Monday, May 24, 2004

Restraint asked on board member

By Sharon Coolidge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Last summer, Indian Hill High School senior Benjamin White attacked 13-year-old Casey Hilmer as she jogged along Given Road, stabbing her four times in the face, neck and side, nearly killing her.

Now Casey and her parents want to hold his parents, Lance and Diane White, responsible for Benjamin White's actions, saying they knew he was dangerous and should have controlled him.

Last month, Steve and Megen Hilmer filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court seeking at least $25,000, plus punitive damages.

As part of the lawsuit, they are asking for a court order that would prevent Lance White, a member of the Indian Hill School Board, from using his influence over people in the school community who have been subpoenaed. The Hilmers fear Lance White would try to hide Benjamin White's past misconduct.

"Given the brutality that Benjamin's attack on Casey has in common with his past conduct at school, there is reason to believe that Lance White's position has forestalled such accountability in prior instances involving alleged violent or criminal behavior by Benjamin," the motion says.

In a memorandum to the court, Lance White's attorney, Robert Pitcairn Jr., said the Hilmers have not presented any evidence that Lance White has or may try to exert such influence.

The request for the order will be heard today before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruelhman.

Indian Hill school board members, Superintendent David Quattrone and others have been subpoenaed in the case.

Lance White could not be reached for comment. Steve Hilmer did not return calls.

On July 13, 2003, White, then 17, snatched Casey off the path, carried her into woods and stabbed her. Casey fought the attacker off, but recognized him as a boy who once rode her school bus.

Indian Hill police quickly caught up to White and in March, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted murder and felonious assault.

White has been diagnosed with a mental illness.


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