Sex Abuse Was Rampant at Elite Private School: Report

64 kids allegedly abused by 22 staffers at NYC's Horace Mann over decades
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2015 12:20 PM CDT
The Horace Mann School is shown, April 22, 2013, in the Bronx borough of New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – "There was this widespread assumption that if you put your child in a private school that they were in safer space." That's the reaction of a professor who consulted on a new independent report into sexual abuse at NYC's elite Horace Mann School—an investigation that found worse abuse than previously thought, per the Wall Street Journal. The report released yesterday by the Horace Mann Action Coalition, a nonprofit alumni group, says the probe found 64 students were victimized by 22 staff members from the 1960s through the 1990s, per the Washington Post. Abusers included teachers, coaches, department heads, a school chaplain, and even a headmaster, though a Coalition rep says "there was no broad conspiracy," rather, "lots of small cowardly decisions." The Bronx DA originally cited only 25 victims and 12 employees in a 2013 report, the Journal notes.

The school (which, the Post notes, has posted letters about the ongoing scandal on its website) says it cooperated with earlier investigations, as well as apologized and reached settlements with some victims, per the Journal. But the attorney overseeing the new report says Horace Mann denied her access to the school's archives and employees, the New York Daily News reports. The report also says that the school pressured ex-students into accepting settlements, threatened retaliation for abuse reports, and didn't forward those claims to the police. "This report does make us feel we’ve been believed," says one alleged victim, "and it uncovers as much of the truth as could be uncovered given the obstacles that the school has put in the way."

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