Two former faculty members allegedly sexually abused Phillips Academy students: report - Metro US

Two former faculty members allegedly sexually abused Phillips Academy students: report

Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

An investigation into Phillips Academy, an elite Massachusetts prep school, identified past sexual misconduct of students by two former faculty members.

The report, released Monday, was the second for the Andover co-ed boarding school after the administration reached out to a law office in April 2016 to investigate concerns.

John Palfrey, the academy’s head of school, has identified two former faculty members believed to have engaged in sexual misconduct with students, according to the independent investigators: Brian Davidson and Frederic Lyman.

Lyman had also been named in another sexual abuse report from this past April that looked into Choate Rosemary Hall, an elite Connecticut prep school, and has also been accused of misconduct at two other schools.

This report from Phillips indicates it was the fourth school at which Lyman has taught during his career and also the fourth school at which he has reportedly sexually abused students.

Lyman is accused of at least one instance of “unwanted intimate touching” with a Phillips Academy student during a school-sponsored activity and also of an “attempt at intimacy” with another student in the 1970s, according to the report.

Davidson allegedly “engaged in sexual intercourse” with a female student in the 1970s, the investigation determined.

Both Davidson and Lyman chose not to particpate in the investigation. 

The report also found another instance of a former faculty member engaged in sexual misconduct with a student, though it did not name that faculty member, as well as one case of a former student sexually abusing another student.

This is in addition to the five cases of sexual misconduct between teachers and students identified in the August 2016 report. Both reports were conducted by Sanghavi Law Office.

Dozens of individuals came forward to voice their concerns of possible misconduct. Sixteen allegations were fully investigated; the investigation found support for nine of those cases, which involved eight perpetrators.

During the investigation, two themes emerged, according to the report. First, that those interviewed believed the “power imbalance” between teachers and students at the academy “created opportunities for misconduct.”

Second, that students often felt reluctant to report the misconduct to the school because of a lack of “clear pathways for reporting” and little confidence of the outcome.

In a letter to the school community, Palfrey and Board of Trustees President Peter Currie apologized to the students who were affected by these incidents.

“As we’ve sought to understand and ultimately learn from these most troubling moments in our school’s history, we remain grateful to all who have shared information. Each person who has come forward has shown tremendous courage,” they wrote.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we extend our deepest apologies to these individuals and to all others who have been affected by any form of sexual misconduct at Andover,” the letter continues. “These transgressions must never occur again.”

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