1) Timeline Of Reports And Accounts Of Sexual Abuse At Horace Mann, 1960 To 2010
2) Reports Of Abuse Received By Administrators At Horace Mann, By Decade
3) Horace Mann Files And Records: The Burning Question
4) Analysis Of Abuse Victims By Gender And Decade
5) Letters From Survivor Group To Horace Mann School
6) Letters From Horace Mann School To The Community
7) Statement By Bronx District Attorney
8) HMAC Reply To Statement By Bronx District Attorney
9) Statements Of Horace Mann Survivors At Press Conference
10) Selected Articles On Sexual Abuse At Horace Mann
Reports of Abuse Received by Administrators at Horace Mann, By Decade
Provided by survivors, classmates, teachers and parents:
1970 – 1979
1980 – 1989
1990 – 1999
2000 – 2010
 Phone conversation with “survivor-1” who received the account, 2014
 Posted on horacemannsurvivor.org by Mark (Moshe) Finkel, July 10th, 2012 at 1:54 pm, http://horacemannsurvivor.org/you-are-not-alone/#comments
 Steven Fife, personal conversation and in his book “The Thirteenth Boy”, 2014
 Conversation with Steven Fife and schoolmates, 2012
 Second letter from the Survivors Group, July 11th, 2012. http://horacemannsurvivor.org/survivors-letters/second-survivors-letter/
 Letter from “teacher-2” to Amos Kamil, June 26, 2012, and subsequent conversation
 Post by an alumnus, “survivor-3,” June 10th, 2012
 Messages from various survivors, 2013
 Letter from Richard Warren to Amos Kamil, posted June 19th, 2012 by Ed Bowen
 Letter from Richard Warren to Joyce Fitzpatrick, posted on June 19th, 2012 by Ed Bowen
 An alumnus, “survivor-4”, to Peter Brooks, phone call, 2014
 Meeting with former staff, conversation with teacher, Aug. 2014
 Posted by an alumnus, 6/16/2012
 Conversation with an alumnus to author, 2014
 Personal message on Facebook from an alumnus to Peter Brooks, 2014
 Prep School Predators, Amos Kamil, NY Times Magazine, June 6th, 2012
 Email from an alum to author, 2013
 Conversation with “survivor-8” to author, 2013
 Conversation with “survivor-1” to author, 2013
 Riverdale Press, Sarina Trangle, 3/27/2013, Horace Mann Ignored Abuse, http://riverdalepress.com/stories/Alumni-group-says-Horace-Mann-ignored-abuse-,52173?
 Conversations with “survivor-9” to author, 2013, and “teacher-1” to PB, 2014.
 Statement, “survivor-10”, 2014
 Posted by “survivor-11”, 2012
 Reports to both Guidance and Foote posted by the survivor, 2012
 Prep School Predators, Amos Kamil, New York Times Magazine, June 6th, 2012
 Posted by Charles Balter, 10/9/2012
 Steve Fife in his book and drafts, “The Thirteenth Boy”, and in personal conversation
 Steve Fife in his book, “The Thirteenth Boy”, and in personal conversation
 Email from an alum to author, of a parent, 4/11/2013
 Conversation with “survivor-9” to author, 2013
 Posted on behalf of “Gene” on PHM, June 18th, 2012
 Email from “Gene” to author, 2013
 Conversation with “survivor-11” and author, 2014
 Conversation with “survivor-1” and author, 2013
Horace Mann Files & Records: The Burning Question
How cover up and institutional betrayal perpetuate sexual abuse.
There is no easy way to talk openly about sexual abuse and the response. Healing requires the truth in the open and the Horace Mann board remains unable to say that it is interested in knowing what happened and that it wants to help. How one school hides the truth is a lesson for every school and all parents expecting their children to be safe.
Over the last 20 years, administrators at Horace Mann have claimed that they have few records pertaining to sexual abuse, saying that any reports were never centralized or not even written down.
One headmaster said there were no records of known reports, not seeming to grasp that the lack of written reports is itself an indictment, since we know that students complained to school authorities. In other words, the administrators who should have recorded all complaints instead dismissed them. “There are no documents that an investigation would turn up.”  Knowledge and awareness, however, are not so easily lost, along with the obligation to act and speak out.
Now that the scope of abuse has been revealed to include 62 victims of 22 abusers over decades, it’s beyond incredible that Horace Mann would have no record of the largest concentration of child sexual abuse ever in one school — particularly one of the most prestigious private prep schools in America. Concerned alumni who gathered to understand what happened have learned as well of more than 25 reports of abuse the school received and buried over thirty years. 
To counter doubts, the school has repeated publicly and officially that an “attic fire” at HM’s business office destroyed any or all records pertaining to abuse — not just as hearsay:
As for questions about Wright or the other teachers I heard about in the course of my reporting, the school issued a blanket statement, saying: “The article contains allegations dating back, in some instances, 30 years, long before the current administration took office, which makes it difficult to accurately respond to the factual allegations therein. In addition, on June 13, 1984, there was a fire in the attic of the business office that destroyed some records.
– Amos Kamil, Prep School Predators, New York Times Magazine, June 6th, 2012
Marc Fisher wrote in his article in the New Yorker magazine, “The Master”:
Berman left the school in 1979. Horace Mann says that it has no records of his departure, because files pertaining to Berman and other faculty members were destroyed in a fire, in 1984.
Even the board of trustees, the school’s ultimate authority, presented the loss of records by fire as fact. And they added a surprising new layer — not knowing about one abuser at all. HM authorities recently told this “no records and no knowledge” tale to a survivor of sexual abuse who bared his most private pain to report what he knew to people he trusted.
When “Gene” decided to report Robert Berman’s abuse to Horace Mann, he met with Robert Katz, then chairman of the board of trustees and Peter Sloane, vice-chair in 2005.
In the meeting, they offered the excuse of no records due to fire. From Gene:
I met with the two of them at Peter Sloane’s law office and I was represented by an attorney. I was told that HM had no records because they were destroyed in a fire and they had no knowledge of Robert Berman’s abuse. If I had more information I was invited to share it with them.
So not only did the chairman of the board say records were allegedly destroyed, but any knowledge or recall by those who wrote or read them sounds like it went up in smoke as well. Hold on a moment — if the school had no knowledge of Berman’s abuse, how did they know that the damaged records concerned that same abuse?
The last part, as they asked what information Gene had, is an oddly loaded question, testing how strong his hand was and with whom else he spoke. Gene believed what they told him. He trusted them.
We now know abuse files and records do exist and that they were not damaged by fire. What Gene was told and what HM authorities told others was untrue — both about the records and about who knew what when.
From Gene, June 13, 2013 (to the author):
Robert Katz brought up the “fire” at our meeting sort of as a catch all explanation why he was unable to respond to my question if others besides me had disclosed abuse at HM. His next move was to explain that HM had no legal responsibility i.e. no notice, no duty. If there were no records in the attic then < Robert Katz > was lying to me, which is wrong. A lie implies guilt and knowledge.
Gene may get to meet with Robert Katz, just the two of them. I hope that happens. Between the two it’s still possible to find some healing. The school could do the same, meeting with the alumni they have avoided and speaking with the candor that has been missing for so long.
* * *
Around the time much of the sexual abuse was going on, lightning struck HM and started a fire in a building just off campus at the business office on the southeast corner of Tibbett Ave and 246th, across the street from the main campus, June 13th, 1984.
The account in the local paper from the June 21, 1984 edition, the Riverdale Press:
Fire damages Horace Mann offices (no byline)
Lightning struck an administration building of the Horace Mann School during a freak thunderstorm last Thursday afternoon, setting the attic level of the three-story brick building on fire. The building, at W. 246 St. and Tibbett Ave., housed the school’s business offices.
We didn’t know it was burning. Someone told us,” said Susan Fraleigh. She and co-worker Hilda Sternberg, bookkeepers at the school, heard the lightning hit at about 4:15 in the afternoon. “We knew it was close,” said Ms. Sternberg. “And they just installed my air conditioner an hour ago,” lamented Ms. Fraleigh.
The fire gutted the top level of the building, where the school’s alumni and development office is located. After firefighters doused the one alarm blaze workers started carrying out boxes of sodden records from the school’s Centennial Fund drive.
It took nearly 20 minutes for the fire trucks to arrive, witnesses said. The local ladder and engine companies at the Riverdale Firehouse, just down the street from the building, had been called to the Century, 2600 Netherland Ave., where lightning had struck minutes earlier.
Lightning had apparently dislodged brick from the face of the building, explained one of the firemen from the Riverdale Firehouse. They fell onto the roof of the Century Racquet Club, a large inflated dome. The local firefighters were instructed to stay on the scene to check for structural damage, and it took some time for companies from outlying areas to respond to the Horace Mann call.
Lightning from the same storm also felled a tree at the Van Cortlandt Mansion.
Two bookkeepers confirmed the damaged files as alumni fund-raising records.
Dottie Conigliaro was editor of the HM alumni magazine in the 80s and 90s. Marc Fisher asked her about the fire. She remembers it well and was the person designated by the school to give the details to the Riverdale Press at the time.
She is certain that no teacher records were kept in that building. Here’s her reply to Marc:
Re: the fire in the Alumni House. It was actually in the same building as the Business Office, and I was there when it happened. In fact, someone from the Riverdale Press interviewed me at the scene and I told them that all fundraising and old alumni records were up there. I’m sure there were no teachers’ records.
So the contemporary record shows that two book keepers quoted in the Riverdale Press said it was “records from the school’s Centennial Fund drive” that were damaged. Dottie Conigliaro independently confirms the damaged files were “fundraising and old alumni records,” not teacher records related to abuse.
Yes, there was a fire that damaged fundraising records. No, it didn’t damage teacher records or witness memories. So when and why did the administration decide that records of abuse were gone?
* * *
Several authors have explored the fire and files question and one saw the actual files. Marc Fisher, class of 1976 and a senior editor with the Washington Post said “I put in some effort on the fire question, but… it’s hard to prove a negative, after all.” About the actual teacher records, he wrote:
Larry Lowenstein, who ran the office that had custody of all historical records at the school, told me that there was no fire. In addition, two teachers who were there at the time said there was no fire. And most important, the school’s version—that the fire took place at the Alumni House across the street from the main campus—is irrelevant, since the personnel records were actually kept in that time period in a room in the basement of Tillinghast Hall. I know this because I visited the school that same year to check student records for a reporting project I was working on, and Dan Alexander took me down to the file room and gave me the files I was looking for. There were four metal file cabinets, the complete archive of student – and faculty – records, and Dan said at the time that this was the extent of the school’s archive (but for some notable items that were kept in the library.) — (to the author, 2013)
Why the story of the fire, no records, no files, and no knowledge?
Knowing makes an obligation to act – the cover up began and continued.
It was in force in 1993, when Ben Balter’s mother was misled and pressured. Ben later committed suicide.
In the Balter meeting, with trustees and administrators, the mother was told she needed video and that Somary could sue (Michael Hess was general counsel at the time).
Mr. Hess was on the Horace Mann Board of Trustees in 1993, when Benjamin Balter, in a letter to the administration, reported that art department chair Johannes Somary had made inappropriate advances toward him.
Mr. Hess, then acting as an attorney for the school, convened a conference with several trustees and Mr. Balter’s mother, a teacher at the school, in which he told her the school wouldn’t investigate the allegations without recorded evidence of impropriety, according to Benjamin’s brother, Charles Balter.
“Somary’s denial was so vehement,” < then headmaster > Foote told The New York Times last year, that “a lot of people put off doing anything about it.” Foote also said that “all the administration and the trustees” held a meeting and decided nothing needed to be done. In the article, he named Hess as one of those present.
In 2013, Hess said he was not involved in the discussions with Ben Balter or his family in 1993.
The Board made a horrible decision, as the abuser continued to harm a ’96 victim next.
When the board chairman told Gene in 2005 “HM had no records because they were destroyed in a fire and they had no knowledge of Robert Berman’s abuse,” there had been at least six reports of abuse by Berman prior to that 2005 meeting:
We know records exist for several reasons:
1. [A teacher] saw a “thick, fat file” on abuse by Somary
2. Marc Fisher’s New Yorker article: “Gene spoke to a retired administrator, who told him that there had been a file, passed from headmaster to headmaster, with complaints of transgressions by teachers. A spokesman for Horace Mann says that Kelly searched for such a file and found nothing. Still, Gene insists, “people knew. They knew and they did nothing.”
“From the nineteen-sixties into the nineteen-nineties, students, parents, and teachers—each believing his story of abuse to be unique—brought complaints about teachers to Horace Mann’s administrators and board members.”
3. Tom Kelly found Ben Balter’s letter of 1993 reporting abuse by Somary. Even if it had been “misfiled,” that means there are files. 
4. After June, 2012, Tom Kelly reviewed a file and then met with a male victim affiliated with HM who had sex with a female coach when he was a student 
5. HM received at least 25 reports of abuse for which we have accounts from 1970 to 2011.
In 2005, how could the chairman of the board say the school didn’t know?
Who told Robert Katz there were no records?
Who had the fiduciary obligation to know the facts?
Did HM authorities tell other victims who reported abuse they were the first and only one reporting?
How did misleading those who came forward to report abuse interfere with alerting the DA or the police?
Did misleading those who came forward stall the filing of timely reports within New York’s tight statute of limitations?
…and what did Horace Mann tell the District Attorney in 2012?
This is why an independent investigation is vital to understand why and how the abuse continued for so long. If we understand – if other schools understand — no one needs to be at the mercy of silence. When reputation trumps child safety, the silence of authorities enables abusers to continue as each report gets buried. It can happen at almost any school. The cover up is poison as teachers get referrals to other schools, parents are in the dark and students are at risk. The justice system we think of as protecting children is a monument to loopholes in private schools. It is up to institutions rather than the victims to speak openly, however awkward or painful.
Who Knew What When?
Peter Brooks, HM ’66
 Meeting with Tom Kelly, Rob Hollander, Oct 4, 2012, at Columbus Circle.
 Accounts of reports of abuse to administrators at Horace Mann, provided to the Horace Mann Action Coalition by alumni, teachers, authors and survivors.
 Note to the author from “Gene”, 2013
 Email to the author, 6/13/2013
 Text of published article as found in microfiche by Sarina Trangle, reporter for the Riverdale Press, 6/13/2013
 Private message on Facebook to the author, Robert Boynton and Amos Kamil from Marc Fisher, 6/14/2013
 Email from Marc Fisher to Peter Greer, in private Facebook message to the author, 6/3/2013
 Exhibit – Reports of abuse received by Horace Mann administrators, 3/16/2015
 Riverdale Press, Sarina Trangle, Horace Mann Signals Change, 5/11/2013, http://riverdalepress.com/stories/Horace-Mann-signals-change-in-tone-over-abuse-scandal,52455?
 “John Doe 2” cited in court documents for HM vs. AIG
 Conversation with the author and an ex-teacher, 2013
 Conversation with Dr. Howard, the author and Amos Kamil, 2013
 Conversation, a survivor and the author, 2013
 Exhibit – Reports of abuse received by Horace Mann administrators, 3/16/2015
Analysis of Abuse Victims by Gender and Decade
The impression that the abuse at HM was almost exclusively male-boy is incorrect, probably a result of the early emerging accounts. Overall, a third of all accounts known so far involve girl victims or female abusers, with women-as-abusers as frequent as girls were a victim of abuse by a male.
Once the school was co-ed in the early 70’s, the change in abuse was female abusers, in addition to the male-girl abuse. The surprise is the rise of female abusers. By the 80’s, three quarters of all accounts involved female abusers or girl victims (vs. 17% ten years earlier).
|Female victims or abusers:||35%||–||17%||75%||67%|
Mix of abuse in the 80’s and 90’s when fully coed:
|Male,abuse of girls||42%|
|Female,abuse of boys||31%|
|Male,abuse of boys||27%|
Appendices 5A – 5D
Letters from Survivor Group to the Horace Mann School
Original Survivors’ Letter
June 21, 2012
To: Dr. Kelly, the Board of Trustees,
and our many beloved friends in the Horace Mann community
From: A group of survivors of sexual abuse by Horace Mann teachers and staff
We have been deeply moved by the outpouring of love, concern and solidarity expressed by many in our community since the publication of the New York Times Magazine article about sexual abuse at Horace Mann. We wish to express our thanks to all who have expressed compassion and caring toward us. We have tried not to be hurt by certain comments others have made on the internet seeking to blame the victims or to call our integrity, our motives or even our sexuality into question.
We recognize that many of our fellow-alumni who were not themselves sexually abused, and who were unaware of abuse, have also experienced trauma these last days as you have read just a small part of what was done to us. We recognize that you too are suffering at this time, and we feel that you and we are part of the same community. We are particularly sensitive to those who had no idea that abuse was taking place, and who may have loved and admired the teachers who abused us. We know it must be painful for you to read our stories about the darker side of mentors you admired.
Many people – in Facebook groups, in email conversations, on blogs, etc. – have been suggesting in public and in private what they think we, the survivors of abuse, might want to see happen in the days and weeks ahead. We thought it might serve the community for us to give you an idea of what we ourselves might like to see.
We wish to be clear that this letter is an early draft of a “working document.” We are still in the process of sorting out our own thoughts, and those thoughts are evolving. Additionally, other survivors are contacting us daily, and not all have been able to contribute to this draft. We are in contact with more than twenty survivors so far, and we were able to request input on this letter from eighteen of them, and this document represents our best effort to reflect the concerns that those people have shared with us. Thus, we may revise this document in the coming weeks.
We believe the Horace Mann community has an historic opportunity to show leadership on this issue – to set an example of the right way to handle a crisis of this kind in order to promote healing, reconciliation, justice and truth. We welcome a dialogue with the current Horace Mann administration and Trustees on how to realize these goals.
We believe work must be done in four areas: 1) protecting potential future victims, 2) ensuring “never again” at Horace Mann, 3) healing and assisting past victims based on their legitimate needs, and 4) changing the wider system.
Protecting Potential Future Victims
The New York Times article named three teachers who have all died. Our abusers include several other teachers, some of whom are still alive. We are concerned that these pedophiles may even now be “grooming” other children for similar abuse. Some of you have asked why we did not come forward sooner about this. Several of us did come forward in the past, reporting abuse to the Horace Mann administration and Trustees and/or reporting it to law enforcement, but often we felt our reports fell on deaf ears. Others of us suffered alone for many years, overcome by shame and unable to come forward, not knowing there were others like us. It has taken decades for us to reach the place where we felt able to talk to others about what was done to us. This is common in victims of child sexual abuse.
We ask for the vigorous support of the Horace Mann administration and Trustees and the wider Horace Mann community in helping us prevent these still-living perpetrators from harming any other children as they harmed us. We ask you to help us work with law enforcement to investigate these perpetrators and to ensure that they are removed from contact with children.
Though we may have questions about some of the things Dr. Kelly has done or said on other matters in the past and in the present crisis, we wish to thank him for his strong support in recent days in helping us persuade law enforcement officials to take our concerns seriously and to act on them.
Never Again at Horace Mann
We appreciate the public assurances from the Horace Mann administration and Trustees that Horace Mann has changed greatly since we were abused, and that the school now has policies to ensure that such things will not be repeated. But when these policies were put into place, they were not informed by the experiences that were recently disclosed. We believe Horace Mann can and must do much more to reassure us and the wider community that such things could never again take place at Horace Mann.
We are told that the people who were involved in abuse and the others who failed to act on reports of abuse are now all gone from Horace Mann. This is not true. We believe that several members of the current Board of Trustees were present at a meeting in 1993 with Ben Balter’s mother in which the school refused to take appropriate action on Ben’s letter describing the abuse he suffered. Unless evidence can be presented to contradict this, we request that these Trustees resign or be compelled to resign. Until the Board takes this action regarding its current membership, it is difficult for us to believe that the “old Horace Mann” that enabled abuse no longer exists, nor that the Board of Trustees is dealing with us in good faith.
We are told that Horace Mann now has strong policies in place to ensure that credible allegations of sexual abuse are promptly reported to the authorities. But some of us have in the last several years brought first-hand allegations to the attention of school administrators and Trustees, and we believe they were not dealt with adequately. These include allegations about teachers who are still alive. In another case school resources were used to promote an event to honor publicly a recently deceased abuser, despite a private promise by the school not to do so. Many of us feel strongly that that the names of our abusers should be removed from honor rolls and building plaques on the campus, and that the School should not sponsor or in any way support events in their honor.
We applaud the current administration for its stated determination to conduct a thorough internal investigation now of what happened. In light of what we have noted above, however, we believe that a purely internal investigation is not sufficient to reassure us and the wider Horace Mann community of the administration’s determination to address the situation thoroughly and transparently. We call upon the administration to invite an independent body to conduct a thorough investigation and to give that body the full access needed to conduct a credible investigation of what happened, of who knew what when, and of what was or was not done about it. Such an investigation would reassure us and the wider Horace Mann community of the administration’s determination to deal transparently with this crisis and to do all that is necessary to ensure that the climate which enabled abuse in the past can never again thrive at Horace Mann. Such investigations would do much to restore the credibility and integrity of our beloved alma mater.
Helping the Victims
We ourselves have experienced deep and lasting trauma, pain and humiliation because of the violation we experienced as children at the hands of our trusted teachers and coaches. In some cases those who abused us had been our heroes and role models. We know of other victims who are still nearly crippled by that pain or who feel unable, unwilling or afraid to come forward. We believe that for each of us who has come forward there are several others who have not yet felt able to do so. Some of us have struggled with decades of depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide attempts, broken relationships, etc., and we have spent countless hours in costly therapy seeking healing of our memories.
We believe the Horace Mann administration should make a public apology to us which expresses compassion for what we have suffered. Such an apology, though long overdue, would go a long way toward helping us and others experience healing.
We believe that Horace Mann has an obligation to act proactively to support the healing of those who were abused. For example, the School can and should establish a fund to compensate victims for such things as the cost of therapy and other loss and damage resulting from sexual abuse.
The School could also support and facilitate events or retreats – coordinated with us – that would promote healing of those who were abused in the past. We would also like the School’s public apology to be expressed privately to those of us who feel able to come to a private meeting. In this context survivors who feel able to do so should have opportunity to tell their stories to the Board and administration. Such actions, and others which we would be happy to discuss with the administration and Trustees, would go a long way to promote healing.
We understand that current administrators may not have been personally involved in past failures to act on our complaints and failure to report those complaints to the authorities. But some of us brought complaints to the administration or Board of Trustees in just the last several years, and we know that others came forward before us, yet we saw Horace Mann take little concrete action on our concerns until the New York Times Magazine article was published. This contributed to our continued sense of isolation and shame, and to the perception that we were alone, and it undermined our ability to pursue justice.
Furthermore, as Horace Mann alumni/ae we regularly receive fundraising literature urging us to support our alma mater because of its 125 years of tradition – because of the heritage of great work Horace Mann has done for many decades. It is true that Horace Mann has indeed done great work for many decades, and we are proud of that heritage. We are grateful for our many wonderful teachers at Horace Mann who never abused anyone and who ignited in us a lifelong love of learning. But the current administration cannot take credit for the good things in the past while disowning responsibility for the bad things in the past. The current administration cannot ask us to help them financially because of the good things their predecessors did in our lives while refusing to help us deal with the consequences of the bad things their predecessors did in our lives.
Change the System
Horace Mann has an opportunity to lead by example. Because of the prominence of Horace Mann as an institution, many other institutions and the wider public are watching closely the example which Horace Mann will set in dealing with this crisis. Horace Mann can and should serve as a model for other institutions in New York, in the U.S., and throughout the world.
We must change the current outdated statute of limitations in New York for sexual crimes against minors. As the New York Times reports, “For civil suits and many criminal charges, [current] New York law requires that allegations be made in court by the time a victim is 23 years old.” But research indicates that such is the power which abusers hold over their victims that only a tiny percentage of victims feel able to come forward before their 23rd birthday. For many of us it took decades for us to reach the place where we felt able to come forward. The current law is virtually a license to abuse children with impunity. We call upon the Horace Mann administration and the wider Horace Mann community to join us in supporting the Markey Bill (http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A5488). Though we would like to see a stronger bill, this bill is a step in the right direction. Dr. Kelly tells us that he publicly and privately supports passage of this bill, and we would like to thank him for that principled stand.
We want to thank our old classmates and fellow-alumni who have come forward with constructive proposals on how to move forward from here. We particularly welcome the letter from the Class of 1975 to the Board of Trustees and we ask the Trustees to read it carefully. We also welcome the letter to the Trustees from Adam Kasanof HM ’77, which we are appending to our letter. We applaud the courage of Dr. Kathleen Howard as she seeks justice for her late son Ben Balter. We are appending a letter representing her concerns, and we ask the Trustees to read this and Adam Kasanof’s letter and to give serious consideration to the recommendations they make.
We want to be clear that we still feel deeply connected to our alma mater. We are proud of the outstanding education we received at Horace Mann, and we are grateful for wonderful teachers who opened new horizons of learning for us. We do not want to hurt Horace Mann; we want to help heal it, though we have learned from experience that healing sometimes requires confronting painful realities. We welcome a dialogue with the Horace Mann administration and Trustees and the wider Horace Mann community, and we hope that this process of dialogue may lead to reconciliation, healing, justice and truth. We request that Dr. Kelly and the Trustees meet with us and Dr. Howard, with or without counsel, to work collaboratively to find solutions that will work for the survivors, their families and the wider Horace Mann family both past and present. We hope that our community may thereby serve as a role model for wider society.
A group of survivors of sexual abuse by Horace Mann teachers and staff
Second Survivors’ Letter
July 11, 2012
To: The Horace Mann School Board of Trustees and Dr. Thomas Kelly, Head of School
Cc: The Horace Mann Community
From: The Horace Mann Survivors’ Group
We are more than twenty people who were sexually abused at Horace Mann. Our group includes both women and men. Those members of our group who tragically took their lives are represented by close family members. The abuse included heterosexual and homosexual violation. Our abusers include more than ten teachers and coaches, many of whom have not yet been publicly identified. Some of these abusers are still alive and living comfortable lives.
Three weeks have passed since we presented a letter to the Board of Trustees, and we have still received no response. We have received no acknowledgment of our letter, nor any indication of when or whether we will ever receive a personal response. We have received no gesture of compassion or caring from the Board of Trustees.
In our first letter, presented to Dr. Kelly on June 20 and to the Board on June 21, we sought to open a constructive dialogue with the Trustees and Administration to find solutions good for the school and for us. So far the Trustees appear to be stonewalling us. Some of us have had informal, private conversations with Dr. Kelly. His tone has been reasonably constructive, but he has not told us he is responding to our letter on behalf of the Trustees. We have received inquiries from the school’s lawyers, but this is not the same as hearing from the Trustees. We have heard from the school’s PR firm through the news media, but this is not the same as hearing from the Trustees.
It seems to us that the Trustees must do one of two things. The first alternative would be to give Dr. Kelly full authority to make decisions and to act on the issues we raised and the requests we made in our first letter. The second, if the Trustees insist on making all decisions themselves, is for them to respond to our letter immediately and to agree to meet promptly with us face-to-face.
The Trustees have an opportunity to create a win-win situation, and we hope they will seize it. They can demonstrate the school’s integrity by bringing an end to Horace Mann’s long history of covering up abuse. We brought many of our stories to school officials from the 1970s through the 2000s. In most cases nothing at all was done, and our abusers were allowed to continue their abuse. In some cases school officials – including both Administration officials and Trustees – urged us to keep silent or even bullied us into silence. We believe that some of these Trustees are still members of the Board. To our knowledge, no one reported these events to Child Protective Services or law enforcement. In one case a student who was being sexually abused was asked to meet with the Guidance Department Chairman, only to be sexually abused by that Chairman and then to have that Chairman take retaliatory action against the victim in the classroom. We encourage the Trustees to put an end to this sad tradition.
We do not want to harm our alma mater. Most of us love Horace Mann and are proud to have studied there. But we have been pressured to be silent too many times. The Trustees can no longer ignore us or delay their response. If the Trustees are unwilling to respond to us, instead continuing to communicate with us only through their lawyers and their PR firm, then they – not we – will have done serious harm to the school.
If the Trustees give full authority to Dr. Kelly to make decisions and act on the requests in our first letter, then that would give more substance to our current conversations with Dr. Kelly. But if the Board of Trustees insist that only they may make the decisions regarding what to do about the abuse we suffered, then they must respond to us directly and meet with us.
The Horace Mann Survivors’ Group
Third Survivors’ Letter
May 04, 2013
Nearly a year has passed since the New York Times described how our trusted mentors at Horace Mann sexually abused us over a period of decades. In June 2012 we wrote to the Board of Trustees asking for an independent investigation, an apology, and the resignation of Trustees who covered up the abuse. Unlike other schools which have quickly done these things after similar revelations, Horace Mann has waited a year before responding to these requests. Now, at last, we have at least a partial reply.
The positive elements in the school’s response are a step forward. The school has apologized, but the quality of that apology is undermined if the Trustees do not want to know fully the extent and nature of the problem for which the school is apologizing. The school’s letter still uses the word “alleged,” but it does go on to acknowledge unspecified “abuse.”
Eliminating the position of Emeriti Trustees means the resignation of certain Trustees whose departure we welcome, but not all departing Trustees were responsible for the cover-up. An independent investigation would make clear which Trustees should resign and which should be exonerated or even praised.
The Trustees have still not responded substantively to our chief request – that they commission an independent investigation. The longer the Trustees resist this, the more they communicate that they do not want to know the full truth about the scale of the abuse or the cover-up perpetrated by the school.
An independent investigation – a searching and fearless moral inventory of past mistakes – is the only way to prevent repeating those mistakes in the future. If Trustees do not want to understand past mistakes, this does not bode well for the safety of children at HM today. Today’s HM students are watching closely our example. Several of us reported abuse to the school when we were students. The school did not investigate our reports, but instead sometimes used threats of retribution to pressure us into silence. If Trustees today still refuse an independent investigation of our reports, how can today’s students trust HM to investigate fully if, God forbid, they ever have reason to report similar abuse?
An independent investigation is the only way for the Trustees to put this crisis behind them. As long as they resist this, the school’s reputation will continue to suffer from a steady drip of revelations in the press and a cloud of suspicion about what else remains hidden. Trustees’ resistance devalues the quality and prestige of a Horace Mann diploma, causing fiduciary harm to the school. HM has now become a case study for social-science research into institutional betrayal of victims of sexual abuse. HM students applying to college are forced to distance themselves from the amoral example of their school. Students must show that, unlike the Trustees, they do believe that “Great is the truth, and it prevails.”
A report by Commonwealth Mediation summarizing our confidential statements is no substitute for a proper investigation in which the school transparently opens its files (to the extent allowed by law) and encourages its present and former agents to speak candidly to an investigator.
The Bronx District Attorney recently reported a “systemic pattern” in an “almost four decade period of sexual abuse at Horace Mann.” We were sexually abused by more than twenty teachers, including the Headmaster, the Dean of Guidance, the School Chaplain, two Department Chairs, and other senior officials. We reported this to the school that was paid to educate and protect us, and the school covered it up and refused to investigate. To refuse to investigate now is to continue the cover-up. Trustees who are blocking an independent investigation are causing fiduciary harm to the school, and the time has come for these Trustees to resign.
Because Trustees have declined to commission an independent investigator of their own choosing, we intend to cooperate with the investigation conducted by Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder. We would prefer to work with an investigation commissioned by the school, but we will cooperate with Judge Snyder, as her investigation is now the only option available to us.
Fourth Survivors’ Letter
May 04, 2013
We are a group of more than thirty[i] survivors of sexual abuse at Horace Mann. We write in response to Sunday’s letter from Board Chair Steve Friedman and Head of School Tom Kelly, in which they blamed us for their refusal to tell you and us what happened at HM and why. As a result, we are asking you directly today to support our ongoing call for an independent investigation and public accounting, ending the cover-up at Horace Mann.
Mr. Friedman and Dr. Kelly would have you believe we are satisfied with the trustees’ actions. This is false. The trustees’ response has left us worse off than before, causing fresh pain and hindering our ability to heal and to move on with our lives. From the beginning, our chief request has been a fully public investigation by a credible, independent third party – not merely the minimum legally required cooperation with law enforcement. We continue to call upon Horace Mann to explain who knew what, when they knew it, how they responded, and how abuse was allowed to flourish for decades. Dozens of us were molested. Many more teachers abused us than the media have reported. Numerous trustees and administrators knew but did nothing or coerced victims into silence. As we have stated in the past, and despite contrary claims in Sunday’s letter, we are eager to tell our stories to a responsible investigator who examines both the roots of the abuse itself and the subsequent cover-up. We are not willing to do what has been offered: for our painful stories to be exploited in a “report” which intentionally ignores our questions about how a climate of molestation, rape and cover-up was allowed to flourish. To reject our request and then to blame us for the school’s lack of transparency – claiming the trustees are acting “out of respect for [our] wishes” – is yet another in a series of betrayals.
We make these requests out of affection for our alma mater and a desire to help heal our school and our community. We renew our request, expressed in our June and July 2012 letters, to meet with the trustees outside a legal environment to promote truth-based reconciliation. Our school’s motto is “Great is the truth, and it prevails.” If Mr. Friedman does not believe that motto, then he should resign in favor of someone who does believe in pursuing truth. If you support us in wanting our school to commission or cooperate with a careful investigation and to tell the truth of what happened, please write to Mr. Friedman and Dr. Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have donated to Horace Mann in the past, please consider telling them that until the truth is told, you will restrict your donations to supporting an investigation (commissioned by HM or by alumni) or to helping the victims directly. If you have not donated in the past, please consider telling them you will give if they stop the cover-up. If you have any questions, you can contact us at HoraceMannSurvivor@gmail.com.
[i] Several people have written politely asking us who, exactly, is behind the above letter. Horace Mann’s spokesman at the PR firm of Kekst and Company questioned how many survivors were behind it. This letter was drafted and released corporately through a consensus process involving all of the women and men who have come together in the Horace Mann Survivors’ Group. Successive drafts were circulated via email among a community of 34 people, including 31 survivors of sexual abuse and 3 people representing close family members who took their own lives. Despite the short timeframe, the large majority of group members contributed input on the successive drafts, and only a small handful were unable to be reached for comment (some due to illness). On the final draft 30 members were able to provide comments, and all were favorable. Some members of the group have good reasons – including family responsibilities and professional obligations – for not feeling free to be individually and publicly named as survivors of sexual abuse. Nonetheless 15 members of the Survivors’ Group have been publicly identified by name – either in the news media (11 of us) or on the alumni-related Facebook groups (4 more).
Appendices 6A – 6G
Letters from Horace Mann to the Community
Statement By Bronx District Attorney
May 01, 2013
In June of 2012, a New York Times Magazine article detailed a pattern of sexual abuse at Horace Mann School in the Bronx. In response to that article and a request by the New York City Council, The Bronx District Attorney’s Office set up a hotline for victims and others to report allegations of abuse directly to our Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Bureau. We established a line of communication with the current administration of Horace Mann and began to review the school’s child abuse reporting policies and procedures. We also pursued other investigative leads.
In the 10 and a half month period following the creation of the hotline, approximately 30 calls came into the hotline, most of which were fielded in the first few months. From the onset of the hotline, The Bronx District Attorney’s Office worked closely with the NYPD, Bronx Special Victim’s Squad, to address allegations of abuse and to further investigate these allegations.
This joint effort resulted in over 60 separate interviews to date, over 25 of which were with victims of alleged abuse. Interviews were conducted with individuals both inside and outside the State of New York. Members of the Bronx Special Victim’s Squad traveled to several other states including California, Colorado and Vermont to speak to individuals regarding allegations of abuse. Any and all victims of abuse were offered the services of the Crime Victim’s Assistance Unit of The Bronx District Attorney’s Office. This is the unit which provides essential support and services to crime victims through a combination of direct supportive counseling, referrals, and other services. The unit has services specifically tailored to sexual assault survivors.
The interviews conducted by The Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD reveal a systemic pattern of alleged abuse beyond what was outlined in the original New York Times Magazine article. In total, we received direct information regarding at least 12 separate alleged abusers. The reported abuse ranges from what may be characterized as inappropriate behavior to child endangerment, actual instances of sexual contact, sexual intercourse and criminal sexual acts. The earliest instance of abuse that was reported to us occurred in 1962. While the majority of the abuse was said to have occurred in the 1970s, additional instances of abuse were reported from the 1980s and 1990s. The last reported occurrence of abuse was in 1996.
To date, all instances of reported sexual abuse occurring at Horace Mann between 1962 and 1996 are beyond New York State’s Criminal Statute of Limitations (CPL 30.10.) Prior to August 1, 1996, the Statute of Limitations for all felonies, other than homicides, was 5 years. The Statute of Limitations for all misdemeanors was 2 years. In August of 1996, the Statute of Limitations was expanded for Child Sex Crimes. With this change, the 5 year period of limitation does not begin to run until the child’s 18th birthday or until the case is reported to law enforcement or the state central registry, whichever occurs earlier. On June 23, 2006, the Statute of Limitations was eliminated altogether for all Class “B” felonies contained in Article 130 (entitled “Sex Offenses”) of the Penal Law. Neither of these Legislative changes provides any recourse for a prosecution of any act of past sexual abuse at Horace Mann which has currently been reported. It might be noted that the United States Supreme Court has held that once the criminal statute of limitations has expired in a particular case, it cannot be revived without violating the ex post facto clause of the federal constitution. Stognerv.California, 539 U.S. 607 (2003.)
It has been reported that throughout the almost four decade period of sexual abuse at Horace Mann, there were instances of abuse coming to the attention of school officials without law enforcement being notified. This certainly highlights an alarming gap in New York State’s mandatory reporting laws. New York State’s Social Services Law (sections 411-415) mandates specifically enumerated professionals, including all school officials, to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment by a parent or “other person legally responsible” for the child. “Other person legally responsible” refers to a guardian, caretaker, or other person 18 years of age or older who is responsible for the care of the child. Thus, this statute requires private school officials to report sexual abuse by parents or guardians, but not by other employees. Another statute, New York State’s Education Law (sections 1125-26) outlines the duties of specifically enumerated employees upon receipt of an allegation of child abuse in an “educational setting.” However, “educational setting” only includes a public school district, not a private one, so private school officials are not mandated reporters under this law. In order to effectuate real change to New York State’s Mandatory Reporting Law, under the Social Services Law, the context of the abuse should be broadened to include child abuse committed by anyone employed by a school or occurring on school property or at a school sponsored event. Additionally, New York State’s Education Law ought to be expanded to cover private school districts. We will press for these changes.
In September of 2012, Horace Mann added to their “Family Handbook” a new “Policy on Reporting Child Abuse of Students by School Employees.” Just recently, after some discussions with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, the language in this policy has been amended to highlight the importance of immediate notification to law enforcement. The Bronx District Attorney’s Office encourages other educational institutions to adopt similar guidelines until legislative change is appropriately effectuated.
The Bronx District Attorney’s Office would like to thank those individuals who shared their accounts of abuse with us, and commend them for their courage in doing so. We remain available to provide the services which our Crime Victim’s Assistance Unit offers. We also remain available to continue to receive information from victims of sexual abuse at Horace Mann, as well as from all victims of sexual abuse.
HMAC Reply to Statement by Bronx District Attorney
April 26, 2013
The Horace Mann Action Coalition is grateful to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, the NYPD, and the Bronx Special Victim’s Squad for investigating the multiple cases of sexual abuse that took place at the Horace Mann School for over three decades. The investigation confirmed the existence of “a systemic pattern of alleged abuse beyond what was outlined in the original New York Times Magazine article.” The District Attorney’s Office concluded that at least 12 separate abusers committed everything from acts of child endangerment to “actual instances of sexual contact, sexual intercourse and criminal sexual acts,” ranging from 1962 to 1996.
Sadly, the archaic nature of New York State’s statute of limitations makes it impossible for any individual or institution to be prosecuted for these crimes. It is for this reason that HMAC supports Assemblywoman Marge Markey’s Child Victims Act (A1771), which would completely eliminate statutes of limitations in the future, and provide a one year window for old civil cases, in order to give justice to victims and expose abusers.
Most disturbingly, the District Attorney’s Office found a pattern of administrative failure to take sexual abuse seriously at Horace Mann. The report concludes “that throughout the almost four decade period of sexual abuse at Horace Mann, there were instances of abuse coming to the attention of school officials without law enforcement being notified.” Indeed, HMAC has documented at least eighteen cases in which sexual abuse was brought to the attention of Horace Mann teachers, administrators and board of trustee members. In each case, the student who reported the abuse was told that pursuing the accusations might hurt his chances at attending the college of his choice, or that Horace Mann wouldn’t consider a case for which the student had no “video or audio” evidence. It is tragic to consider how much suffering might have been avoided had even a few of the accusations been investigated.
Those who have believed Horace Mann’s assurances that such behavior was a thing of the past will be disappointed to learn that it wasn’t until September 2012 two months after the New York Times Magazine article that first brought the reports of sexual abuse to the school’s attention that “Horace Mann added to their ‘Family Handbook’ a new ‘Policy on Reporting Child Abuse of Students by School Employees.’” What was the school’s policy before September 2012? Did it have such a policy? The District Attorney’s report does not say.
What the report does make clear is that the Bronx District Attorney’s Office judged Horace Mann’s September 2012 policies on reporting sexual abuse by employees inadequate. In what way did they believe it to be inadequate? The District Attorney’s Office felt that Horace Mann’s policy needed to be “amended to highlight the importance of immediate notification to law enforcement.” Was the school’s reluctance the reporting sexual abuse to law enforcement? Or was it reluctant to report sexual abuse in a timely fashion? Perhaps both. The report doesn’t say.
In light of these conclusions, board of trustee chairman Steve Friedman and Headmaster Tom Kelly should take the action HMAC and others have been calling for since June 2012. It should officially and unambiguously acknowledge that sexual abuse took place, it should officially and unambiguously apologize to those who were victims of sexual abuse at Horace Mann, and it should cooperate with an independent investigation into the conditions that allowed decades of sexual abuse by multiple abusers to occur.
We are confident that the District Attorney’s report is the beginning, not the end, of this investigation. The Horace Mann Action Coalition Support Fund has retained Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder to supervise the investigation, and raised funds to support it. We hope that Horace Mann alumni, as well as anyone who is concerned about the sexual abuse of children, will consider making a donation to the investigation.
Statements of Horace Mann Survivors at Press Conference
April 22, 2013
My name is Edward Bowen. I was sexually abused by Johannes Somary, a teacher of mine at the Horace Mann School, when I was 16-years-old. Part of my story was told in last year’s New York Times story, where I was identified as EB. I want to make sure that everyone knows that the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse is a device that protects criminals. It is not some obscure legal jargon that does not really matter. I am fully in support of the Markey bill and firmly believe that the statute of limitations should be eliminated altogether. Why is New York protecting criminals?
My name is Joseph Cumming, and I was sexually abused on many occasions by my teacher and mentor Johannes Somary, beginning when I was 15 years old and continuing until just before my 18th birthday. For 33 years I thought I was alone. I thought I was the only person who had suffered these things at Horace Mann. I thought I was alone in carrying the shame and pain I felt.
In 2011 I discovered for the first time that I was not alone. After talking with another Horace Mann graduate who had been abused, I began to reach out to others. I have since learned that I was one of many who were abused as children by many teachers at Horace Mann over a period of decades.
I have also learned from others that the Horace Mann administration was informed about Somary’s abuse of at least one other student several years before he began targeting me. In other words, if the school had taken decisive action many years ago, many of us would never have suffered the abuse we did.
I want to say something to anyone who has been abused as we were: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We are familiar with the shame, the depression, the struggles with alcohol and substance abuse, the temptations to suicide, the broken relationships: the list goes on. You can find support at HoraceMannSurvivor.org.
I want to say something to the Horace Mann Board of Trustees. In June 2012 we presented you with a letter from the Survivors’ Group in which we set forth what steps we believed were necessary to restore the reputation of our beloved alma mater and to ensure that such things could never again happen at Horace Mann. Chief among these was an independent investigation. An investigation would not only ascertain the extent and level of sexual abuse, but would also communicate to present and future students that if (G--d forbid) they should ever suffer abuse, they can report that abuse with confidence that the school will take them seriously, will investigate their report, and will not bury their story or pressure them into silence.
An Independent investigation is the path to a healed Horace Mann – for those who suffered the abuse, for the wider community of alumni, and for the students and parents at Horace Mann today who also deserve to know the truth.
My name is Ron Klepper and I was sexually abused repeatedly as a 13-year-old student at Horace Mann.
The effects of that abuse on my life have been profound. For many years, I refused to go to school, because I became frightened. School was no longer a safe place to learn, but turned into a frightening place where a predator lurked.
Figuring out the words to express what happened to me took many, many years, and I am still unraveling how it altered the course of my life. Precisely because it took me many decades to even begin to understand the abuse and its impact, New York should do the right thing and pass the Markey bill, which would allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring claims and would permit prosecutions to proceed even though the abuse may have occurred long ago.
I attended Horace Mann from the age of 11 to the age of 17, from 7th to 12th grade. I graduated from Horace Mann in 1979. The only year I did not attend Horace Mann was in 8th grade when my family lived in England for a year.
During all the years I attended Horace Mann, I suffered sexual abuse.
Eight different Horace Mann faculty abused me, including the headmaster of the school, Inky Clark, as well as Stanley Kops, Mark Wright and Johannes Somary.
Instead of a safe and nurturing place that would educate me, Horace Mann ended up providing a perfect storm of childhood sexual abuse.
Inky Clark, Horace Mann’s headmaster, began his abuse of me in the 9th grade. One day, after a Glee Club concert in the 9th grade, Clark approached me and invited me to his house on a Friday afternoon. I was 14. I was over the moon: the Headmaster was inviting me and recognizing I was special. I arrived at Clark’s house after school at about 4PM. Clark and another teacher, Stanley Kops, were both there, waiting. Clark offered me a drink. I expected a Coca- Cola, but instead I was given alcohol, and plied repeatedly with more of the same. Within a short time, I had drunk two or three strong alcoholic drinks; my 14-year old body felt strange and overwhelmed.
Clark and Kops then suggested we all drive downtown for some dinner. Instead, they drove down to a nightclub on East 59th Street. I remember being in the club and noticing it was filled with only two types of men: men over 50, or much younger adolescents and men under 20 years old. Eventually Clark and Kops picked up two young men and directed us all back to Clark’s car. I remember asking to be dropped off at home, but Clark insisted on driving me back to his home.
Once back at Clark’s house, Clark and Kops had the two young men – whom I eventually understood were prostitutes – engage in sexual acts. They forced me to join them. Ultimately, I was required at age 14, to engage in oral sex with each of them and be anally penetrated by each of them in front of Clark and Kops for the Headmaster’s and History teacher’s enjoyment. Later, Clark and Kops sent the two male prostitutes away, and continued to engage in sexual abuse of me, including requiring that I engage in oral sex with each of them.
After that night, both Clark and Kops repeatedly treated me as their sex object and personal play thing.
On approximately five more occasions over the next several years, Inky Clark directed me to come to his house on campus so that he could anally penetrate me or give or receive oral sex. On one additional occasion, Stanley Kops and a friend directed me to come to one of their apartments where they forced me to masturbate and Kops took pictures of me. I believe that Kops may have shared those pictures with other teachers at Horace Mann, which may be why I became a target for so many teachers.
I was active in Glee Club, Orchestra and Jazz throughout his years at Horace Mann. I had always found solace in music. Because I played many intramural concerts, I often travelled to New Jersey and Connecticut with other music students and Johannes Somary. Somary had always been “touchy” – leaving his hand on my shoulder for too long, or brushing my hair away from my face. I remember that on one trip in ninth grade, Somary came into my hotel room and began kissing me, opening his mouth and using his tongue, and that Somary also started to fondle me. I was 14 at the time.
That summer, between ninth and tenth grades, I went to Poland for three weeks with Somary and others. On at least three occasions, Somary would get me quite drunk and insist that on performing oral sex on me. Over the course of the next several years, Somary routinely grabbed me and held him in long embraces, pressing up against me, kissing and groping me. That happened over 30 times, usually at the school in a classroom or Somary’s office. On at least 10 occasions, Somary figured out ways of getting me alone in a room and engaging in oral or anal sex, with Somary anally penetrating me.
In tenth grade, I pulled a muscle in my leg. At the end of gym period, my teacher, Mark Wright, instructed me to come to an office to be physically examined. I followed Wright downstairs to a windowless room, where Wright locked the door and instructed me to take off all my clothes. Wright began by checking my legs. He said something about needing to check that my leg muscles connected properly and began touching my penis. Wright then masturbated me. I was 15.
These are only some of the abuses I suffered at Horace Mann. My childhood was taken from me – there was no safe place anywhere at Horace Mann, because everywhere I turned, another predator lurked.
As a direct result of the sexual abuse by Inky Clark and Stanley Kops, I was introduced to the world of male prostitution and gay porn in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. When I finally stopped my self-destructive behavior, my internal feelings of worthlessness overcame me, and I began the struggle to live without drugs and find peace.
To say that Horace Mann knew about the sexual abuse of its students seems to me to be an understatement. The institution, under Inky Clark, fostered, promoted and carefully grew and developed the abuse. These predators appear to have spoken to one another, identifying and passing the most vulnerable students around. My experience makes that clear.
The school must conduct a full, independent investigation, so the extent and depth of the abuse is finally brought to light and so that nothing like this can never happen again.
And New York should pass the Markey bill so that the victims of sexual abuse are permitted to seek justice in the courts and the perpetrators who are still alive are finally punished.
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I was 15 years old when it began, and a student at Horace Mann. I have carried this secret all my life. It took me nearly over 35 years to begin to confront that it had happened and to find the courage to tell others.
When the story broke last summer in the New York Times, I eventually came to learn that more than thirty students were abused by many teachers, including Horace Mann’s headmaster, over the course of decades. I also learned that over the years several students had reported to the school that teachers had abused them, including complaints about the teacher who had abused me, made before I was targeted.
Sexual abuse of children is a cancer buried deeply in a child. It remains hidden, doing damage often for decades until the words and ability to
process the feelings surface. It takes an amazing amount of support and courage for survivors to find their voices. Talking today is very difficult me. I can do it because I am supported by my fellow survivors and by many Horace Mann alumni.
I want to take this opportunity to be an example for others who were abused and suffer in silence. You are not alone. You can find your voice. More must be done to remove the shame and stigma of childhood sexual abuse.
To start, I believe Horace Mann should issue a formal apology and insure that an independent investigation is conducted to explain why and how this happened.
Selected Articles on Sex Abuse at Horace Mann