Horace Mann Prep Students Say Sex Abuse Went on for Decades
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Sex abuse was reportedly covered up at the elite private school Horace Mann — whose alums include Eliot Spitzer and James Murdoch, according to a shocking new report.
In a story out Sunday, The New York Times Magazine reports that the $37,275-a-year Riverdale school never told authorities about alleged incidents of molestation involving teachers and coaches between 1978 and 1994.
The piece, written by a Horace Mann alum, was based on conversations with 100 people – including 60 former students and 15 current or former faculty members, according to the author.
There were no allegations of recent abuse.
Author Amos Kamil, who was not a victim of abuse, told WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show on Thursday that years after graduation his classmates revealed teachers had acted inappropriately.
“We all had many boundary-blurring experiences from going out drinking with our teachers to being approached,” he said. “After Penn State happened it sort of hit me, ‘Wow, we lived through something like this as well.’”
At least one alleged victims traces drinking and drug problems back to the abuse. And one student who was allegedly abused for years committed suicide. When the deceased boy’s mother confronted his alleged abuser, the head of the arts and music department, she told the Times he was unflinching:
“Ben kissed me first,” she says he told her. When she demanded, “How dare you put your tongue down my son’s mouth!” his reply, she says, was, “That’s how we Swiss kiss.
A man indentified as M., now in his 50s, said the same teacher took him on a drive and parked near a tennis club.
“He them pulled me close to his chest,’ M. said. ‘I’m thinking: This is weird. Uncomfortable. Then he starts kissing my lips. I’m thinking, Oh, my God, this can’t be happening. I didn’t know what to do. I was just a child. I didn’t have the ego strength to say no. I was shocked, uncomfortable, but I let it persist.”
In a statement to the Times, the school said:
“Horace Mann School today has in place clearly articulated and enforced rules, regulations, policies, procedures and expectations concerning appropriate behavior within the community — including whistle-blower protections to ensure that any member of the school community can freely report alleged violations.”