Sexual Abuse Investigation at the Brearley School in NYC

The Brearley School, a prestigious private girls school in NYC is now the latest private school to admit it had a problem with the sexual abuse of its students. Nancy Kestenbaum, the attorney who recently completed the Choate sexual abuse investigation will now focus her efforts on Brearley. The NYT quotes the school as saying, “We have recently been made aware of possible sexual misconduct, not related to current faculty or staff, which occurred in the distant past,” school officials said in an email sent to alumnae, staff members and families of current students. “Regardless of the time that has elapsed, it is our absolute responsibility to care for all of our alumnae and to do all that we can to cultivate an environment at Brearley in which all of our students — past, present and future- feel safe and secure.” Despite its expression of seeming care for the victims, by leading with the phrase that the allegations were from the “distant past”, the school reveals a callousness for the pain and suffering of its student victims – for whom – like all victims of sexual abuse – there is definitely no distant past. And as Ms. Kestenbaum found at Choate (and as litigation has proven in almost every single case against a private school and boarding school), it will not be surprising if this investigation reveals that faculty and administration knew of the sexual abuse but failed to act to protect the students. How the school treats its former student victims once the investigation is concluded will also be revealing. Will Brearley hide behind the unforgiving NY statute of limitations or will the school compensate these victims for their devastating injuries? We shall see.

If you or someone you know ha a question concerning sexual abuse in a private school, please contact sexual abuse attorney Paul Mones.