Administrator of Ri Prep School Rocked by Sex Abuse Scandal Placed on Leave
By Mark Schieldrop
April 7, 2016
Alumni of the elite St. George's School in Middletown were notified Wednesday that Bob Weston, associate head for external affairs, was placed on leave after the school received "secondhand allegations" about his " observing appropriate boundaries with students " as a dorm parent in the late 1990s.
Weston was placed on leave in January, the school said. It is not clear why alumni were notified about three months later in April.
A school spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
St. George's has been mired by a sex abuse scandal since December scandal after dozens of former students came forward with tales of being raped and sexually assaulted by former athletic trainer Al Gibbs in the 1970s, former chaplain Rev. Howard W. White Jr., in the 1970s and 80s along with about five other former employees of the school.
A total of about 40 victims have since come forward reporting abuse dating back to the 1960s.
The school has backed an independent investigation after pressure from alumni who were unsatisfied with the way the school was handling the abuse claims. Victims have said they were coerced into keeping their stories under wraps in an effort to prevent the news from scarring the schools otherwise illustrious reputation.
Gibbs — who was at St. George’s from 1973 to February 1980 and is now dead— was fired in 1980 after a male student caught him taking nude photographs of an underage female student. He has been accused of several sexually based crimes against students at the school during that time, up to and including rape. The school's own internal report released last year essentially confirmed that Gibbs was a serial rapist and former headmasters and administrators turned a blind eye or worked to protect the trainer.
"I have told my story to several 'investigators' over the years, and the response was silence," said Kim Erskine. "Except for two others, I thought I was alone. I hope that as a group we feel empowered and can continue to heal."
[oing independent investigation is being led by Martin F. Murphy. People who wish to share information that might help the investigation are urged to visit http:]
In the message to Alumni, which was signed by both Leslie B. Heaney, chair of the board of trustees and Eric Peters, head of school, said that the allegations concerning Weston "relate specifically to his work as a dorm parent at St. George’s in the late 1990’s."
"In response," the letter stated, "the decision was made to place Mr. Weston on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation, and the appropriate authorities were informed. Since the independent investigation was beginning at this same time, we asked Mr. Murphy and his team, whose work is ongoing, to include this matter in their inquiry."
Alumni, galvanized by the ordeal, are now calling for major changes at the school, including the ouster of Headmaster Eric Peterson, a frank public apology, settlement with all victims and a major campaign to announce to the world that there is a "new St. George's."
"A new leadership team is the only way to truly begin afresh. That would include a new head, and a new Board of Trustees," according to the RebootSGS.com website. "The board has ultimate responsibility for the school and they hire, fire, and manage the head. As such, they control the culture and the school’s response, or lack thereof, to the incidents. Read more about the how/why of a leadership change in A Fresh Start."