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Seiger Abuse Reveals HM Headmaster and Pedophiles In Collusion

June 19, 2014

Here is the post I have promised for the last few days.

I would like to start by thanking the many kind and caring people who have responded to my earlier post, both here and in private, about my experience that first night with Mr. Clark and Mr. Kops. Your support and kindness goes a long way to help make the pain and memories manageable.

One thing that struck me greatly in many of your responses was that while many people knew there was some abuse, this was the first they knew of the LEVEL and type of abuse. Several people wrote that they vaguely envisioned some “groping or forced touching” but didn’t realize the intense force and pain and horror of much of what went on at HM. Sharing what I did about that one experience at HM was indeed painful to write and post, but if it helped educate and open eyes as to the exact nature of what happened at HM, then it was worth it.

One other aspect of my abuse at HM, which I realize is equally unknown by the greater majority of the HM community (mainly because the school has spent so much money, energy, and time making SURE no on knows) is that is was not, as the school would have you believe “just a few rogue predators acting alone under the radar,” such as what happened at some other schools. NO. What happened at HM, or at least some of it, my abuse included, involved a GROUP of HM teachers who were in collusion, and acted together. Once a child was singled out and abused by one of these predators, he was passed on to the next. Why should the second predator have to search out a victim himself, when a friendly co-predator could just pass him his next victim?

Again, it is uncomfortable to me now, at this very minute, to think about what I am going to share next. My hands are shaking, and I feel literally nauseous. But people do need to know what happened at our school. And if I don’t share this kind of thing, I fear no one will, and people need to know.

As those who read my post last week know, Mr. Clark invited me to his house after school to “get to know one of our promising musical students better.” This of course led to he and Mr. Kops getting me drunk, hiring two male prostitutes rape me violently, and then joining in the assault themselves.

To take one step backwards, to a few days BEFORE Mr. Clark had a note sent to class to have me come to his office, where he invited me to his house after school that coming Friday, and that 4-way rape happened...... after a concert in the HM auditorium, Johannes Somary went out of his way to introduce Mr. Clark to me. At that point Johannes had only started laying the seeds of abusing me.... touching me on the shoulder, neck, hands, and back way too long, with his hand caressing as he spoke to me. Or running his fingers through my hair as he spoke to me.
He didn’t introduce anyone else to Mr. Clark that day, none of the very talented 17 and 18 year old seniors who had performed excellently during the concert. Only 14 year old me. And he introduced him to me on the sidelines, away from others' earshot. Even at that moment I felt it was a private thing, an invitation into a secret special thing, but of course I thought it was a positive special thing, as a naïve 14 year old I interpreted myself as being lucky to be given that special entre into being complemented by “Maestro” Somary, and catching the attention of HM's headmaster.

If only I had known.

I have run over that 2-minute long introduction by Johannes of me and Clark a thousand times, many of those times recent, and there is NO doubt in my mind, based on body language, spoken words, the secrecy of the introduction, the lowered voices used, the facial expressions, etc. that Johannes was very clearly telling Clark, “this is a vulnerable boy, I've all but “gotten” him myself, and I will, and I think you would enjoy spending some time with him. This was proven to be true by what I will share next.

A few days after the Friday night of the rape at Clark's house, the very next time I saw Johannes, he put his hands on my shoulders, disgustingly massaging and caressing me as he spoke, and said.... “ I heard about the great time you had the other night with Mr. Clark and Mr. Kops. I'm glad you are getting to know them so well.” At the time, my head spun, and it was all I could do not to throw up on the spot, both from his touching, the knowledge that my horrible experience was now being shared and told to others, and the smile of pleasure on his face. I feel sick even now, thinking about it.

It was only a few days more before Johannes' advances to me increased, forcing french kissing on me, then groping outside my pants, then inside, then more and more and more, which continued for years.
I don’t want to interrupt my main thread here, but I need to share that within a few weeks of my initial rape by Clark and Kops and the prostitutes/hustlers, I ran into one of the hustlers on the street while going to get pizza. His name was Michael. I became his friend, and he looked out for me on the streets, being older than I, as kind of an older brother. I mention all of this for one reason..... Michael shared with me at later dates that he and other hustlers he knew had been back to Clark's house for other “Horace Mann parties” and that I was not the only boy who had experiences like mine with Clark and Kops.

So you see, Johannes identified me as a vulnerable and abusable boy, tested the waters himself, introduced and “gave” me to Clark, and then heard all about it from Clark. And then of course let me know that he knew all about it, and then abused me more himself.

We know that Clark and Johannes knew each other at Yale, I have even heard that they were roommates there (although I haven’t had anyone confirm the validity of that so far).
So there was clear proof that Clark and Somary acted in collusion, together, to use and share me.  
If that wasn’t bad enough, it doesn’t stop there.

I was taking private piano lessons away from HM, and Johannes told me (once again groping me as he spoke to me in his office), that he thought I would benefit more from studying with the highly acclaimed Harris Goldsmith right here at HM. Goldsmith (who died about a month ago) was my piano teacher at HM. He abused me at every weekly lesson (from about the 3rd or 4th lesson on) for almost three years. He would make me play my assigned musical selections while undoing my pants and masturbating me. And after each and every lesson I had to go to the boys room and throw up. And hate myself just a little more each week.

I had to just take a break from writing this to throw up now, that’s how powerful and still painful the memory and damage from this is.

Johannes and Goldsmith were both considered “maestros” in NYC classical musical circles, Johannes hired Goldsmith at HM, and they were friends. Johannes arranged for me to study with Goldsmith, determining he was better for my musical development without ever asking, checking or knowing who I was studying with in private. He didn’t care. He clearly said what was necessary to share me with Goldsmith the way he had shared me with Kops.
If this wasn’t enough, Johannes was close friends with Barry Siebelt, a theatre teacher at HM when I was there. Barry kept me after a dress rehearsal, saying untruthfully that I had done a terrible job, and promising to drive me home if it got late. At about 9 pm, he announced we were done, but said it was too late to drive me home, called my mother to get permission for me to stay at his house. And took me there. He gave me a few drinks, and then I found out I was supposed to sleep in the same bed with him. He asked if I wanted to have sex. I said no. He asked again. I said no again. Then he grabbed me from behind, with his arm tightly around my neck choking me and said, “this IS going to happen, so just relax and it wont hurt so much,” and raped me.

Definitely another “share” from Johannes, proven by his saying to me in the hallway that he had heard from Barry that I had done much better at our “private rehearsal” after the dress rehearsal.

On a slightly different, but obviously connected topic, one that involves blackmail and intimidation rather than direct collusion and passing a boy like me around...... Kops made me go with him and a friend of his (who was not a teacher at HM) to the friend's apartment, at age 14, and forced me to undress and masturbate for them, while they took pictures.

Kops called me to his classroom a few weeks later, showed me the pictures, and threatened that if I ever mentioned anything to anyone about what happened that first night with Clark and him and the male prostitutes that everyone at school, and everyone I knew would see the pictures they took of me.

Someone knocked on his classroom door, he bolted to the door to stop them from coming in, and he got rid of them quickly through a tiny crack he opened in the door, not wanting them to see the pictures on his desk. In that short period I snatched one of the pictures and have it to this day. And even though Kops and his friend constantly kept telling me to smile as they took the pictures, when I can occasionally bring myself to even look at the picture I see the saddest eyes on that boy in the picture. It’s hard even now to reconcile that this boy is me.

So, I think you can all see, the situation at HM was NOT a few rogue abusers acting alone. At least a good portion of the abuse was done with planning between two or more abusers, and that boys, like myself, were passed around their little group. And blackmailed and threatened and scared on top of it, as if being abused wasn’t enough. Somary shared me with Clark and Goldsmith and Siebelt. Clark shared his experiences with me with Johannes, Clark shared me with Kops, and Kops shared me with his friend.

I did share some of my situations with another classmate at the time after she let me know she could sense and see some of what was going on with me, and her support was pretty much one of the only things that kept me from cutting my wrists, but as a child herself at the time, and dealing with her own problems, she was unable to do more but be there for me as much as she could.

I'm feeling pretty small, low, sad and nauseous after writing all that, but as I stated at the beginning, people do need to know. And the school has done all in their power to make sure that people DONT know. Which is just one more added layer of pain, that even now they cant do the right thing(s).

--Jon Seiger

RIVERDALE PRESS: What's in a name?

What’s in a name? Anguish, for some Horace Mann alumni

By Maya Rajamani Posted 6/18/14

Many Horace Mann graduates who received the school’s alumni magazine in the mail last week were shocked to discover a “Save the Date” for Homecoming within its pages that referred to the school’s main athletic field by its former name, “Clark Field.” 

The school removed the name from the field two years ago, after allegations of sexual abuse arose against the late R. Inslee Clark Jr., a former Horace Mann head of school who has also been accused of covering up abuse by other teachers during his tenure as headmaster and then president at the school between 1971 and 1981. 

Joseph Cummings, a 1977 graduate and survivor of abuse, said he was traumatized when he saw Mr. Clark’s name on the invitation. 

It brought back all of those memories and all of that pain for me,” said Mr. Cummings, who has spoken out on behalf of Horace Mann abuse survivors in the past. “The pain came rushing back of my own experiences of being abused — not directly by Clark himself, but by people whom Clark was in league with.”  

Horace Mann became embroiled in scandal after the New York Times Magazinepublished a lengthy exposé written by class of 1982 graduate Amos Kamil in June 2012. The piece detailed abuse by Horace Mann staff that began at the prep school in the 1960s and continued into the 1990s. 

The revelations spurred the creation of the Horace Mann Action Coalition (HMAC), a group of Horace Mann graduates whose mission is to support survivors of abuse at the school. The group has called on the school to conduct an independent investigation of abuse that occurred over the decades. 

HMAC member Peter Brooks said that since 2012, 63 victims of abuse have been identified. Meanwhile, 22 alleged abusers have been named.  

John Seiger — a 1979 graduate who has spoken out about being raped by Mr. Clark and seven other individuals at the school during his time there —said he believes the school has set up a climate that allows the name of an abuser to go unnoticed.  

If they had not done everything in their power to keep the parents, students and alumni from finding out, everybody would know about it,” said Mr. Seiger. “There would be nobody from the highest administrator to a teacher… to a janitor who wouldn’t see the name ‘Clark’ and say, ‘We can’t print this.’”

Fundamental issue

Another survivor of abuse at the school who asked to remain anonymous said that while he was not a Clark victim, he felt the mistake highlighted a fundamental problem with the school’s response to the issue. 

They removed Clark’s name from the field in 2012, but they never gave a coherent reason why,” he said. “They’ve never stated what they know about what happened in the administrative involvement in a way that would bring people together.”

By the morning of June 13, the school had issued a correction and apology on its website, after gradutes took to a Horace Mann Facebook page and other outlets to express their outrage. Many contacted the school for an explanation. 

Mistaken template

In her statement, Horace Mann Magazine Editor Ruth Seligman said the error resulted after the publication used a template from its spring 2012 issue that included the name “Clark Field,” published shortly before revelations of the abuse came to light. This year’s magazine is the first published since the allegations surfaced in 2012 — a conscious decision by the school allowing the community “to absorb and respond to the revelations of abuse,” Ms. Seligman wrote. 

I deeply regret this error, which was in no means meant to show insensitivity to the victims from Horace Mann School’s earlier years,” she added. “To the entire HM community, please be assured that these words will not appear in print again, as they do not currently appear anywhere throughout the HM campus.”

In a phone call with the Press, current head of school Thomas Kelly said Ms. Seligman’s letter would be the extent of the school’s comment on the error. 

Published apology

But after the school published the apology to its website, Mr. Seiger said he spoke with Mr. Kelly and convinced him to not only post the correction to the website and send out an e-mail correction to alums, but also mail a print version of the correction, along with a letter, to the approximately 3,000 people who received the magazine. 

Mr. Seiger said he was satisfied with both Ms. Seligman and Mr. Kelly’s response to the error. 

I think the fact that they instantly did something we asked them to is a great thing. That’s not how the school has responded before,” he said. “I personally see that as a pretty big victory.” 

He acknowledged that the correction did not mollify everyone upset by the error. Graduate Christina Propst of the class of 1987 called the correction an apology “of sorts.”

The events of this week represent yet another callous and hurtful demonstration of the current Horace Mann School administration’s inept handling of this sensitive and painful chapter in the school’s history,” she said. 

Mr. Brooks said that while he appreciated the school’s “step forward,” he felt Horace Mann needed to shed more light on the reasoning behind the correction.

The school seems to agree that Clark was an abuser whose name shouldn’t be used but has left most people in the dark as to why,” he said. 
 Meanwhile Robert Boynton, a 1981 graduate and HMAC member, felt the correction was not a substitute for an investigation or detailed statement by the school. 

Note that the apology gives no hint of WHY Clark’s name was removed, nor of what happened during those ‘earlier years,’” he said in an e-mail. 

Until Horace Mann investigates the sexual abuse that ran rampant throughout those ‘earlier years,’ misunderstandings like this will continue to occur.”,54504


Seiger Responds to HM's invitation to "Barbecue Luncheon on Clark Field"

Alumni and survivors were shocked when the school included the name of a former headmaster who sexually abused a child in its Homecoming invitations, despite the fact that the field was renamed two years ago. Jon Seiger replies below and has our admiration for his courage and strength:

NY DAILY NEWS: HM Still Doesn't Understand the Horrors of Sexual Abuse

Horace Mann still doesn't understand the horrors of sexual abuse, angry alumni say BY Michael O'keeffe
Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 5:28 PM
When it comes to sexual abuse, Horace Mann administrators still don’t get it, angry alumni say.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Years of Abuse at Brooklyn School Alleged

Years Of Abuse At Brooklyn School Alleged
Nearly a Dozen Women Say a Former Teacher at Now- Closed Woodward School Sexually Abused a Succession of Girls

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