highway AT. A new school is being built on St. Louis Rock Road in Villa Ridge.