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Appeals court says it won't allow molester to sue victim's parents

A teacher convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Pierce County boy can't mitigate her responsibility by claiming his parents failed to adequately supervise him, according to an appeals court decision.

In a 5-page decision filed Sept. 14, the District III Court of Appeals upheld a decision by Pierce County Judge Robert Wing and rejected Ann Knopf's claims against the Prescott boy's parents.

"Knopf's assignment of blame to (the boy's) parents represents convoluted reasoning reminiscent of Lewis Carroll," wrote the three-judge appeals panel. "We will not follow down the rabbit hole and open the door for a child molester to sue the victim's parents for their failure to lock their child away or for their ineffectiveness in trying to stop their child from being sexually abused."

Knopf, now 42, whose address at the time was N5820 950th St., Ellsworth, worked as a substitute teacher at the boy's school in Prescott. In July 2008 she pleaded guilty to second degree sexual assault of a child and was sentenced to nine months in jail followed by five years probation.

In October 2008 the boy's father filed a civil lawsuit, asking for monetary damages from Knopf, her husband and their insurance company. The lawsuit alleged Knopf negligently and intentionally harmed the boy.

Knopf subsequently filed a counterclaim and claim, alleging the boy's divorced parents were negligent in supervising their son because they focused on learning with whom the boy was involved rather than stopping the contact.

For more, please read the Sept. 22 print issue of the Pierce County Herald.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

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