Saint Ann’s School, an elite private school in Brooklyn, began a formal investigation into allegations of “inappropriate physical contact” between former staff members and students last year. In a Monday letter, the school stated that six male former faculty members were found to have engaged in “sexual misconduct or serious boundary violations” in the 1970s and late ‘90s.
BuzzFeed News reported in March 2018 that the school hired outside investigators to look into allegations against former employees. The school’s administrators reportedly wrote in an October 2017 letter to the school’s community that “reports that have recently come to our attention regarding inappropriate physical contact with students by past employees of the school.” They added that the reports dated back to the ‘90s and before, and that they “do not extend to any current administrators, faculty, staff or students.” In the March 2018 letter, the school reportedly also stated that the former head of Saint Ann’s middle school resigned after it was found he invited some students and alumni under the age of 21 “to his home, where alcohol and marijuana were consumed.”
The findings of the investigation were released in a letter to the Saint Ann’s community on Monday. The letter states that 19 former Saint Ann’s faculty and staff members were mentioned by witnesses; some reports were secondhand and “could not be differentiated from rumor and speculation,” while some were firsthand reports “that were credible but for which the investigators could not find corroborating evidence.” However, the investigators ultimately found that six male former faculty members engaged in inappropriate behavior.
The findings ranged from sexual contact with a female senior prior to graduation in the ‘90s and sexual intercourse with a high-school student in the ‘70s, to unwanted kissing of a female high-school student in the ‘80s and inappropriate physical contact with a middle-school student. One former faculty member was found to have engaged in inappropriate behavior and boundary crossing with a high-school and lower-school student in the ‘80s and ‘90s. That teacher resigned in the early 2000’s. The report notes that he is currently employed at another school, and that Saint Ann’s has informed the school of the allegations.
The allegations outlined in the findings had been ultimately reported to the late former Saint Ann’s headmaster Stanley Bosworth, who had also been accused of rubbing the leg of a female high-school student in the ‘90s. (The accusation, made on Facebook in 2017, was found to be credible but investigators were unable to corroborate her story). “We now know as a consequence of this investigation that teachers who violated the trust of children, parents, and colleagues were in several cases simply warned or informally admonished, in several instances leaving the children who were affected by their inappropriate behavior confused, angry, silenced, and isolated,” the statement states.
The letter, signed by headmaster Vincent Tompkins and board of trustees president Mino Capossela, states that anyone else with a report of misconduct is encouraged to come forward. “We know it is almost certain that the reports our investigators received do not represent the totality of past misconduct at Saint Ann’s — the courage required to come forward is extraordinary and too infrequently have our institutional actions provided a firm basis of trust between the school and those who were victims of misconduct,” the letter states.