So far this year, at least eight New England private schools have launched or disclosed sexual misconduct investigations. At least five of the probes — at St. George’s School in Rhode Island, Taft School in Connecticut, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, Thayer Academy in Braintree, and Concord Academy in Concord — have led to staff members being placed on administrative leave or fired.
The troubles go way beyond those institutions. At least 67 private schools in New England have faced accusations since 1991 that staffers sexually abused or harassed more than 200 students, the Spotlight Team found through an examination of court cases, as well as interviews with alumni, relatives, school officials, and attorneys.
With regard to St. George’s School there is new information on one case.
It took Marshall more than 40 years to bring himself to look into what had become of one of his former teachers at St. George’s, Bill Lydgate. What he found, when he searched online in 2014, was the story of a $30 million lawsuit against Lydgate from 2008, filed thousands of miles away in Hawaii, for alleged sexual misconduct that sounded all too familiar. “I thought, this is exactly what happened to me. This is exactly how this guy operated. It’s real. Forty-five years later, he’s still doing it,”….
The Globe uncovered further details on the charges in Hawaii against Lydgate.
Also a healing service scheduled for Alumni Weekend at St. George’s was cancelled when victims threatened to picket.
Headmaster Eric Peterson had planned to hold a healing event during the reunion but it was canceled after survivors threatened to picket. Survivors contended that it was too soon to hold a healing ceremony, especially one led by Peterson, who they say failed to report several cases of abuse.
The New York Times, reporting on the Boston Globe investigation:
The Globe said that even its report most likely underestimated the incidence of sexual abuse at these schools; because they are private, they are exempt from public records requests. The Globe sent surveys to 224 private schools about their experience with sexual misconduct allegations, but just 23 — about 10 percent — responded. … Still, The Globe found 11 cases in which private school employees who were accused of sexual misconduct went on to work at other schools — “an echo of the Catholic Church scandal, in which abusive priests were often moved to other parishes,” the newspaper said.
Of those 11 cases, at least
3 four (Timothy Tefft)were from St. George’s.
“The Globe’s tally is sobering,” Peter Upham, the executive director of the Association of Boarding Schools, wrote in an email. …
He added: “Over the last 10 or 15 years, there’s been a growing openness to acknowledge and investigate past abuse in all kinds of youth-serving institutions. That’s a healthy development, even if it means that today’s school leaders must grapple with abuse cases — and organizational missteps — from the past, when norms and expectations across society were different.”
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