Rhode Island prep school report apologizes for at least 26 cases of past sexual abuse

By Doug G. Ware

MIDDLETOWN, R.I., Dec. 25 (UPI) -- An investigation has found what it says are numerous cases of sexual misconduct committed at a Rhode Island boarding school during the 1970s and 1980s.

The state's St. George's School conducted a yearlong probe into the matter. The results, released Wednesday, claim at least 26 cases of sexual abuse were committed against students there.


The abuse was allegedly committed by six former employees of the school -- all of whom were discharged, but not reported to police.

"The School has sought to better understand its past, so that we can help those students who were harmed," the report said.

The St. George's School, which taught children between the ages of 13 and 18, expressed regret in the report that some of its students appear to have been harmed.

"It is evident that school failed on several occasions to fulfill its legal reporting requirements to the authorities," the report said. "The school could have done more to keep its students safe."

The investigation cited at least 26 students who were abused. Of all the six accused perpetrators, the report identified just one -- an athletic trainer at the school -- who was fired by the school in 1980 and died in 1996.


The report says he was fired by the school due to "inappropriate activity" that was reported by a boy who claimed he saw the man taking pictures of a naked female student.

The school decided to launch its investigation last year to conform to improved standards, statements by some alumni that a probe was warranted, and new information discovered by the school's present administration that suggested the scope of abuse was larger than previously thought.

"We wanted to know all we could about the past and what had happened, so that we could help," the report said.

"Based on credible statements and documents provided by witnesses who were at the School in the 1970s and 1980s, the investigation has received twenty-six credible first-hand accounts (as well as other corroborating evidence) strongly suggesting that ... former employees of the School engaged in sexual misconduct," it continued.

The report also said investigators received first-hand accounts that three former students also committed acts of sexual misconduct against three other students.

The school's report also included an apology to the students who were abused there and outlined steps it was taking to offer support.

"To all victims, we are truly, deeply sorry for the harm done to you by former employees or former students of the School," it said. "We are heartbroken for you and for the pain and suffering that you have endured. We pledge to do all we can to support you in your efforts to heal, if you want or need our support.


"The School underscores its regret, sorrow, and shame that students in our care were hurt. We commit ourselves to taking responsibility, to healing those wounds, and to making every effort to mend the fabric of the St. George's community."

Latest Headlines