Take Responsibility for the Sexual Abuse of Children at ASIJ
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Recent allegations of sexual abuse and concealment within the prestigious and internationally recognized American School in Japan (ASIJ) have distressed many, both inside and outside of the ASIJ Community.
At least thirteen ASIJ alumni have come forward to speak out about the rape, sodomy, and extensive sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Jack Moyer, a faculty member, affiliate and teacher at ASIJ from 1963 – 2000. In some cases, the abuse began when the victims were only 11- and 12-year old children; in other cases, the abuse spanned across years of their lives.
Some of the victims and their parents reported Moyer’s sexual assaults to ASIJ administrators in the 1970s and 1980s, while they were being abused. They were informed that something would be done to protect then-current and future students from suffering as they had. Others did not understand what happened to them, or were too humiliated and ashamed to come forward. Each of the victims believed they were the only one.
Unbeknownst to the victims, however, ASIJ learned of Jack Moyer’s inappropriate behavior with young female students as early as 1968 – years before any of these thirteen women were abused. In the decades that followed, ASIJ received more than four dozen reports of Moyer’s sexual misconduct, molestation and abuse of female students. ASIJ leaders concealed their knowledge of Moyer’s sexual abuse for more than forty years.
Even after repeated warnings, the school failed to remove Moyer, inform parents and faculty, or otherwise take steps to safeguard ASIJ students. Had the school done something to protect the students in its care, many – if not all – of these thirteen women would have been spared the trauma and psychological scarring that they must carry with them for the remainder of their lives.
In March of 2014, the school issued a “community announcement” stating that it had only recently discovered Moyer’s sexual abuse of young students. It was only then that these victims began to realize the true extent of Moyer’s abuse, and the school’s complicity in that abuse. The alumni rose up and demanded an independent investigation into this dark chapter of the school’s history. In June of 2014, the school acceded to these demands, and commissioned a Boston law firm to conduct an investigation and issue a report by fall of 2014. After receiving the report, the Board would review it and then release a “summary” to the ASIJ Community.
Fall came and went. Winter passed without word. In the spring of 2015, after nearly 10 months without an update, the alumni again rallied on behalf of the victims and demanded to know the status of the investigation. The Board responded in April 2015, stating only that the investigation was not yet complete and implying that the victims were somehow at fault for the delay.
Now, nearly one year later, no report has been issued. Although the school agreed to mediate with the victims in December of 2014, no resolution has been reached.
Instead, the school has chosen to respond by moving to protect their institutional structure rather than the past, present and future students entrusted to its care. Rather than acknowledging the pain of these long-silenced survivors, the school continues to avoid accountability and deny responsibility for its part in their abuse.
ASIJ claims that its mission is to “Develop Compassionate, Inquisitive Learners Prepared for Global Responsibility.” It touts its core values as honesty, integrity and community, and states that it places the needs and development of its students above all else.
By signing this petition, we demand that ASIJ demonstrate its commitment to its stated core values in the following ways:
(1) Embrace “honesty,” “integrity,” and “community” by publishing the complete final report of its independent investigation by July 1, 2015;
(2) Exercise “compassion” and “global responsibility” by putting an end to the victim-blaming and excuses, effecting responsible policies to protect students in its care, and offering fair compensation to the victims of Jack Moyer's abuse; and
(3) Honor the lives of past, present, and future children above that of institutional glory by acknowledging prior failings and making a full public apology for the role the school played in enabling and concealing Jack Moyer’s abuse.
It is not too late for ASIJ to do the right thing. But ASIJ must first face the truth of its own teachings. The silence and denial must end, for only then can the victims, the ASIJ community, and the school’s reputation itself begin to heal.
Please sign this petition, stand with survivors, and send the message that ASIJ must do the right thing.
For more information, visit the ASIJ Survivors website.
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