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Prep School Apologizes to Student Victims of Sexual Abuse

The Horace Mann School, an elite private school in the Bronx, N.Y., issued an apology Friday to former students who were sexually abused by school staff members between the 1960s and 1990s. In the apology, posted on its website, the school confirmed the abuses occurred—however, it said it would not conduct an independent investigation into the specific allegations.

The apology comes nearly a year after the New York Times published a damning piece about the school in which an alumnus detailed victims' accounts of being abused by teachers. The article indicated that school officials were advised about the abuse, but for the most part "chose not to act."

According to the school's apology, 31 students had come forward and "described in painful detail the inexcusable conduct of their teachers and administrators." The letter also states that "most of the abusers are either dead or mentally infirm; the remainder, we understand, are unwilling to respond to the allegations, and the School does not have the authority to compel these individuals to do so."

The Bronx district attorney's office told the Times that, while it had identified at least 12 possible abusers, the statute of limitations had passed so prosecution was not an option.

The school said it has revised its policies regarding abuse prevention and reporting, removed the board position of trustee emeritus (which according to the New York Daily News had been held by a member involved in "hushing up allegations"), and reached settlements with the majority of former students who have come forward.

The events sadly call to mind the sex-abuse scandals at Penn State and in the Catholic church, among other education institutions.

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