[Update at end – School’s investigator was not only law partner to the school’s counsel, but the two are also married.]
As posted on the Tumblr page of the group SGS for Healing, a letter from St. George’s School to alumni and parents:
From: Community.stgeorges.edu on behalf of Board Chair
Thursday, January 07, 2016 6:05 PM
Subject: Investigation Update
Dear St. George’s School Alumni and Parents,
On behalf of the Board we want to provide an update concerning an agreement reached today with the Alumni/Victim group “SGS for Healing.” Details can be found in the following statement. We remain committed to an ongoing dialogue with survivors and to ensuring a safe environment for all students at St. George’s.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2016, 5 p.m.
Joint Statement of St. George’s School and the
Alumni/Victim’s Group SGS for Healing
As a result of an agreement reached this afternoon between St. George’s School and the Alumni/Victim Group “SGS for Healing,” the Board of Trustees has announced that it will retain a third-party independent investigator to be agreed upon by the parties in order to oversee a comprehensive investigation of sexual abuse at St. George’s School. This investigation will not be limited in scope or time period and will be conducted in a manner sensitive to victims who may have already provided information.
Said Leslie Heaney, SGS Board Chair: “The Board is committed to a truly impartial investigation. There is nothing more important to us than that the review be thorough and exhaustive, and that its findings are found to be reliable and credible by all parties, particularly the victims.”
Anne Scott, from the SGS class of 1980 said. “Today’s decision is a very important first step in what we hope will be a process of reconciliation and healing. We look forward to the input of all alumni/victims on today’s developments and the new investigation.”
For further information, please contact:
For St. George’s School: Joseph Baerlein, (617) 443-9933
For Anne Scott and SGS for Healing: Eric MacLeish, (617) 817-1797 or Carmen Durso (617) 728- 9123.
Leslie B. Heaney ’92
Chair of the Board of Trustees
St. George’s School • 372 Purgatory Road, Middletown, RI 02842
UPDATE 10:40 PM: The Boston Globe report of the agreement adds,
In April, the school began what it called a “full and independent inquiry” into the abuse. It has been sharply criticized by victims and their attorneys because the investigator appointed by the school, Will Hannum, is the law partner of St. George’s legal counsel, Sara Schwartz, which critics say compromises the inquiry’s confidentiality and credibility.That opposition heightened on Thursday morning, when victims learned that Hannum and Schwartz are not just law partners, but also married.
“This just compounds the betrayal and the hypocrisy of the investigation,” said Scott, who was repeatedly raped by the school’s athletic director, Al Gibbs, starting in 1977. Gibbs, fired in 1980, died in 1996.