“Eight Reasons Why Not”: An Outside Investigation of Sexual Abuse at Horace Mann School?
June 6, 2012. The New York Times article “Prep School Predators” is published. Five years ago today.
August 6, 2012. Letter from the Trustees: “Our goal is that Horace Mann School will be the standard in New York on this vitally important issue.”
August 16, 2012. Trustees Chair Steven Friedman appears before the Alumni Council and states the following reasons why the Trustees will not approve an independent investigation:
1) No subpoena power.
2) Many of the accused are dead.
3) Witnesses can’t be challenged.
4) The cost would be prohibitive (he compared it to an estimated $12 million spent by Penn State to-date, and said HM’s situation would cost more due to a wider scope). The Penn State type of report is the gold standard, and anything less would leave people dissatisfied.
5) No one will admit that they did anything.
6) No allegations have been made during the tenure of Mr. Friedman and Dr. Kelly, as verified by the DA.
7) Other legal issues he didn’t specify.
8) The board balanced the continuing existence of the school with its potential liability and pending litigation.
September 27, 2012. The Horace Mann Alumni Council votes to urge the Trustees to authorize an independent investigation. The Board does not respond.
March 31, 2013. Deerfield (MA) releases investigation of abuse legacy.
March 11, 2014. Kamehameha (HI) initiates investigation into abuse of students.
June 9, 2014. American School in Japan initiates its investigation into student abuse.
June 30, 2014. The Potomac School (VA) releases abuse investigation report.
July 19, 2014. Carolina Friends (NC) initiates its investigation into abuse of students.
July 14, 2014. Marlborough School (CA) initiates abuse investigation.
October 27, 2014. St. Mary’s International School undertakes investigation of student abuse.
May 26, 2015. Alumni with the HM Action Coalition publish independent investigation.
February 9, 2016. St. George’s School (RI) first report flawed; second investigation undertaken.
March 31, 2016. Peck School (NJ) initiates investigation into abuse.
May 14, 2016. Chaminade High School (NY) releases investigation of abuse.
August 9, 2016. Fordham Prep (NY) announces results of its abuse investigation.
August 24, 2016. Concord Academy (MA) releases investigation of abuse claims.
August 31, 2016. Phillips Andover (MA) makes abuse investigation results public.
September 1, 2016. St. George’s School (RI) releases second investigation report.
September 27, 2016. Pomfret (CT) releases its investigation of legacy abuse.
February 1, 2017. Solebury (PA) investigation made public.
February 21, 2017. Milton Academy (MA) publishes initial investigation results.
March 3, 2017. Phillips Exeter (NH) releases its initial investigation with more planned.
March 21, 2017. Milton Academy (MA) releases its investigation.
March 29, 2017. Pingry (NJ) releases its report on its abuse investigation.
April 14, 2017. Choate (CT) releases its report from its investigation.
April 19, 2017. Emma Willard (NY) publishes investigation report.
April 20, 2017. Alumnae Advisory Task Force submits its report on abuse at Emma Willard.
May 12, 2017. Brearley (NY) announces investigation and asks the community for information.
May 22, 2017. St. Paul’s School releases its independent investigation.
Today. Horace Mann School continues to refuse to conduct an independent investigation.
* * *
Horace Mann had eight reasons for refusing an independent investigation. Not one of those reasons proved valid or stopped outside investigations at 23 schools confronted with legacies of sexual abuse of students.
Perhaps not in this generation, but still: magna est veritas et praevalet.