New England Prep School Reveals Sex Abuse by Faculty

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An investigation into sexual misconduct at Phillips Academy in Andover found that five former teachers allegedly harmed students during the 1970s and 1980s, reports the Boston Globe. Head of School John Palfrey disclosed the findings of “former faculty members engaged in sexual misconduct involving students,” in a letter published on the Phillips website. Three former faculty were identified: H. Schuyler Royce, who died in 1991; Alexander Theroux, a former writer-in-residence on campus; and Stephen Wicks. Two other former teachers were not named because the cases did not meet criteria the school set for identification, including “severity of the misconduct” and “multiple concerns of misconduct.”

Palfrey said the school hired a law firm to investigate allegations of misconduct and also asked alumni who had information about wrongdoing to come forward. Theroux, a well-known novelist, allegedly “engaged in sexual misconduct toward a student in the 1970s,” and investigators received multiple concerns about his behavior, but he has denied the allegations. The novelist has been banned from campus. The probe found Wicks engaged in sexual misconduct with a student in the 1980s, and he has been barred from campus and school events and stripped of his emeritus status. Investigators determined that Royce “engaged in multiple incidents of sexual misconduct toward a student in the 1980s,” Palfrey wrote, and the school became aware of additional concerns about his behavior during the review. The Phillips announcement came three months after a Globe Spotlight report detailed abuse at New England private schools over decades, with more than 200 victims and 90 legal claims involving about 70 schools.

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