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Brunswick School Investigates Sex Abuse Allegation [UPDATE]

The school says it has contacted local and state authorities and hired a private investigation firm following allegations that a former student was sexually abused by a former teacher.

 

Updated 12:50 p.m., Feb. 13:

A Brunswick School official said the school has contacted local and state law enforcement agencies to investigate a former student’s allegations that he was sexually abused by a former faculty member.

Brunswick spokesman Dan Griffin said the allegations were made within the last 10 days. He said he would not comment on the particulars of the allegations. “We are not commenting on the particulars because there (may be) an ongoing future law enforcement investigation."

He said Greenwich Police were contacted by the school. Greenwich Police could not be reached for comment.

Specifically, Griffin would not comment on:

  • exactly when the alleged abuse occurred,
  • the location or town where the alleged abuse occurred,
  • the age of the student at the time,
  • whether the alleged victim was a student of the former teacher,
  • the current age or hometown of the former student,
  • whether the student graduated from Brunswick.

Griffin also said, “The teacher left approximately 30 years to pursue  another  career. Beyond that we do not comment on HR matters.“ He said that the teacher left voluntarily.

"We are not going to comment to compromise the privacy or the identity of the accuser or the teacher," Griffin added.

“We take this allegation very, very seriously and are doing our very best to make sure the matter is investigated,” Griffin said. The school has hired the New York City-based investigation firm of Kroll Associates.

It also has retained the law firm of Day, Pitney. Griffin said the school is not facing any legal action regarding the allegations.

 

Original story:

Brunswick School, the private boys school in Greenwich, is investigating an allegation that a former middle school student was sexually abused by a faculty member in the early 1980s.

In a notice posted on the school's website Feb. 12, Headmaster Tom Philip and Board Chair Sanjeev Mehra wrote "Several days ago, a Brunswick Alumnus informed the school that he had been the victim of inappropriate sexual contact as a middle school student in the early 1980s by a person who was then a member of the Brunswick School Faculty."

According to the notice, "The Alumnus made it clear that this alleged abuse did not occur at the school, yet because the matter involves one of our former students and one of our former Faculty members, we feel that it is important to bring this to your attention."

A message seeking comment was left Wednesday morning with Dan Griffin, Brunswick's director of institutional communications.

The notice (full notice is below) does not give any indication as to whether the abuse occurred in Greenwich, specifically when, or the circumstances under which the faculty member left the school.

However, administrators wrote, "While the former Faculty member accused of this act left the school almost 30 years ago, we have taken immediate steps to alert law enforcement of the accusation that has been brought to our attention. In addition, we have engaged the investigation agency, Kroll Associates, as well as the independent law firm, Day Pitney, to conduct a thorough and independent inquiry on behalf of Brunswick School."

A message was left with Greenwich Police Wednesday morning.

The school apparently has prepared itself to deal with other allegations. "... any person who might have engaged in such behavior, may have done so with other victims still unknown to us." The school has arranged for other victims to contact its director of parent and student counseling services, according to the notice.

Notice posted Feb. 12, 2013:

February 12, 2013

To Members of the Brunswick Community,

Brunswick School has always sought to practice and provide all that is good in the education and nurture of young men. Sadly however, we have learned that our aspiration may have failed at least one boy who once made Brunswick his home.

It therefore falls to us to share with you information of a deeply disturbing nature. Several days ago, a Brunswick Alumnus informed the school that he had been the victim of inappropriate sexual contact as a middle school student in the early 1980s by a person who was then a member of the Brunswick School Faculty.

The Alumnus made it clear that this alleged abuse did not occur at the school, yet because the matter involves one of our former students and one of our former Faculty members, we feel that it is important to bring this to your attention.

The Alumnus who came forward evidenced both the pain he has sustained for so long as well as great courage and resolve in making the decision to bring this to our attention.

We are deeply grateful that he has shared his story with us and pained that anything or anyone associated with the school may have resulted in such a terrible act.

While the former Faculty member accused of this act left the school almost 30 years ago, we have taken immediate steps to alert law enforcement of the accusation that has been brought to our attention.

In addition, we have engaged the investigation agency, Kroll Associates, as well as the independent law firm, Day Pitney, to conduct a thorough and independent inquiry on behalf of Brunswick School.

We want to remind and reassure all current members of our school community that several years ago, Brunswick School took several important steps to protect our current students from such potential threats.

Protections such as detailed and extensive Faculty and Staff training procedures including annual training by the state of Connecticut Department of Children and Families legal counsel, regular background checks for Faculty and Staff and a clearly articulated mandatory reporting process are all in place to help avoid any possibility of such abuse threatening any students at our school today.

These measures underscore that foremost among the principles guiding the school is concern for the safety and well-being of our students.

We commit to you, without reservation, that we will always do everything in our power, to protect these boys who have been entrusted to our care.

Finally, one cannot absorb the gravity of these accusations without harboring the fear that any person who might have engaged in such behavior, may have done so with other victims still unknown to us.

To that end, if any former Brunswick student was the victim of abuse, we are ready and willing to serve as a resource and support. Should you wish to do so, we ask that you contact Leslie Andersen, Director of Parent and Student Counseling Services, at any time to share your concerns. Her email is LAndersen@brunswickschool.org. She can also be reached through the school switchboard at 203.625.5800 x 7033. Also, if you have any information whatsoever that you feel may aid our inquiry, please contact us at TPhilip@brunswickschool.org.

Our goal is to deal with this information and associated issues in a timely, transparent and forthright manner.

We are resolute in our overriding commitment to protect every child in our care now and in the future and ready and willing to serve as a resource and support to anyone who may have fallen prey to a predator in the past.

Thomas W. Philip
Headmaster

Sanjeev Mehra
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Brunswick School was founded in 1902 and has more than 900 students on three campuses; with the upper school campus on Maher Avenue in central Greenwich, and its lower and middle schools on King Street, and a pre-school on Maple Avenue, with annual tuition starting at $27,300.

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