Boarding School Abuse Case Evaluation

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Boarding School Abuse
  • Current Options Available to You
  • Generous Statutes of Limitation
  • Protecting Your Rights and Potential Claim

Please fill in the form below or confidentially call us at 1-888-276-3030 or email us at confidentialinquiry@meneolawgroup.com to request a FREE case evaluation from one of our attorneys if you or a loved one suffered abuse at the hands of a teacher, counselor, coach, advisor, administrator or fellow student while attending a private boarding school.

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Have you or a loved one suffered abuse at the hands of a teacher, counselor, coach, advisor, administrator or fellow student while attending a private boarding school? *

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Testimonials

     I have been wondering how people that I do not know have taken it upon themselves to take such very good care of, advocate for and treat me with such respect … I am so very grateful to you all and I will remember your kindness until the day I die. So, I want to take this opportunity to thank you Ron and the rest of the team… Just to be clear, I cannot talk to you because I have not been able to stop crying every time I remember how hard you guys advocated for me, told … my story, yet made me feel safe. Ron, thank you and please let everyone on my team know how I sincerely feel.

- Recent Client, Case Settled
February 2019

First and Foremost – Confidential Inquiry & Discussion

Perhaps as strong and enduring as any other effects on a survivor of abuse are the shame and guilt that can be overwhelming and debilitating, compounded by a resulting mistrust of others and avoidance of any acknowledgment or conversation concerning the abuse. We recognize how difficult and oftentimes frightening acknowledging the abuse and describing it can be. Be assured that any conversation about your situation with our firm is confidential. When we respond to an inquiry, we do so with the sensitivity, respect and the discretion necessary to provide meaningful feedback. If you prefer to speak with us directly regarding your incident, please call the Meneo Law Group at 1-888-276-3030 or send us a confidential email at confidentialinquiry@meneolawgroup.com.

Cases may be filed anonymously to protect the victim's identity.

Attorney Ron Meneo & The Meneo Law Group

  • Ron Meneo Attorney Ron Meneo manages and leads The Meneo Law Group. Your case will be personally reviewed and evaluated by him.
  • IMPORTANT - Please provide us with the information requested. Doing so enables us to understand the circumstances concerning the incident(s) you are contacting us about. It also allows us to identify potentially responsible individuals and institutions. Having this information in advance of speaking with you will make our conversation as productive and meaningful as possible.
  • For the past 15 years, and with a Martindale Hubbell "Preeminent AV Rating" (the highest possible rating in both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards), Attorney Meneo has successfully represented hundreds of clients who have been injured by products and people. He has successfully represented survivors of childhood sexual abuse — whether by clergy, teachers, school administrators/staff or others. He has also represented employees who have been sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace. Most sexual abuse cases have been resolved by Attorney Meneo without the necessity of litigation. For those cases in which litigation is necessary, most cases are filed using pseudonyms such as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe.” In each situation, the client’s needs and situational comfort will guide all strategic decisions and so–called “next steps.”
  • Our commitment to excellence and diligence are the hallmarks of our practice and guide us in representing each of our clients. Perhaps as strong and enduring as any other effects on a survivor of sexual abuse are the shame and guilt that can be overwhelming and debilitating, compounded by a resulting mistrust of others and avoidance of any acknowledgment or conversation concerning the abuse. We recognize how difficult and oftentimes frightening acknowledging the abuse and describing it can be. Be assured that any conversation about your situation with our firm is confidential. When we respond to an inquiry, we do so with the sensitivity, respect and the discretion necessary to provide meaningful feedback.

Financial Compensation for School Abuse Cases

Boarding School Abuse

Potential clients often ask “what will I receive if I bring a claim as a survivor of abuse?” The answer to this question is not easily determined nor should it be. All facts and circumstances about a survivor’s particular situation are important in assessing what can be expected in the way of monetary damages. Of course, in discussing any estimate of financial compensation, the context must always be recognized, i.e. is the discussion about a potential jury verdict after a contentious trial or a settlement arrived at through negotiation or mediation? Verdicts can be in the millions of dollars and settlements can range upward from hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Financial compensation generally involves three components:

  • Economic damages such as out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, anticipated future expenses;
  • Non-economic damages for pain, suffering, emotional and psychological distress and impacts; and
  • Possibly punitive damages to punish the wrong-doer for the outrageous conduct that is the sexual abuse.

We are prepared to discuss these issues with you but again, there are many considerations in assessing the potential amount of financial compensation that may be obtained in Boarding School Abuse cases.

     My wife and I cannot thank you enough for your help in this case. We want to make note of your professionalism and empathy in this matter. The actual velocity here is astonishing compared to most legal endeavors. - W.M.


Protect your Rights

Liberal Time Limits for Asserting a Boarding School Abuse Claim

Asserting a Boarding School Abuse claim may be subject to various deadlines – formally known as “statutes of limitations” – which limit the time within which a claim can be brought. These limits vary from state-to-state and, for each state, differ depending upon the type of claim. Generally speaking, statutes of limitations are divided into two distinct groups: those that apply to criminal acts and those that apply to non-criminal or civil claims. Many states have adopted very liberal time limits for sexual abuse cases. For example, in Connecticut, the general time limit for prosecution of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual assault of a minor (under the age of 18) is thirty (30) years from the date the survivor reaches the age of majority (age 18) [CGS 54-193a].

Reports of Boarding School Abuse State By State

More than 60 private schools in New England have accusations of sexual abuse occurring on their campuses. Below are summaries of accusations at boarding schools in the region. Most lawsuits have settled confidentially, which means that any payout to the victims is not disclosed.

Connecticut

Choate Rosemary Hall - Wallingford, CT

In 2017 following an independent investigation, Choate Rosemary Hall acknowledged that since the 1960s, at least 12 former teachers had sexually molested, and in at least one case, raped students. It appears that none of the incidents were reported to the police.

In what appears to be a “pass the trash” scenario, the teachers were permitted to resign rather than to be fired. Some received letters of recommendation as they sought new teaching positions. The report, prepared by independent investigators, found that the school took steps to keep the incidents from the rest of the school community.

The investigation and 2017 report follow the 2013 complaint of two alumni who brought to the attention of the school that they had experienced sexual abuse during their time at the school, as well as a 2016 Boston Globe article that provided details on the abuse.

Through these reports and investigations the following serial abusers have been identified at Choate Rosemary Hall:

  • William "Bill" Maillet, English Faculty Member - 1961-1983 - 4 Known Victims
  • Kenneth Mills, Faculty Spouse - 1975-1983 - 4 Known Victims
  • William "Bill" Cobbett, History, Economics - 1969-2011 - 2 Known Victims

Indian Mountain School - Salisbury, CT

A recent letter sent in October of 2018 to the alumni from the current headmaster summarizes a recently completed investigation by attorney Morgan Rueckert of Shipman and Goodwin in Hartford. The letter is signed by Jody Reilly Soja, head of school, and Christopher Sanger, president of the board of trustees.

The report expands upon child molestation accounts already well documented in 17 claims against former English teacher and “print club” advisor Christopher Simonds. Simonds was a faculty member from 1973 to 1985 who died four years ago. He sexually abused more than 20, perhaps more than 30, boys beginning in at least 1976 and continuing through at least 1983.

Through this and other reports, the following serial abusers have been identified as having worked at the Indian Mountain School:

  • Christopher Simonds, Journalism, English - 1973-1985 - 20 Known Victims
  • Winsor Copeland, Faculty Member - 1970-1993 - 2 Known Victims
  • Robert Cabot, Faculty Member - 1946-1952 - 3 Known Victims

Pomfret School - Pomfret, CT

In 2015, a former student accused John Edmonds, dorm master and chaplain, of sexual abuse against himself and other students in the 1970s. Pomfret apologized to the student in a January 2016 letter and also reported the incident to authorities.

Recently, a student at Pomfret accused a former teacher of engaging her in a sexual relationship while teaching at Pomfret. The teacher was employed at another boarding school in the region when the student contacted that school with her complaint. Pomfret filed a report with authorities in response. Pomfret has hired an independent investigator to review the allegation.

The Taft School - Watertown, CT

The school has received numerous complaints about sexual misconduct by its employees. A staff member, Charles Thompson, was placed on leave after accusations against his arose from his time at St. George’s. Alumni alerted the school to other allegations against a second employee, William Jacobs, who left the school after the headmaster confronted him with sexual misconduct allegations. He was also accused of molesting students at two other schools. Jacobs was convicted of child abuse and possession of child pornography and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Miss Porter’s School - Farmington, CT

In 2015, a former physics teacher, Joseph Rajkumar, at Miss Porter’s School was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempted receipt of child pornography. He was already serving an 18-month sentence for sexually assaulting a student at the school.

The allegations against Rajkumar are that during 2010 -2012, he attempted to establish inappropriate, online relationships with at least six students, and enticed at least one student into creating an anonymous email address through which he exchanged inappropriate messages and video chats with her. He allegedly persuaded the student into exposing herself to him during a video chat. He then engaged in a sexual relationship with the student that lasted several months.

The Hotchkiss School - Lakeville, CT

A lawsuit filed in Connecticut accuses at least two faculty members of sexual abuse in the 1980s. Roy G. Smith Jr., who died in 2014, is accused of drugging and raping a student when he was 15. A second teacher is also accused of abuse. The lawsuit is still pending.

The following two serial abusers were reported in a report to its alumni by Hotchkiss:

  • Leif Thorne-Thomsen, Classics Dept Chair - 1964-1992 - 7 Known Victims
  • Peter Gott, Medical Director - 1972-2005 - 5 Known Victims

Loomis Chaffee School - Windsor, CT

In 2003, Robert Blood, English teacher, was fired for engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.


New Hampshire

St. Paul’s School - Concord, NH

Following an investigation into the history of sexual assault on its campus, St. Paul’s has found evidence of sexual misconduct by at least 18 former employees since 1947. The New Hampshire Attorney General is also investigating the school. The school has faced lawsuits by former students who are survivors of abuses.

  • A lawsuit filed in May of this year by a former student-survivor of sexual abuse year alleges that St. Paul’s violated her civil rights by failing to protect her from the sexual abuse she endured during 2012-2013 school year. She alleges that St. Paul’s failed to respond to her reports of sexual assault.
  • A separate lawsuit was settled in January 2018. That case involved allegations that St. Paul’s failed to protect the abuse survivor from student-on-student assault.
  • Two former students have filed a lawsuit claiming that they were sexually assaulted in the 1970s by a former employee of the school who also served as a U.S. Representative in Massachusetts.

Serial abusers at St. Paul's School named in the investigation include:

  • Jose A.G. "Senor" Ordonez, History Teacher - 1952-1987 - 3 Known Victims
  • William R. "Bill" Faulker Jr., Math Teacher - 1962-2009 - 2 Known Victims
  • Dr. David O. Pook Ph.D., Humanities Teacher - 2000-2008 - 6 Known Victims
  • Richard A. Rein, Dance Director - 1974-2001 - 2 Known Victims
  • Steven David Ball, English Teacher - 19763-1999 - 2 Known Victims

Phillips Exeter Academy - Exeter, NH

In 2011, Richard Schubart, former dean, admitted to sexual misconduct that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s after a survivor alerted the school that he had engaged her in a sexual relationship that lasted several months. A second victim alleged in 2015 that Schubart had also sexually abused her. The school did not bring either incident to the attention of the school community until 2016, a day after the Boston Globe contacted the school as a part of its investigation into sexual misconduct at preparatory schools in the region. Schubart was forced to retire in 2011.

Three other faculty members at Phillips Exeter Academy have been accused of sexual misconduct:

  • Larry Lane Bateman, drama teacher, was found guilty of possession and distribution of child pornography in 1993;
  • Steve Lewis, teacher, confessed in 2016 to sexual misconduct with two students two decades ago and was subsequently fired;
  • In 2016, Arthur Peekel, admissions officer, was accused of sexual molestation that occurred in 1973.

Phillips Exeter has hired an independent investigator to review these situations.


Rhode Island

St. George’s School - Middletown, RI

More than 50 alumni of St. George’s have alleged that they were victims of sexual abuse during their time at the school. In 2015, an initial investigation revealed that six employees of the school sexually abused at least 31 victims. In 2016, at least 30 victims reached a settlement with the school to receive compensation for the abuse. The details of the settlement are confidential. A second investigation at the school is still open.

Serial abusers at St. George's School named in the investigation include:

  • Alphonse "Al" Gibbs, Athletics Coach - 1970-1993 - 31 Known Victims
  • Franklin Coleman, Music Director - 1980-1988 - 10 Known Victims
  • Rev. Howard "Howdy" W. White Jr., Associate Chaplain - 1971-1974 - 3 Known Victims


Maryland

The Key School – Annapolis, Maryland

In January, 2019 the Key School, an independent, college preparatory day school located in Annapolis Maryland, released an investigative report detailing credible reports of sexual abuse of students perpetrated by former faculty members. In the Report’s Executive Summary of the investigators sated:

“We conclude that the School failed to protect students from these teachers and, further, that in each of the occurrences described below, there were other adults in the Key School community, including members of the faculty and staff, administrators, and Board members, who were aware of the abuse and inappropriate conduct and chose not to intervene.”

Among other individuals whose inappropriate conduct in the Investigative Report, the following Key School employees were viewed as engaging in “some of the most serious misconduct:”

  • Eric Dennard, faculty member from 1969 to 1978;
  • Richard Sohmer, faculty member during the 1970s;
  • Paul Stoneham, faculty member and administrator 1969 – 2015;
  • Peter Perhonis, faculty member in the 1970s and in 1987; and
  • Vaughan Keith, faculty member from 1972 to 1976.

In conducting the investigation, the investigators presumably assessed the credibility of the accusations and observational reports. The provided the information to the community with the view that the documents and interviews presented would “speak for themselves.”


Massachusetts

Milton Academy - Milton, MA

Rey Buono was a faculty member at Milton Academy for approximately 14 years, from 1973 to 1987. During those years, investigators for Milton determined that Rey Buono “engaged in multiple incidents of sexual misconduct with students [at Milton]...” Investigators were able to substantiate reports of abuse involving at least 12 male students, all of whom were under the age of eighteen at the time of the abuse by Rey Buono.

The investigators also determined that Headmaster Jerry Peih (1973 – 1991) was aware of Buono’s misconduct as early as 1982 but allowed Buono to continue his Milton employment for five more years. In 1987, when confronted with allegations of that he sexually abused a student, Rey Buono admitted to the abuse and was only then dismissed from Milton.

These findings substantiate that Rey Buono serially abused male students while employed at Milton. It does not appear that he was ever prosecuted for these crimes. He is reported to be living somewhere in Southeast Asia.

Equally culpable for allowing Rey Buono to prey on Milton students is the School itself, culpability that the School admits:

“...[the investigator] concludes, and we agree, that Milton Academy’s leadership at that time failed to protect students and failed to investigate whether Rey Buono had abused other students during his tenure at the School.”

There may very well be others (both former Milton students and others) who have fallen prey to Rey Buono’s abuse but who have yet to come forward. It’s never too late to do so.

Deerfield Academy - Deerfield, MA

Deerfield has been served with seven lawsuits that allege sexual abuse spanning back to 1957. The lawsuits allege that three teachers – Peter Hindle, Bryce Lambert, and another individual – all engaged in sexual misconduct. Following an investigation, the school named Hindle and Lambert in an informational letter to the school’s community. The school did not name the other individual in the letter, stating it could not “substantiate a sole allegation against [him],” but settled a lawsuit that did name him for around $100,000.

Brooks School - North Andover, MA

Multiple allegations of abuse at the Brooks School have been made. In 2013, Brooks School notified parents and alumni that the former headmaster, Lawrence Becker, carried on an “objectionable, manipulative relationship” with a student in his time at the school from 1986 to 2008. Becker was also found to have hired an escort when on a school trip. The school opted to not press charges against Becker.

Also in 2013, a former student filed a lawsuit claiming that his admissions counselor sexually abused him in the 1970s. In 1995, the school reached a $300,000 settlement with another former student for similar allegations against this same admissions counselor.

Phillips Academy - Andover, MA

In 2012, the former medical director of Phillips Academy was arrested, charged, and sentenced to more than 6 years in prison for possession of child pornography. The school investigated and concluded that no students were involved in the incident. Phillips Academy has retained a law firm to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to 1970.

Berkshire School - Sheffield, MA

In 2006, a former student of the boarding school alleged that the former assistant dean of students, Christopher Bagnardi, had engaged her in a sexual relationship. The relationship occurred while the school was also being monitored by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination following an investigation in 2002 that revealed that the former headmaster, Paul Christopher, sexually harassed more than twenty women.

Berkshire School fired Bagnardi but denied any liability for his actions asserting that Bagnardi was acting outside the scope of his employment. The student and her parents filed a lawsuit against the school which was settled in 2008.

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Learn about your LEGAL RIGHTS

Please fill in the form to request a FREE case evaluation from one of our attorneys if you or a loved one suffered abuse at the hands of a teacher, counselor, coach, advisor, administrator or fellow student while attending a private boarding school.

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Have you or a loved one suffered abuse at the hands of a teacher, counselor, coach, advisor, administrator or fellow student while attending a private boarding school? *

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