AVON, Conn. – A Connecticut school board has approved a settlement of a lawsuit that accused four educators of indoctrinating three sisters into a religious cult that celebrates death.
The insurer for Avon High School will pay the $62,500 settlement, Avon School Superintendent Bridget Carnemolla said Thursday.
"The decision to settle the claim was made for purely business reasons only," Carnemolla said.
She said she could not comment further on the deal, which was approved by the town's school board on Tuesday.
The sisters' parents sued the school district, three teachers and a guidance counselor in federal court in 2014. They alleged educators at the school indoctrinated their daughters into a cult, causing them to suffer severe personality changes, become secretive and speak a strange language.
The names of the parents and their daughters were kept secret during the court proceedings. The sisters were ages 22, 19 and 16 when the lawsuit was filed. They were indoctrinated while attending Avon High School, the lawsuit alleged.
The two older daughters were "indoctrinated into a religious cult that promotes martyrdom and celebrates death," and that caused them to experience "fantasies of suicide ideation and martyrdom," the suit alleged. The cult wasn't named. The youngest sister also was targeted for indoctrination by the educators, but she eventually "broke free," the suit said.
School officials denied the allegations.
The lawsuit alleged the girls' civil and constitutional rights were violated and sought undisclosed damages.
Court documents filed in December said the two older daughters had reunited with their parents and agreed to participate in family counseling.