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About 40 former students at a prestigious Rhode Island prep school have made what are being called "credible reports of sexual abuse, and in some cases rape" by former staff and students, The New York Times reports. The accusations span four decades and are aimed at seven former staff members and four students at the St. George's School.
The school last month announced it was doing a preliminary investigation and it will soon announce who will take over. St. George School found 26 cases of abuse in the 70's and 80's. Victims' lawyers report another 40. "Together, the school's report ... and the lawyers' reports ... paint a picture of unchecked sexual misconduct at the elite prep school in Middletown," writes The NYT.
Not the First
Prep school sex scandals are especially scandalous because parents send their children to such schools at great expense for their strong reputations. But the St. George's School scandal is not the first of its kind, and much of the East Coast upper crust is still reeling from the 2012 revelations of extensive sexual abuse at the prestigious Horace Mann School, where 62 victims came forward.
Rhode Island police officials have confirmed that they are investigating the school and are encouraging anyone with information to come forward. Police wish to speak to witnesses as well as victims.
Lawyers for the victims say that the St. George' School's report is a diluted version of the truth, despite its findings. The school is an Episcopal boarding and day school for boys and girls in grades nine through 12.
As The New York Times reported, Carmen L. Durso , a lawyer representing some of the victims, said, "Sexual abuse in education is the clergy-abuse crisis of this decade, if not this century." He predicts we'll be seeing more of these cases in coming years.
Durso also predicts that more victims will come forward as news of the abuse spreads. He believes that -- like the clergy-abuse scandal of the last century -- it will take some victims a long time to come to terms with the news and with their own experience of abuse.
Consult With an Attorney
If you or someone you know has been accused of abuse at school or another institution, talk to an attorney. Many criminal defense attorneys consult for free or no fee.