A Montessori school in Baltimore County is suing a landscaping company after it hired a convicted rapist who then raped one of the school’s employees, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.
Greenspring Montessori School is suing BrightView Landscapes of Rockville for hiring Allen W. Hicks, a convicted rapist known as the “Landover rapist,” to work on school property. Hicks had been charged with raping six women over six months in 1996 and 1997 and sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to the lawsuit.
A few months after Hicks was released from prison in March 2015, BrightView Landscapes hired him and stationed him at the Greenspring Montessori School in Baltimore County, according to court documents.
Hicks then kidnapped, robbed and raped a female employee of the school in December 2015, according to court records. Hicks was convicted of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual offense, kidnapping and robbery in June 2017 and sentenced to three life sentences without parole in the case involving the school employee, according to court records.
The prosecutor in that case called Hicks a “hunter of women,” the lawsuit said.
Greenspring, a pre-kindergarten, elementary and middle school, alleges that BrightView should have known Hicks’ criminal record, which was available on Maryland’s Judiciary website at the time of his hiring, according to the lawsuit. The school is suing BrightView for breach of contract, negligent hiring, negligent misrepresentation and gross negligence.
Fred Jacobs, BrightView’s vice president of communications, declined to comment due to the pending litigation. Neither the school nor its law firm could be reached for comment Friday.
The landscaping company certified in a compliance letter to the school in July 2015 that it had not knowingly hired employees convicted of sexual crimes, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit notes that Hicks also was required to register as a sexually violent offender on Maryland’s sexual offender registry, which is also available to the public. A “rudimentary Internet search” would have revealed his rape conviction and sex offender registry, the school alleged.
The school also alleged that its suffered damages that, though “not even comparable to the damages suffered by the school’s employee,” included “decreased student enrollment, loss of tuition, loss of capital campaign contributions, negative publicity, expenses to enhance security, legal costs, and related expenses.”
The lawsuit was filed by George E. Brown of Baltimore law firm Kramon & Graham on behalf of the school. The school is also suing Hicks for trespassing.