At least 90 lawsuits or other legal claims have been lodged on behalf of those who have reported sexual abuse at school. (file photo)
More than 200 students have been sexually abused by administrators, teachers, and other staff members of at least 67 schools in the northeastern US
since 1991, a report says.
According to the Sunday report by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation team, at least 90 lawsuits or other legal claims have been lodged on behalf of those who have made the accusations against the schools across New England.
The schools were among the nation’s wealthiest and most prestigious institutions.
At least 37 school employees have been dismissed or forced to resign due to the allegations so far.
Approximately two dozen employees have finally pleaded guilty or been convicted on criminal charges of abusing children or other related crimes.
There have been 11 cases in which private school employees were accused of sexual misconduct, but went on to work at other schools.
One teacher, for instance, abused a student at St. George’s School in Rhode Island and then went on to do other teaching jobs. He finally resigned from a school in Hawaii in 2003 and was accused in a 2008 lawsuit.
At least eight private schools in New England have begun to carry out investigations into sexual misconduct this year alone.
The newspaper said that its report most likely underestimated the occurrence at these schools, since they are exempt from public records requests for being private.
“The Globe’s tally is sobering,” Peter Upham, the executive director of the Association of Boarding Schools, wrote in an email. But he added, “I don’t think it’s the quantification of the problem that moves most administrators: It’s the heartbreaking stories.”
“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.”
In public schools, one federal study found that nearly 10 percent of students are targets of unwanted sexual attention by educators in grades K-12.