An independent investigation conducted by a Connecticut boarding school revealed seven former faculty members reportedly sexually abused students for decades and the school administration did nothing.
The Hotchkiss School in Salisbury, Connecticut, – a co-education boarding school – conducted an investigation that showed at least 16 students were sexually abused by former male faculty members for years.
These victims underwent unwanted contact by the staffers. The inappropriate contacts reportedly included intercourse and unnecessary gynecological exams.
The incidents occurred between 1969 and 1992 and it was also revealed authorities were notified of the alleged sexual misconduct but they failed to take any action.
The revelations in the report were made by internal law firm Lock Lord. The firm interviewed more than 150 people and reviewed about 200,000 pages of documents.
“Members of the Hotchkiss administration were aware of at least some of the instances of sexual misconduct at the time it was occurring. What emerges from our investigation is a series of missed opportunities stemming from cultural deficiencies around prioritizing student safety,” the report said.
Seven women said they were sexually abused by classics teacher from 1964 to 1992 Leif Thorne-Thomsen multiple times.
One former student reportedly told Thorne-Thomsen that she was having issues with her father. He reportedly told the student, “I will be your father.”
The student’s parents found her in a hotel room with the staffer and informed school authorities. Initially, the teacher was placed on a paid leave but was later allowed to return to the school.
Another student said she was abused at the same time by Thorne-Thomsen and Christopher Carlisle, another teacher. Thorne-Thomsen was later fired in 1992 and the Carlisle committed suicide in 1982.
Dr. Peter Gott was the school’s medical director from 1972 to 2005. He reportedly conducted unnecessary gynecological exams on students. The victims went to the then headmaster Arthur White who just told Gott to appoint a female nurse in the clinic and took no action against him.
The incidents undoubtedly left the women shaken.
“One of my clients was his victim and she fell into a complete depression despite her incredible brilliance and talent as a writer. She now spends most of her time in menial jobs working paycheck to paycheck,” said Roderick MacLeish, a lawyer representing victims.
He added, “I have no doubt that this report just contains a small sampling of both victims and perpetrators.”
After the investigation ended, the school released a community letter and said the school’s Board of Trustees has informed the law enforcement authorities and has stripped them off any public recognition. In addition they were also banned from the campus.
The letter added the school authorities have removed names of former staffers from any prizes and scholarships who failed to act upon the sexual misconduct.
Moreover, their portraits were also removed from the campus.
Arthur White, who served as the headmaster from 1983 to 1989, resigned from his post as the investigation was being conducted.
“To the survivors of abuse, we apologize from the bottom of our hearts. The School did not live up to its commitment to protect you. We apologize with humility — understanding that words cannot measure our sadness and regret or erase the harm that you endured,” wrote Jean Weinberg Rose, president of the school’s board of trustees, and Craig Bradley, the school’s current head, in the letter.
The letter added, “You were terribly hurt, and we can only hope to make amends by caring for you now and doing everything within our power to ensure that students now and in the future will be cared for and safe.”
Spotlight, Banner: Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images