DEERFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/AP) — Officials at a prestigious New England private school say their investigation into a former student’s recent allegation of sexual contact in the 1980s by a popular math teacher leaves “no question” that the former teacher engaged in sexual activity with the student.
Deerfield Academy posted its findings on its website Saturday, apologizing to the ex-student and saying the school administration in the 1980s and early 2000s should have been more aggressive in looking into allegations of inappropriate behavior by a teacher.
The ex-teacher, 78-year-old Peter Hindle, told the Associated Press Saturday he would have no comment. He previously said he had given several students back rubs over the years.
Also in the school’s report, administrators discussed that during the course of their investigation, allegations surrounding another former faculty member began to surface.
“We recently received and investigated reports from two unrelated student victims alleging that Bryce Lambert, who retired in 1990 and is now deceased, had inappropriate sexual contact with them during his tenure. The alleged incidents were separated by several years and were consistent regarding the nature of the conduct. Mr. Lambert is unable to defend himself, but there is sufficient evidence to name him,” Board of Trustees President Philip Greer and Head of School Margarita Curtis write jointly in the report.
In response to Saturday’s developments, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan released this statement:
“We appreciate the investigation conducted by Deerfield Academy into the allegations of past abuse by faculty members. We commend Deerfield Academy’s apology public apology to victims and commitment to take all necessary steps in preventing any future child abuse.
We hope this investigative report and candid acknowledgement of responsibility by Deerfield Academy helps these victims of abuse fully heal. The courage of these and other victims to come forward in reporting abuse is critical to ending child sexual abuse and holding offenders and institutions accountable.
No matter what decade or era, it has never been excusable for Deerfield Academy, or any other school, church, or youth organization to turn a blind eye to signs and reports of child sexual abuse. It is essential that all victims of sexual and physical abuse be supported in reporting their abuse and seeking justice.
Our District Attorney’s office is ready to help any victims of abuse at Deerfield Academy access our victim services and seek justice. We intend to independently investigate whether these abuse allegations were criminal in nature and, if so, whether or not the statute of limitations or other factors would preclude criminal prosecution.
It is timely that the Deerfield Academy report marks the start of National Child Abuse Awareness Month. As our District Attorney office and child advocacy groups around the country raise flags in April for child abuse awareness, it is important to remember these victims and thousands of others who suffer in silence at the hands of trusted adults. Ending child abuse takes more than a village, it take a nation of caring and committed citizens.”
Greer and Curtis note that the school is now taking action following these investigations. They say that the school is “in the process of reviewing and enhancing our policies regarding sexual misconduct and sexual harassment,” which will be posted when they are available on the school’s website.
The Board of Trustees, according to Greer and Curtis, has also decided to rename Peter G. Hindle ’52 Schoolmaster’s Chair, remove his name from the school’s squash facility, and ban him from attending events on campus.
With regards to Lambert, the board will remove his name from a fund and fellowship named after him.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.