Dozens Say They Were Sexually Abused While Attending Rhode Island School

by Sean Levinson
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Faculty members of a prestigious prep school are accused of sexually abusing dozens of students over a span of decades.

St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island costs $56,000 a year to attend and counts members of the Bush, Astor and Vanderbilt families as alumni, according to Yahoo! News.

Dozens of former students, however, claim they were raped or molested by staff members and fellow students.

In a report last month, St. George's admitted it failed to report the allegations to police and child welfare authorities for many years before contacting Rhode Island State Police for the first time in November 2015.

The allegations came to light in December when The Boston Globe reported Anne Scott was raped several times by athletic trainer Al Gibbs when she was 15 years old in the 1970s.

Scott sued St. George's in 1988 but dropped the case in 1989.

Scott's lawyer, Eric MacLeish, said at least 40 students were sexually abused, with the most recent case occurring in 2004.

Three teachers were fired for sexual abuse in the '70s and '80s, one of whom, Gibbs, reportedly abused at least 17 students before being fired and reported to child welfare authorities.

The other two teachers who were fired allegedly abused at least nine students combined but were not charged and even went on to work at other schools.

During Scott's court case, evidence surfaced tying Gibbs to the abuse of four other girls.

In 1978, one student was allegedly raped by an upperclassman who assaulted him with a broomstick in front of several students.

The rape was so well-known throughout the school, a caption in the yearbook next to a picture of the victim holding a hockey stick reportedly said,

It's better than a broomstick!

Three students came forward in 2004 to say a teacher touched them inappropriately. The teacher was placed on leave, but the school did not contact authorities.

Eric Peterson was named headmaster that same year, and he would reportedly go on to hear allegations of abuse in 2004, 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2015, only to apparently do nothing until November.

Prior to the November report to police, St. George's sent a letter to graduates, asking them to report any instances of sexual abuse.

Numerous former students called for Peterson to step down while others believe the whole board should do the same.

It isn't clear if an investigation was launched, but the Rhode Island State Police are currently exploring the idea of charging the alleged abusers.

Citations: Sex abuse scandal rocks exclusive New England prep school (Yahoo! News)