Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Articles Posted in Sexual Assault

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

College is an exciting time for young people from all walks of life to gather, learn and grow into the primes of their lives. Boston is filled with a number of world class universities.  College campuses, in an ideal world, would be bastions of safety, where the aspiring leaders of tomorrow can feel comfortable regardless of the scenario. Unfortunately, as with every other aspect of society, people do horrible things that can have life-altering consequences.

Sexual assault on college campuses is an increasingly prevalent problem in American society. According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, one in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while they are enrolled in college. Women in college are also three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than average.

What is more heartbreaking, though, is that 90% of victims who are assaulted while in college do not report the crime. Researchers have hypothesized that part of the reason for the lack of reports is due to the shame, negative stigma and possible backlash that can follow as a result of going public with a sexual assault incident.

Rape culture: Prioritizing silence and shame over justice

“Rape culture” refers to an aspect of American culture that shames victims of sexual assault into not reporting the crime. Whether it’s due to fear of not being believed, fear of being blamed or shamed or just wanting to try to forget that it happened. One need look no further than the most recently publicized college sexual assault case involving Brock Turner, a standout swimmer at Stanford University who digitally raped a 22-year-old female student after she fell unconscious, to see how twisted the sociological climate regarding rape is.

Two eyewitnesses saw the crime occur and actually intervened to stop it from going further, and despite a good amount of physical evidence and a possible sentence of 14 years for felony sexual assault, Turner was given only six months in a county jail and three months of probation. He only served three months of that sentence, and is currently living at his family home on probation, sparking widespread outrage across the country.

Although Turner was convicted guilty, and some legal minds have defended the judge’s verdict as being reasonable considering the circumstances, the public’s furious response nevertheless indicated how people are becoming more and more fed up with sexual assault on college campuses. It was seen as a slap on the wrist, preferential treatment being given to someone because they were an aspiring athlete. Meanwhile, the victim he assaulted has to deal with the repercussions of that night forever.

“Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me,” said the victim in a powerful impact statement during the trial. “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.” Continue reading

Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News Channel anchor, filed a suit against chief executive Roger Ailes on Wednesday, claiming she was terminated after she denied his sexual advances and complained about sexual harassment at work.  Ailes replied in a statement denying all allegations and also claiming Carlson was prompted to file the lawsuit in retaliation for her contract not being renewed.  Carlson had worked at Fox for 11 years was abruptly fired on June 23.  According to Carlson, it was nine months earlier in a meeting with Ailes in which she addressed her feelings of discrimination.  During this meeting, Carlson claims that Ailes said, “you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.”  This is not the only comment the 50-year-old Carlson alleges Ailes made.  Carlson, named Miss American in1989, claims that the 76-year-old Ailes constantly gawked at her, made numerous comments about her legs, insisted she wear form fitting clothes to enhance her figure and also said she was sexy but “too much hard work.”

These allegations are not without consequence.  Ailes is one of the most dominant moguls in the media business and will, no doubt, put up a fight.  Ailes built the Fox News Channel from the ground up starting in the 1990s.  It has since become a top-rated television news network with a significant sway on politics.  It is a greatly lucrative network for its parent company, 21st Century Fox.  Carlson says that she was terminated as host of the morning show “Fox & Friends” in 2013.  This was followed by a pay cut with the transfer to a daytime slot.  Carlson alleges this is a result of her complaints about being sexually harassed.  One of her co-hosts from “Fox & Friends,” Steve Doocy, “had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating [her] in a sexist and condescending way” according to Carlson.  She goes on that Ailes’s response to these complaints was to condemn Carlson as a “man hater” who should learn to “get along with the boys.”  Her account also alleges that Ailes punished her by reducing the amount of political interviews she conducted and stopped her regular appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s prime-time program.  21st Century Fox made a statement saying it has full confidence in Alies and Doocy but they have launched a full investigation into the matter.  Continue reading

Sexual abuse cases are always highly sensitive. This is especially true when the offender is a trusted authority figure, such as a doctor or teacher. The Boston Globe recently called attention to a disturbing number of sexual abuse and harassment cases in New England private schools, churches, and a medical center. Contact a Boston Sexual Abuse Attorney Today.

Attorney Tyler Fox, Of Counsel to Altman & Altman, who specializes in representing the victims of sexual harassment and assault, is currently investigating and representing clients who were sexually abused while students at boarding/prep schools in New England.  Many more victims are expected to come forward as they gain the courage to tell their stories and seek justice for the abuse and cover-up by the schools.  Tyler is also representing victims of abuse by priests of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. And he has recently been featured in a Boston Globe article about an ongoing series of sexual assault cases and negligence cases against a doctor from the Fertility Centers of New England.

Over 200 New England Private School Students Have Alleged Sexual Abuse

According to a recent Boston Globe report, more than 200 students at about 67 different schools have come forward since 1991, claiming they were sexually abused or harassed by teachers and staff. At least 90 lawsuits have been filed as a result. However, only about 37 of the accused have been fired for their alleged conduct, while several accused began working at other schools. Prior to the Globe’s investigation, elite private schools often ignored sexual assault cases, sometimes intimidating claimants into dropping their lawsuits. Fortunately, the tables are beginning to turn.

According to the New York Times, “This year at least eight New England private schools have started or disclosed investigations into sexual misconduct. At least five of those inquiries—at St. George’s School in Rhode Island, the Taft School in Connecticut, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and Thayer Academy and Concord Academy in Massachusetts—have led to staff members being placed on administrative leave or fired, [The Globe] said.” Continue reading

When most people go to see a doctor, they generally place their trust in that doctor’s words and actions. Afterall, physicians are highly trained to care for us in our most vulnerable states. Whether we’re ill, injured, or seeking medical advice, we rely on health care providers to have our best interests in mind at all times. Unfortunately, as with any person in any profession, doctors can be negligent, careless, and some may even commit criminal acts. In fact, a Boston-area fertility doctor who resigned in 2014 after sexual assault allegations threatened his career, has just been accused by two more patients. Contact a Boston Sexual Assault Lawyer Today.

Boston Fertility Doctor Had Long History of Patient-Sex Abuse

Dr. Roger Ian Hardy, medical director for the Fertility Centers of New England, has just been accused of sexual assault by two more patients who were treated at the clinic. Earlier this month, a Marlborough woman and her husband were the first to file suit against Hardy and his employer. The claimant alleges that Hardy assaulted her while she was under anesthesia for an egg retrieval procedure in 2013. According to the lawsuit, the victim awoke from anesthesia with “severe vaginal trauma and bleeding,” and Hardy told her the injuries were just a “normal part of the procedure.” The lawsuit also claims that the Reading-based clinic knew about Hardy’s history of patient-sex abuse but kept it from patients. A second woman has just hired an attorney and alleges that she was also touched inappropriately by Hardy during a 2012 ultrasound test.

Further investigation into the case has revealed that these two women are not alone. A reporter from the Globe interviewed three more patients who accused Hardy of similar acts of sexual misconduct or assault. In fact, according to former Princeton University classmates, Hardy has been assaulting women for decades. Two of the alleged assaults of Princeton students were reported to officials at the university, and a third woman reported her assault to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. In all of these cases, little to nothing was done to address the reports of assault. College administrators, fertility clinic owners, and regulators were all notified of Hardy’s actions but took minimal steps to resolve the behavior. Hardy, who is now living in Thailand, declined to be interviewed about the allegations against him. Continue reading

A study conducted by the Association of American Universities released on Monday has produced staggering results in regards to the number of sexual assaults taking place on college campuses across the country. According to their report entitled “Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault” approximately 23.1 % of female undergraduate students have been victims of unwanted sexual contact by physical force or threat of physical force. The study included information amassed from 150,000 students at 28 different universities across the U.S.

The Association of American Universities, AAU for short, administered their Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault to 60 different member universities but only 27 universities chose to take part in the survey. One non-member university also participated in the survey administered by the AAU. Of the 60 member campuses, three from Massachusetts declined to take part. Boston University, Brandeis University, and MIT all opted out of the sexual assault survey. Harvard University, however, chose to take part in the survey and found their results to be alarming. Approximately 31% of their 60% senior female student body responded that they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since they began taking classes at Harvard University. Many of the 31% indicated that the sexual could be classified as rape and not just sexual harassment. Continue reading

A former prep school student faced a lengthy rape trial this summer for an incident that took place just two days prior to his graduation in May of 2014. Owen Labrie, a 19 year old from Tunbridge, Vermont, was facing charges for allegedly raping a 15 year old girl as part of a longstanding tradition at the St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. This tradition, coined as the “Senior Salute” encouraged senior male students at the prestigious prep school to compete in order to see who could have sex with the greatest number of underclassmen females prior to graduation. The entire trial unfolded as a he-said, she-said ordeal stemming from the Senior Salute invitation that Labrie extended to the alleged victim prior to the incident. Owen Labrie maintained that the two never engaged in sexual intercourse, but the unidentified victim has stated that she repeatedly told Owen “No” during various stages of their intimacy. Labrie was found not guilty of the felony rape charges he had been facing, but he is still currently awaiting sentencing on lesser sexual assault charges following the jury’s decision. They believed that Labrie had been lying and that the two did engage in sexual intercourse; an act that was illegal due to the girl’s age at the time of the encounter.

The spotlight surrounding the Labrie case has highlighted an issue that could possibly plague further prep schools in the future. Due to the nature of these schools, experts believe that students who receive their education at a boarding school may be at a greater risk to encounter sexual assaults. The children do not have legal guardians present during after-school hours—they experience a greater level of freedom than children who live at home while they are going to school. As one senior, Thomas Chou, from the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire has stated, “Our parents aren’t with us. We’re living in dorms.” This simple fact has caused a number of prep schools in the surrounding area to reevaluate the plans they have in place to prevent sexual assaults from occurring on their campuses. Continue reading

A woman who suffered a horrific rape in a hotel parking garage in 2009 has been awarded a multi-million dollar verdict from the jury hearing her case. Kira Wahlstrom, who was brutally assaulted in a Boston based Radisson hotel parking garage, had pressed charges against the owners of the hotel and the garage for what happened to her. The jury found that the company that owned the hotel at the time of the attack, JPA, was negligent—and in their negligence they contributed to this assault taking place.

The attack on Kira Wahlstrom occurred shortly after she exited an elevator on her way to her vehicle after work. The man riding the elevator with Ms. Wahlstrom grabbed her by the neck and head and proceeded to drag her into a stairwell where he violently raped her for over 25 minutes. Kira Wahlstrom screamed for help—but no one came to her aid. According to new reports, two security guards were in the lobby of the hotel at the time of the incident but neither of the guards responded to her cries. It was not made immediately clear if they had heard the attack at the time.

Just 12 days prior to the attack Wahlstrom faced, another woman was raped by the same suspect at the same garage. The unidentified woman was an employee for the hotel at the time of the assault. Kira Wahlstrom feels as though it were the duty of the hotel management as well as the management for the parking garage to inform the public about the attack that took place so individuals may be able to protect themselves accordingly. “It could have been prevented,” Wahlstrom has said about her assault. The jury for the case similarly concluded that the owners of the garage were responsible for informing others of the initial attack in order to protect others from suffering the same fate. Continue reading

The victim of a brutal rape at a Boston parking garage was awarded nearly $7, after a jury found the parking garage owner negligent for failing to warn and protect her from a rapist that had attacked another woman in the same garage less than two weeks prior.

Kira Wahlstrom was attacked back in 2009. “It means the world. It really does,” she told 5 Investigates’ Karen Anderson. “I had justice.”

The Suffolk County jury awarded Wahlstrom $4 million, which with interest, increased the award to more than $6.6 million. The verdict was decided after jury members found JPA, the former owners and managers of the Boston parking garage next to the Radisson hotel, were negligent.

“It could have been prevented,” Wahlstrom said to 5 Investigates. “It never had to happen.”

The jury did clear the garage, currently LAZ Parking, of any negligence. LAZ Parking was contracted to assist with management of the garage. The rapist, Jose Ruben Rivera III, pleaded guilty to both assaults.

Wahlstrom and her attorney, Don Keenan, hope this the case sheds more light on security issues and will increase security in Boston parking garages. They have already contacted the mayor’s office and Boston City Council to address the issue.

“We need to have better parking garage security, whether it be cameras or one person on every floor. They need to do something so that people are safe when they go there,” Wahlstrom said.

Continue reading

A woman is suing the New England Institute of Art in Brookline for Massachusetts personal injury. The woman said that because of inadequate security at the New England Institute of Art, an intruder was able to go into her dorm and sexually assault her. Also a defendant is Anwar Faisal, the owner of the building where the crime happened.

The plaintiff said that a male who wasn’t a student at the institute sexually assaulted her after a security guard let the nonresident into the building. She said that the man tried to forcibly rape her in her dorm room. The man has since been arrested and charged with indecent assault and battery.

In her Brookline, MA college student crimes complaint, the woman says she sustained serious psychological and physical injuries, which has hurt her ability to work. She is seeking compensation for her injuries and suffering.

Continue reading