Fair treatment for survivors of Pingry School child sexual abuse
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Alumni and allies demand fair treatment and just restitution for victims of child sexual abuse.
An independent investigation found “a pervasive problem of child sexual abuse" at the Pingry School throughout the 1970s. At least 27 students were abused by former teacher and assistant Lower School principal Thad Alton between 1972 and 1978. Bruce Bohrer, who taught woodshop between 1974 and 1991, reportedly sexually abused at least four students between 1978 and 1979. Antoine du Bourg, who at one point had a room and an annual concert at the school named after him, harassed and abused multiple students over the course of his 46 years at Pingry.
The school has acknowledged these cases and made available online the findings of this investigation.
However, as detailed in a December 4, 2017 New York Times piece by Elizabeth A. Harris, The Pingry School seems to be avoiding responsibility for the abuse of these former students.
Focusing on specific aspects of New Jersey’s statutes of limitation, the school and its insurance company are, in the words of one of the lawyers representing the survivors, “not going to offer much of anything on some cases, and Pingry was not going to make up the difference.”
By all appearances, the Pingry School is playing hardball with victims of child rape and sexual assault.
We the undersigned are appalled by this. We are sad for the victims. We are stunned and angry that a school with the means to offer fair and equal settlements balks at doing so. We are alumni, parents, and teachers who, while thankful for our time at Pingry, are nevertheless disappointed and upset by the moral hypocrisy of the school.
Pingry says it values “Excellence and Honor,” and the Honor Code is central to the daily life of the students. Pingry must live up to its motto; if indeed “greatest respect is due students,” then we demand that the school dedicate itself to ensuring that incidents like these can never be repeated. The Pingry School must acknowledge the ongoing nature of the profound suffering that began under its watch and within its walls. We demand fair treatment for this group of survivors.
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