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.Other alumni include NY Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and Pulitzer Prize winning historian Robert Caro.
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 story was written by Amos Kamil, an alumnus of the school and is based on conversations with one hundred people invovled with the school - including 60 former students, and current and former faculty members.
The school did nothing about the attacks at the time. (This link contains somewhat graphic detail).
The article, written by '82 Horace Mann graduate Amos Kamil, investigates many of the sad tales of alleged abuse between 1978 and 1994, three of the alleged abusers, and how a series of administrators, trustees, teachers, and students allowed it to go on for so longThe article names the three teachers involved and published their pictures. All three are now deceased, one having committed suicide.
In the case of Wright and Kops, when students spoke up about inappropriate incidents, the school got the teachers to quietly resign. Somary, for whatever reason, was allowed to stay on until retirement in 2002, at age 67, even after a student, Ben Balter, came forward with abuse allegations in 1994. When confronted by Balter's mother, Somary protested that Ben kissed him first; and when the mother yelled "[redacted]" she says he replied: "That's how we Swiss kiss." The school did prohibit Somary from taking students on trips unaccompanied after that, however. Ben Balter, apparently haunted by the abuse, killed himself in 2009.
The school's website has a link to a letter to students and parents discussing the upcoming article and assures them those individuals are no longer at the school.
The article focuses on allegations of inappropriate behavior toward students at Horace Mann School a number of years back by former and, in some cases, now-deceased faculty members. These allegations are highly disturbing and absolutely abhorrent. We can assure you that none of the individuals mentioned in the article is currently employed by the School nor have they been for a number of years.The author talks about the lesson that can be learned from this
"The story is worth reading in all of its horrifying detail," says Joe Coscarelli at New York, and tries to answer a larger question: In the wake of the sex abuse scandals at Penn State, in the Boy Scouts, and the Catholic Church, Kamil says, "how does an institutional culture arise to condone, or at least ignore, something that, individually, every member knows is wrong?" He comes up with several reasons why people might look the other way, or feel they can't do anything, but doesn't come away with a satisfying overarching explanation