30 sex abuse claims at elite US school to be settled

2016-08-03 23:03
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Providence - An elite US school, St George, on Wednesday agreed to a settlement over sexual abuse allegations that would provide compensation for up to 30 former students.

The Middletown school announced the pact in a joint statement with a group representing sex abuse victims, saying the institution would provide an undisclosed sum to settle the claims. Paul Finn, a mediator who also worked on the clergy sex abuse settlement in Boston, will determine how much each person will receive.

Katie Wales Lovkay told the headmaster in 1979 that an athletic trainer abused her, but he sent her to the school therapist and did not report it to authorities. A week before her 1980 graduation, she was expelled.

"This was never about the money. This was about being heard and St George's realised that what they have done to us in the past is completely wrong," Lovkay said. "It's nice to know it's done...it's over."

Validation and support

Dozens of people have come forward to say they were abused by teachers and staff at the school as far back as the 1970s and as recently as the 2000s.

The school itself acknowledged it did not report the abuse to authorities. In some cases, administrators did not believe the reports of abuse. In others, staffers accused of abuse were forced out but went on to teaching positions in other schools.

A state police investigation concluded earlier this year with no criminal charges.

Anne Scott, who leads the victims' group SGS for Healing and who attended the mediation, said she was grateful to the board of trustees.

"St George's has done something meaningful and important for survivors," she said in a news release.

"It's hard to put into words what it feels like to receive this kind of validation and support after all these years. Our spirits are renewed on our forward healing journey."

St George's was founded in 1896 and counts among its graduates poet Ogden Nash, former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and former Republican Connecticut US Senator Prescott Bush, the father and grandfather of the Bush presidents.
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