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Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse

Following a nine-month investigation by a security consulting firm, school officials at Massachusetts’ prestigious Milton Academy recently confirmed a decades-long sexual abuse scandal. Four teachers are alleged to have molested several students over the years. The school’s theater program director from 1975 to 1987, Rey Buono is accused of abusing at least 12 boys. Buono was fired in 1987 after admitting to molesting a male student. According to the consulting firm, Milton Academy “had some knowledge of Rey Buono’s misconduct in 1982,” but he continued to work there for an additional five years.

More than 200 Victims

The investigation extends beyond Milton to other schools in New England. All in all, more than 200 victims have come forward, and at least 90 legal claims have been filed against at least 67 private schools in the region. In an official apology letter, Milton school officials wrote, “On behalf of Milton Academy and its board of trustees, we want to acknowledge and deeply apologize for those failures.” That letter was but one in a series of apology letters sent by dozens of private schools in the New England region. In fact, a recent investigation by the Boston Globe discovered sexual abuse allegations in more than 100 New England private schools in the past 25 years.

“Milton Academy’s leadership at that time failed to protect students and failed to investigate whether Rey Buono had abused other students during his tenure at the school,” said Todd Bland, the current head of school. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or harassment, a Boston sexual abuse attorney can help you determine how to proceed.

After losing his job in 1987 due to sexual abuse allegations, Buono moved to Southeast Asia in 1988 and has been working in a similar capacity – with children – ever since. According to a spokesperson for Milton Academy, immigration authorities have been contacted with the findings of the investigation. In addition to Buono, three other Milton employees are alleged to have sexually abused three female students. The claims range from lewd comments to sexual intercourse. Milton Academy has not identified the other male employees, but says that reports have been filed with “appropriate officials and law enforcement agencies.”

Sexual Abuse Can Have Lifelong Repercussions

Milton Academy’s current school leaders have acknowledged the detrimental impact that sexual abuse can have on an individual, saying that these victims “can live with the repercussions of those acts for years.” The school is responding by offering to pay for counseling services for victims. A MA sexual abuse lawyer can help you determine your rights and options if you were a victim of sexual abuse at Milton Academy or any other school. Continue reading

A 49-year-old woman will get a $1.1 million in her clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the late Rev. Thomas Shea. The plaintiff, Jane Doe 2, claims that the clergyman sexually assaulted her over 60 times. The settlement was reached with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, just as the case was about to go to trial.

Jane Doe 2 said that Shea, who is now deceased, started molesting her when she was a toddler and continued to assault her for years. She is not the only one.

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Another student has come forward accusing Emerson College of mishandling her Boston sexual assault case. The plaintiff, identified in the Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit as Jane Doe, claims that the school and six administrators did not “promptly and appropriately” respond to her assault and that her Title IX rights were violated. The woman is seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

The plaintiff says that she reported the alleged assault, which she says was committed by an Emerson student and an MIT student, in 2012. The Emerson College Police Department, the Cambridge Police Department, and the Boston Police Department conducted investigations. She says she chose not to press charges because a resident director at Emerson suggested that she not.

Now, she is accusing the college of inappropriately handling her case, including breaching her confidentiality by telling her mom and suitemate about the assault without her consent, discouraging her from reporting the fellow Emerson student’s alleged involvement, not making any attempts to transfer that student off her dorm floor, as well as other mishandlings.

A judge says that Stephen Embry can go ahead with his lawsuit against Harvard University. The 57-year-old Billerica man’s Boston child sex abuse case was dismissed over a year ago, before a new Massachusetts bill extending the statute of limitations for such cases was passed into law.

According to Embry, when he was 12, swimming coach Benn Merritt raped and molested him. The sexual assaults allegedly occurred over 100 times and went on for three years. Embry says the incidents usually took place at the Harvard pool where Merritt was a coach.

He contends that Harvard misled him about how long he had to file a Boston sexual abuse claim, telling him the assaults occurred too long ago. Embry says that the school did not disclose that another claim was brought against it in 1996 involving Merritt. The plaintiff in that case contended that the swim teacher molested him from 1965 to 1970, beginning when he was 11. Merritt killed himself not long after that case was filed. The lawsuit with him was settled. The one against Harvard was dismissed.

A number of ex-students of Fessenden School reportedly intend to file a Massachusetts child sex abuse case against several teacher and their supervisors. The Newton sex abuse incidents allegedly occurred at the all boys boarding school between 1968 and 1976 and involved male victims who were ages 10 to 14 at the time.

It was in 2011 that David B. Stettler, the headmaster of school, sent a letter to faculty, alumni, and parents disclosing that over the past few years, there had been two legal complaints accusing assistant headmaster Arthur Clarridge and his friend of child sex abuse. The plaintiffs said they were ages 10 and 13 respectively when they were sexually violated. One of them settled his case with the school.

In a recent internal probe, the school found out about at least two other alumni who had submitted Massachusetts child sexual abuse complaints involving allegations that would have occurred in the ’70s and 60’s. Other students also made claims that were never officially reported.

A school district in California has agreed to pay $139 million to resolve the remaining sex abuse lawsuits involving an elementary school teacher. Mark Berndt, a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, was convicted of numerous counts of lewd conduct.

Some 82 students are involved in the settlement, which was arrived at during jury selection of the trial.

According to plaintiffs, Berndt blindfolded the kids and fed them his sperm on cookies. If the child sex abuse trial had gone through, the alleged victims’ lawyers had intended to show evidence suggesting that the district knew of sexual misconduct allegations involving Berndt three decades ago but did not nothing until a pharmacy photo processor notified the authorities that there was film showing the kids blindfolded while eating an unknown substance.

A grand jury in Worcester County has indicted Dr. Ho Yin “Aaron” Shiu on one count of rape and multiple counts of indecent assault and battery. Shiu is a spine doctor. The indictments revolve around allegations involving two women.

One of the alleged victims, a 42-year-old woman, said that Shiu sexually violated her at Mass Memorial Medical Center during an appointment in 2013. The other woman, also a patient, claims that he assaulted her at AdCare hospital.

Last month, Shiu went into a voluntary, non-disciplinary agreement with Massachusetts’s Board of Registration Medicine not to practice in the state. By agreeing not to practice, Shiu is not admitting to wrongdoing.

Sean Leo Rooney, an ex-Roman Catholic priest, has settled a Boston sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a man who claims that the defendant molested him when he was a 14-year old student. According to the plaintiff, now 48, Rooney masturbated and fondled him on a bus during a school trip to Massachusetts and also while at the Salesian Junior Seminary in New York where he was studying. The former priest was on the faculty there at the time.

In his Massachusetts sex abuse case, the plaintiff said that he didn’t realize until years later that it was Rooney’s behavior that had caused him such harm. He says that he continues to suffer from emotional trauma, depression, panic attacks, sleeping difficulties, and problems with alcohol because of the explicit abuse committed by the defendant.

Rooney was a priest for 50 years before he was defrocked six years ago. Aside from the civil case, Rooney could also be subject to criminal charges in Massachusetts. Last week, BishopAccountability.org, a watchdog group, added Rooney’s name, and the names of three other people, to its public database of religious leaders accused of sex abuse.

MIT has attempted to put a precise estimate on the prevalence of sexual violence on its campus in a comprehensive survey taken anonymously by its students.

According to results, which were published on Monday, about one in six female undergraduates at MIT who responded reported being sexually assaulted at least one time while enrolled at the university. 5 percent of those respondents said they reported the crime, according to results released Monday by the school. The Boston Globe reported that 3,800 students responded to the survey out of 10,800 who were invited to participate.

According to The Boston Globe, “MIT became the highest-profile college to put such a specific estimate on the prevalence of sexual violence on campus, amid heightened national attention on the issue. Many schools have been hesitant to conduct such surveys, but advocates have urged colleges to do so because victims are more likely to reveal that they were assaulted if they can remain anonymous. Undergraduates, in particular, are viewed as most at risk.”

MIT university president L. Rafael Reif said in a mass email sent to students and faculty of the school, that he was “disturbed by the extent and nature of the problem” reflected in the survey results.

“Sexual assault violates our core MIT values,” Reif wrote. “I am confident that, with this shared understanding and armed with this new data, the MIT community will find a path to significant positive change.”
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Two young women are suing Backpage.com after they became the victims of sex trafficking. Their Massachusetts lawsuit, filed in Boston is accusing the company of setting up a business model that enabled child sex trafficking in the U.S. The plaintiffs’ lawyers describe Backpage.com as a website that carries advertisements for illegal commercial sex.

One of the plaintiffs says that sold for over 1,000 times in 18 months when she was 15 and 16 in ’12 and ’13. The other girl says she was trafficked as a teen between ’12 and ’13. The two girls were purportedly trafficked in separate “stables” of girls who were moved to different cities, including Boston, other Massachusetts cities, and Rhode Island.

The plaintiffs claim that Backpage.com and parent company Camarillo Holdings LLC violated the Massachusetts Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2010 and the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008. They also are accusing the defendants of succeeding in purposely becoming a lead player in the online sex trade and making misrepresentations to non-profits and law enforcement to make it appear as if the website was trying to get rid of the child sex traffic ads when that wasn’t the case.