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NY DAILY NEWS: Top Horace Mann Officials Apologize to Abuse Victims for the First Time

posted by HM Action at 2013-05-25 20:19:00

Top Horace Mann officials apologize to abuse victims for the first time

 

The elite Bronx institution issued a mea culpa on its website Friday,

offering an apology 'for the harm that was caused by teachers and

administrators who abused anyone during their years at Horace Mann.'

Some victims, however, slammed the apology as too little too late.

 

BY MICHAEL O'KEEFFE AND BILL HUTCHINSON / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


Officials at Horace Mann School in the Bronx issued a letter of

apology on its website to former students who were abused by teachers.


Top officials at Horace Mann School apologized for the first time

Friday to former students who were sexually abused by teachers over

the past five decades.

But the school refused to launch an independent investigation of the

abuse, prompting outrage from victims who requested one.

The mea culpa was issued on the website of the elite Bronx institution

Friday afternoon, the start of the Memorial Day weekend, by board of

trustees chairman Steven Friedman and head of school Thomas Kelly.


“We sincerely apologize for the harm that was caused by the teachers

and administrators who abused anyone during their years at Horace Mann

School,” Friedman and Kelly said in in a letter.

“These unconscionable betrayals of trust never should have happened,”

the officials wrote. “But they did, and now we, as a school, must

fully accept this reality.” The letter revealed that undisclosed

settlements have been reached with 31 of the victims, who were abused

17 to 51 years ago.

Friedman and Kelly also said the positions of trustee emeritus will be

eliminated by June 30, meaning trustees on the board at the time of

the coverup are being booted.

The school vowed to create an advisory board on student safety to

review policies and training on sexual abuse and how to prevent it.

The advisory group would include at least one survivor of sexual abuse

at the school and representative of the Bronx District Attorney’s

office.

But victims said the atonement was long overdue and failed to address

why administrators covered up the abuse, ignored complaints and

intimidated victims for coming forward.

“Where in the letter do they acknowledge any role on the part of the

school?” asked Peter Brooks of the Horace Mann Action Coalition, a

group formed by alumni to support abuse victims.

Brooks said it was a “flat-out lie” for Friedman and Kelly to say in

their letter that the school was first confronted by allegations of

sexual abuse after The New York Times Magazine reported on it in June

2012.

"It is most naïve to say that we learned about this in June 2012," Brooks said.

The Horace Man Survivors’ Group issued a statement questioning the

sincerity of the school’s apology.

“The school has apologized, but the quality of that apology is

undermined if the trustees do not want to know fully the extent and

nature of the problem for which the school is apologizing,” the

group’s statement reads.

“The school’s letter still uses the word ‘alleged,’ but it does go on

to acknowledge unspecified 'abuse.’”



posted at: 2013-05-25 20:19:00, last updated: 2013-05-25 20:22:02



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