Four former Milton Academy employees engaged in "sexual misconduct" with students decades ago, the prestigious preparatory school announced in a letter to the community on Tuesday.
“Several decades ago this institution failed to protect some of the young people in its care,’’ wrote Todd Bland, head of school, and Lisa Donahue, president of the board of trustees. “On behalf of Milton Academy and its board of trustees, we want to acknowledge and deeply apologize for those failures.”
A 2016 Boston Globe article on sexual misconduct at private schools prompted an investigation into Milton Academy. T&M Protection Resources, a private security, intelligence and investigation company, then launched a fact-finding mission into Milton.
Located in Milton, Massachusetts, the academy is a co-ed kindergarten through 12th grade school.
T&M substantiated reports that four former employees engaged in sexual misconduct decades ago, including Rey Buono, a drama teacher who worked at Milton from 1973 to 1987. The letter states that the investigation substantiated reports of at least 12 male students, all minors at the time, who were abused by Buono.
The headmaster at that time, Jerry Pieh, was reported to have some knowledge of Buono's actions in 1982. Buono continued to work at Milton until he admitted to sexually abusing a student and was fired in 1987.
Of the other three faculty members mentioned in the report, all were male and in each case there was one victim, all female and all minors. Those incidents included lewd comments, sexual touching and intercourse, according to the letter.
Following the report, the school banned all former faculty members from campus and all Milton Academy events. Buono moved to Southeast Asia to work after he was fired, according to his LinkedIn profile, and Milton officials said they have notified immigration authorities and Buono's former employers.
"From our perspectives — one as a parent and educator, one as a Milton alumna — we are deeply saddened by the conclusions of this investigation," Bland and Donahue write. "We are profoundly sorry for this institution’s failure to protect against this harm."
Bland and Donahue write that Milton staff is "better prepared" today to identify sexual harassment or abuse than it was decades ago. Staff also must complete training and education sessions on sexual harassment, appropriate boundaries and mandated reporting each year.
"We are all acutely aware that abusive events occurring to children can cause significant and persisting damage," according to the report. "We must all work together, and hold ourselves collectively accountable, to prevent acts of sexual misconduct from happening; to care fully for individuals affected by it; and to respond to any allegations swiftly, thoroughly and responsibly."