Ex- Fessenden School Students to File Newton, MA Child Sex Abuse Case

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.

The Boston Globe reports that one ex-student, John Sweeney, now 56, said that Clarridge drugged and then sexually assaulted him when he was a boy. However, he cannot file a Massachusetts injury case over the abuse because too much time has passed. His claim now exceeds the state’s statute of limitations for submitting such a lawsuit.

Sweeney said that the headmaster headmaster discounted his account when he reported the incident with Clarridge. The former student maintains that because of the Newton child sex abuse he endured, he later suffered from PTSD and a drug problem.

Fessenden is the oldest all-boys, junior boarding school in the United States. Students from pre-Kindergarten through the ninth grade attend the private institution.

If you or your child were a victim of Massachusetts child sexual abuse please contact our Boston personal injury lawyers today. Unfortunately, sexual abuse and assault can happen in schools. The perpetrator may even be a trusted adult, such as a teacher, counselor, administrator, or coach. Schools can be held liable for failing to prevent or stop the abuse from happening.

Allegations of child sexual abuse have plagued a number of U.S. private schools in recent years. Last year, an ex-student filed a North Andover child abuse case against Brooks School. He claimed that when he was 15, former Admission Director Lois Poirot had sex with him during the 1970s’a and that school officials were aware of the affair.

Lawrence W. Becker, a former Brooks School headmaster, also has been accused of improper relations with a student. He reportedly was not disciplined even though the school board’s president notified legal counsel about the allegations.

It was just this year that Massachusetts passed a bill extending the statute of limitations for how long victims have to file a sex abuse case against their abusers. Now, victims have until age 53 to sue. This means if even the incident happened years ago, you still may be able to pursue damages.

New Allegations of Decades-Old Sexual Abuse Emerge at Newton Private School, Boston.com, December 9, 2014

Massachusetts Law about Statutes of Limitations in Civil Sexual Abuse Cases, Mass.gov

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$139M School District’s Sex Abuse Settlement, UVA’s Suspension of Fraternities Over Gang Rape Allegations Shine Yet Another Spotlight on Sexual Violence in Schools, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, November 24, 2014

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