Investigation finds ‘pattern’ of past abuse at New York school

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City investigators have uncovered a pattern of sexual abuse of children at the prestigious Horace Mann School between the 1960s and 1990s, but the complaints are now too old to prosecute under the statute of limitations, the Bronx District Attorney’s office said yesterday.

The district attorney’s office began an investigation of abuse allegations and set up a hotline last June following a New York Times Magazine article that accused some former teachers at the prep school in the Bronx of molesting and raping male students.

As a result, police and investigators interviewed 25 former students who said they had been sexually abused by school employees. At least 12 unnamed former school employees were accused of being involved in the abuse, Robert Johnson, the Bronx District Attorney, said in a statement.

“The interviews conducted by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD reveal a systemic pattern of alleged abuse beyond what was outlined in the original New York Times Magazine article,” Johnson said in his statement.

“The reported abuse ranges from what may be characterized as inappropriate behavior to child endangerment, actual instances of sexual contact, sexual intercourse and criminal sexual acts,” he added.

The instances of alleged sexual abuse occurred between 1962 and 1996, with the majority of abuse reported to have happened in the 1970s, he said. There is evidence that some school officials during this period were aware of the abuse but did not report it to the police, he said.

Current New York state law in most cases gives victims of child sex abuse only until they are 23 years old to make a complaint.

The school did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. In a letter to past and present members of the school last August, the school’s board of trustees said they were “appalled and saddened” by the allegations.

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