'Boston Globe' reveals sex abuse at dozens of US private schools

This April 10, 2016 photo taken in Washington shows a woman reading an online version of a mockup of a frontpage. — AFP pic
This April 10, 2016 photo taken in Washington shows a woman reading an online version of a mockup of a frontpage. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, May 10 — At least 67 private schools in the northeastern United States have faced allegations since 1991 that their employees sexually abused or harassed more than 200 students, the Boston Globe reported yesterday.

At least 90 lawsuits or other claims have been filed and at least 37 employees were fired or forced to step down, according to the newspaper.

The findings are the product of probes by the Globe’s award-winning Spotlight team, which examined court cases and interviewed school officials and alumni, as well as legal representatives and relatives.

The Globe said it had found 11 cases where those accused proceeded to work at other schools.

And this year alone, it said, at least eight private schools in the region known as New England have launched or were carrying out investigations into sexual misconduct.

The Globe cited the case of one teacher who allegedly abused a student at St. George’s School in Rhode Island in the late 1960’s and who went on to other teaching jobs, resigning from a school in Hawaii in 2003 and accused in a 2008 lawsuit.

At least two other staff members at St. George’s who were accused of misconduct went on to other jobs where they faced subsequent sexual misconduct allegations involving children, the Globe said.

In 2004, the school placed an athletic trainer, who also served as technology officer and dorm parent, on leave after 11 boys accused him of touching them inappropriately or making them feel uncomfortable. 

Among them was a teenage boy who told his family that the man had touched, harassed and even stalked him.

But the school’s headmaster concluded that the accusations didn’t amount to sexual abuse or needed reporting to authorities.

The trainer was subsequently allowed to return to teaching. 

In 2011, he went on to become director of information technology at the Taft School in Connecticut and the accusations against him were not included in a 2015 public report by the school on abuse allegations at the institution.

In December, the Globe revealed the ordeal of a young woman who was pressured into signing a gag order about her alleged rape by another St. George’s athletic trainer in 1977.

The Boston Globe has been at the forefront of unearthing abuse, particularly by pedophile priests.

The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for a series by its Spotlight investigative reporting team on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

The story of the Globe investigation was told in the movie Spotlight, a journalism drama starring Micheal Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams that won a surprise Oscar for best picture at the 88th Academy Awards in February. — AFP

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