Society

Private School Horace Mann Faces 32 Sex Abuse Allegations

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A private school in New York is facing scrutiny after 32 former students came forward and said they were sexually abused by teachers and staff while attending.

The former students of Horace Mann School have been meeting with school officials for the past two weeks, negotiating compensation deals.

The abuse dates back to the 1970s but is as recent as the 1990s. 

At first, only a few men came forward accusing their teachers of trying to seduce them or having sex with them.

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Now, the number of abused students is up to 32. The accusations are against seven or eight teachers.

It is not known how much money is being offered to the students, but someone involved in the negotiations said the six who have walked away with agreements were given as little as $1,000 or $2,000 once lawyer fees were subtracted.

The meetings involved discussing what had happened in the years they were abused. Mediations are managed by Paul Finn, chief executive of Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation. Commonwealth’s prior settlements included $85 million for 552 victims in the sexual abuse scandal at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

So far, only one student is not satisfied with the compensation. Identified as “M.,” the student is filing a lawsuit in Superior Court in Bergen County, N.J. against the school. He said a music teacher, Johannes Somary, sexually abused him more than 450 times from 1973 to 1977.

During the abuse, Somary allegedly convinced the boy that he was in love with him. He was constantly in touch with him until the teacher died. 

M. continued to believe Somary was his “true love” until he read a Times Magazine article about Horace Mann which had interviews with two other students accusing Somary of abuse.

In the suit, he said, “Horace Mann knew or should have known that Somary was a sexual predator.”

Rosemarie Arnold, M.’s lawyer, said an economist estimates that M. was deprived of more than $21 million in wages and earnings. 

A spokesman for the school had no comment on the lawsuit or negotiations.

NYDailyNews, NYTimes