Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Lawyer: Phillips Report on Sex Abuse 'Window-Dressing'

Garabedian claims report is 'tip of the iceberg' of abuse cases
By Bill Kirk bkirk@eagletribune.com  1 hr ago 
   

ANDOVER -- A lawyer who represents victims of child sex abuse — including a woman who claims she was abused at Phillips Academy in the 1980s — said a report released Monday on behalf of the elite boarding school is just "window-dressing" meant to show that it is doing something to deal with the problem.

What they are doing, said Mitchell Garabedian, isn't nearly enough.

"The report only gives us the tip of the iceberg," he said, referring to the low number of victims discussed in the document, which names a handful of teachers as perpetrators and a dozen or so victims, whose names are not used. 

"In my experience, many sexual abuse victims don't want to report the abuse for personal reasons," he said. "But where has the school been all these years? Why are they not protecting innocent victims for decades? Why haven't teachers and administrators been supervising these children?"

"Their mission is to educate, protect and keep these innocent children safe," he added. "They simply have not done their job. There is no excuse for numerous perpetrators to have been sexually abusing numerous children over numerous years. There are probably many others out there."

On Monday, Phillips released a report prepared by the Brookline-based Sanghavi Law Office stating that 60 potential victims had been identified in incidents that occurred between the 1940s and 2015, while 55 alleged perpetrators had been identified.

After reviewing all cases -- which included 115 interviews -- investigators working for the firm found credible evidence to undertake 16 full investigations of 13 possible perpetrators. In a report released earlier this week, the school said it concluded eight faculty members had engaged in sexual misconduct.

Confidentiality agreements

Garabedian, however, claims the public may never know the true magnitude of the problem because of confidentiality agreements signed by other victims as part of legal and monetary settlements with the school.

"Many private schools are having sex abuse victims sign confidentiality agreements as part of their settlements," he said. "How many claims has Phillips Andover settled with confidentiality agreements? For transparency, which there isn't, Phillips has to answer that question."

He said the Catholic Church did the same thing in the 1990s, until the practice was ended by the archdiocese, itself.

"The investigative report is woefully inadequate because it doesn't talk about confidentiality agreements," he said. "These agreements say you can't talk about this to anyone but your psychiatrist or the police. They bar a person from telling anyone anything. They (confidentiality agreements) are evil and help perpetuate sexual abuse. And this report avoided the issue of confidentiality agreements."

The Phillips report, along with a letter from Head of School John Palfrey, does not mention anything about confidentiality agreements.

The school has alluded to settlement agreements with victims, however.

Palfrey said in an Aug. 30, 2016, letter that "there have been a small number of cases, each dating from the 1980s, in which Andover previously learned of sexual misconduct or boundary violations by faculty members. As appropriate and on a confidential basis, Andover has taken personnel actions in response to these earlier findings and, in some cases, compensated survivors."

Palfrey, who is on vacation in Maine, referred further questions to the school's communications director, Tracy Sweet.

In an emailed statement, Sweet did not say how many confidentiality agreements there were, although she did mention Palfrey's 2016 statement.

"John Palfrey referred to a small number of cases handled confidentially," she said. "That number remains small."

She added, "These are highly sensitive matters for survivors. All along we have respected their privacy and will continue to do so. We do not discuss details relating to individual survivors.

Palfrey also acknowledged, in a more recent letter, that the school has failed in the past to protect students.

In an April 24, 2017, letter posted on the school's website, he wrote: "Today, we know that many schools, including Andover, have not always lived up to our commitment to protect students in our care."

In the letter that accompanied the law firm's report, Palfrey also seemed to acknowledge that the problem could be larger than it appears.

"More people have come forward with concerns of possible misconduct than the number of cases that resulted in a full investigation," he wrote in the July 31 letter. "Even as we seek to be thorough and transparent, we acknowledge that no report could possibly include a comprehensive account of all such matters that have taken place at the school."

'Same as the church'

Meanwhile, Garabedian isn't the only one with doubts about how the school is handling reports of sexual abuse.

Bob Hoatson, who runs Road to Recovery, an advocacy group for victims of child sex abuse, said the response by Phillips "reminds me of the Catholic Church."

"They are going to uncover all this stuff and look like they've been on top of things but in actuality they've known about this stuff for years and covered it up for years," he said. "It's money, it's power, it's prestige. The aura of the Catholic Church and the aura of Phillips are similar. People kowtow to them because they are so powerful. Their image and their assets were more important than the safety of children. It's the same as the church."

That issue came up recently during a press conference with an alleged victim of sex abuse at the school. Represented by Garabedian, Marie Sapienza of Hampstead, New Hampshire, attended Phillips in the 1980s. She claims in her lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston that she was inappropriately touched by Alexander Theroux, an English and poetry teacher at the school in the 1980s.

Theroux, who is also named in this week's report by the law firm as well as earlier reports, is accused of fondling Sapienza when she was just 15 years old at his on-campus apartment. Two years later, after Theroux had left the school, Sapienza tried to report the alleged assault but was rebuffed.

Her attempt to publish a letter in the school's newspaper, The Phillipian, was rejected. Then-headmaster Donald McNemar did nothing to help her either, she said.

According to Sapienza, McNemar "flat out said he didn't believe it."

Garabedian said that to make matters worse, his client was never contacted by Palfrey, who sent a letter to alumni seeking information about past sex abuse at the school.

Theroux, who lives on Cape Cod, denies the allegations made by Sapienza.

Garabedian further faults the law firm working for Phillips, saying investigators there "never spoke to my client."

"That's indicative of how inadequate and shallow the investigation was," he said. "There is no reason not to ask or request to speak my client. ... If the whole purpose of the investigation is to reveal the truth so victims can heal and feel safe, then a thorough investigation must take place. If they haven't spoken to my client, who else haven't they spoken to? This investigation was done in an extremely selective way, which renders it unreliable."

Garabedian called on the school to launch a completely independent investigation, saying that the Sanghavi law firm, because it is being paid by Phillips, cannot be unbiased.

"It should be truly independent by an investigative committee," he said. "Who paid the law firm? If they were paid by Phillips Andover, they aren't truly independent."

More cases?


Choate-Rosemary Hall, another boarding school ensnared in allegations of child sex abuse by teachers, released an extensive report recently that details numerous incidents.

One of the teachers mentioned in the Choate report, in fact, previously worked at Phillips. He is also mentioned in the most recent report put out by Sanghavi. 

The law firm's report about Phillips says Frederic "Rick" Lyman "engaged in 'an attempt at intimacy'" with a student in the 1970s. The investigative team, after checking the education records of the student and the personnel file of Lyman, and following an interview with the victim, determined that "on one occasion during a school-sponsored activity Lyman engaged in unwanted intimate touching." 

The 48-page Choate report contrasts sharply with the 19-page report issued by Phillips' law firm, as it goes into great detail about the allegations against Lyman, chronicling the relationships he had with two girls there, as well as allegations against other faculty and staff at the school over many years. Lyman, who is no longer a teacher, refused to comment for the report,

That April 2017 report said it had found credible evidence of sexual abuse involving 12 former faculty members and more than two dozen students at the elite Connecticut school.

Garabedian said some reports are more detailed but don't necessarily reflect the full scope of the problem if they don't address confidentiality agreements.

Garabedian said he would advise his client, who is suing Theroux for $20 million, not to sign a confidentiality agreement with Phillips, even though he said the school is considering offering her a settlement.

Garabedian said he fully expects more victims to come out, noting that the report issued by Sanghavi is "self-serving."

"It's a weak attempt at appeasement. It's window dressing," he said. "This is the tip of the sexual abuse iceberg at Phillips Andover." 

A Congressional Inquiry into child sex abuse is long overdue for USA. All institutions where children are gathered need to be investigated.

Andover, Mass