A civil suit was filed Tuesday accusing a former Crosspoint Christian School Board president and coach of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl and the school of negligence
The sexual abuse and negligence suit was filed against Larry J. Zeitzmann, 57, Washington, and the school in the Franklin County 20th District Circuit Court.
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.
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.
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.
A hearing in the criminal case is scheduled in front of Judge Stanley Williams Wednesday, June 13. Zeitzmann is being represented by attorney Kevin Richardson, Washington.
The alleged crimes occurred during sporting events at the Crosspoint Christian School campus and in a Union park.
In November, prosecutors said there may be more than one victim. However, no other victims contacted authorities and it is unlikely that additional charges will be sought against Zeitzmann, who volunteered as a coach at Crosspoint Christian School for 11 years. He served on the school board from 2011-16.
According to reports, Zeitzmann resigned from the board once the allegations surfaced.
Zeitzmann also had served as the Glendale fire chief for 16 years. He retired from the position in 2015. He had been with the department for about 30 years.
The plaintiffs in the civil suit, who were not named by The Missourian, allege Zeitzmann on multiple occasions kissed the girl and touched her buttocks while hugging her in a “full frontal hug.”
The suit describes 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 states.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages of more than $25,000 for each of the seven alleged counts against Zeitzmann and the school. The plaintiffs are represented by The Simon Law Firm, P.C., St. Louis.
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 alleges that Zeitzmann’s contact with the girl caused “bodily pain and injury,” court records state.
In the third count, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress by Zeitzmann, the suit states 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 cites 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 names Crosspoint Christian School and claims negligence by the school which hired and retained Zeitzmann.
The suit states 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 seeks punitive damages against Crosspoint to deter future conduct, court records state.
The Missourian reached out by phone and email to Crosspoint Christian School Administrator Don Coons. There was no response as The Missourian went to press Friday. School staff stated Coons is on vacation and there is no other person with the school who could comment on the lawsuit.
Coons was not the school administrator when the alleged abuse occurred.
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.