12 women say they were abused as children at school for deaf

Twelve women say in a lawsuit that they were sexually abused as children while attending a prestigious school for the hearing impaired

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Twelve women say in a lawsuit that they were sexually abused as children while attending a prestigious school for the hearing impaired.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday against the New York School for the Deaf, alleges that a now-deceased dormitory housemaster, Joseph Casucci, molested multiple girls on a daily basis in a bunkhouse style dorm 1964 and 1975. The suit says the victims were as young as 4 years old.

"It was a nightly routine and we were just little girls," one of the plaintiffs, Damita Jo Damiano, said through a sign interpreter. "It was the routine we would come to expect: We would do homework, take showers and the abuse would begin. It was normalized."

Steve Straus, a lawyer representing the school in White Plains, also known as Fanwood, said the institution "exists to educate deaf and hearing-impaired children and provide the tools needed for lifelong success. As this matter is in suit, I am unable to comment other than to say that the claims allege conduct occurring about 50 years ago."

The lawsuit was filed under the state's Child Victims Act , which extended the statute of limitations for lawsuits regarding child sexual abuse.