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Au Pair Agency Sued Over Molesting

January 3, 1998

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ An au pair agency is being sued for providing a German male nanny who later pleaded guilty to molesting an 8-year-old child in his care and taking pornographic pictures of another boy.

Trial on the lawsuit is to begin Monday in the same courthouse where British au pair Louise Woodward was convicted last year of manslaughter in the death of an 8-month-old boy.

The lawsuit centers on Stefan Kahl, a 25-year-old working for the Au Pair in America agency, who pleaded guilty to the charges in 1993 and was deported.

Kahl said he molested the boy in his care almost daily and took dozens of photographs of another boy, a 4-year-old who was being taken care of by a German female au pair.

The parents of the two boys are suing the Au Pair in America agency and its parent company for consumer fraud and failing to screen, train, and supervise Kahl, according to The Boston Globe.

The Greenwich, Conn.-based agency countersued, alleging that the host family should have known what was going on.

Kahl came to Massachusetts five years ago to help a widow from Boston, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, who wanted a male au pair to help with her 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son.

In May 1994, a photo lab told police it had film with pictures of a 4-year-old boy in the nude or dressed only in cowboy hat, boots and a holster.

When police questioned Kahl, he allegedly admitted having sexual contact with the boy in his care.

The lawsuit said Au Pair in America’s ``orientation program failed to inform Kahl that while appropriate child-care philosophy in Germany and other European countries may include sexual contact between the child and the caretaker to generate openness with children when they express sexual curiosity, such conduct with children is a felony in Massachusetts and the other states.″

Kahl said he did not consider the pictures of the 4-year-old to be pornographic.

Also named in the suit are two companies affiliated with the au pair agency: The American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation and the American Institute for Foreign Study Inc.

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