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Washington National Cathedral announces investigation into any past reports of sexual misconduct

In a letter posted today on the Washington National Cathedral website and sent out via email to those on the cathedral’s email list, the dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, shared news of an independent investigation of past reports of sexual abuse or misconduct at the schools comprising the Cathedral Close: Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School; St. Alban’s School, a day and boarding school for boys, and National Cathedral School, a day school for girls.   The outside investigation will be conducted by the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

This past year a former St. Alban’s School teacher, Vaughn Keith, was implicated in an abuse scandal at the Key School in Annapolis during the 1970s; Keith died in 1990.  In a letter to the St. Alban’s community sent last month, Headmaster Jason Robinson and Governing Board Chair Robert Musslewhite shared that since allegations of Keith’s misconduct at Key School came to light, other reports of misconduct by former St. Alban’s School employees have also surfaced.

In his letter to the National Cathedral community, Dean Hollerith emphasized that this investigation was not prompted by concerns or claims regarding any current employees or students of the National Cathedral or any of the three schools on the Cathedral Close but that, given past claims, this seemed like the best path forward.   Hollerith reflects on the decision to launch this investigation, saying,

“We find ourselves in a moment in which schools, churches, universities and others are reckoning with painful cases of abuse, assault or harassment from years past. Of all the institutions in our public life, the church must be held to the highest standards of accountability, protection and justice, particularly when it involves situations involving children or minors.

You may have seen a letter from the Cathedral, St. Albans School, National Cathedral School and Beauvoir about a new comprehensive and independent investigation of any reports of past cases of sexual misconduct between adults and children here on the Cathedral Close. I want to reiterate that this investigation was not prompted by any concern or information about any current employees or students. You should also know that all four institutions are committed to maintaining—and expanding where necessary—best-in-the-nation standards for child protection.

As a Cathedral that is grounded in the reconciling love of Jesus Christ, we chose to join this investigation because it is the right thing to do. Our responsibility is not only to protect children, but also to be what Isaiah called “the repairers of the breach.” Through this investigation, we aim to offer healing to anyone who was hurt, and to try and repair any breach of trust that was broken.”

The complete text of Dean Hollerith’s letter can be found on the National Cathedral website.  A joint letter from the National Cathedral and the Cathedral Close schools can be found here and last month’s letter from St. Alban’s School can be found on their website.

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