St. George’s Victims’ Lawyer Questions Disclosure of Faculty Member’s Suspension
April 8, 2016
St. George's School sent out a letter to the school community this week announcing that a faculty member under investigation had been placed on administrative leave back in January, prompting victims' lawyer Carmen Durso to ask why the school took so long in disclosing the move.
The communication marks the latest development in the ongoing investigation into claims of sexual abuse at the Middletown prep school. In December, GoLocal reported "St. George’s...which reports assets of over $200 million, has admitted that after decades of denial that at least 23 students were molested by multiple faculty and staff." In January, Rhode Island State Police Colonel Steve O'Donnell told GoLocal that the State Police investigation was expanding although he would not comment on the number of individuals being investigated for sexual assault.
The letter sent by St. George's on April 6 states that "longtime faculty member Bob Weston has been on leave from his position as Associate Head for External Affairs since January of this year" -- and Durso raised questions as to why the letter was just sent out.
READ: See the letter from St. George's to the school community BELOW
"Back in January we received info that Weston, who had once been a dorm parent, had been removed from that position because there were complaints that he would come into girls' rooms when they were in a state of undress," said Durso. "This is what we got, and along with that, he at some point was removed from that position."
"The only thing I can say to you about the school is, we reported this to them and we thought it was important. He's been in a couple of positions since then. We did not know until today that they had taken this action," said Durso on Thursday. "The school has made a pledge about being transparency. I don't understand why this took so long, if they in fact did this back in January."
GoLocal had requested the letter from Martin Murphy, who did not respond to the inquiry. Durso provided a copy of the letter to GoLocal.
April 6, 2016
Dear St. George’s Community,
As you know, the independent investigation into sexual abuse at St. George’s led by Martin F. Murphy is underway and fully supported by the School. While that inquiry proceeds, we are committed to keeping our community informed on these important matters.
With that as the backdrop, we have an important issue that we wish to share with you. As some of you may be aware, longtime faculty member Bob Weston has been on leave from his position as Associate Head for External Affairs since January of this year. The Board of Trustees and the Administration were advised of second-hand allegations concerning Mr. Weston observing appropriate boundaries with students. These allegations relate specifically to his work as a dorm parent at St. George’s in the late 1990’s.
In response, 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.
As always, our paramount concern is to ensure that St. George’s is a healthy and safe environment for all. It is important to note, however, that we also believe in due process. Finally, we felt it was important that you hear this information from the School, in a manner that is sensitive to all parties involved.
As the broader investigation proceeds, we hope and ask that anyone with information to share on any allegations of sexual misconduct will participate in Mr. Murphy’s inquiry by contacting him via email at [SGSInvestigation@foleyhoag.com ](mailto:SGSInvestigation@foleyhoag.com ) or leaving a message at 617.521.5000.
Once we are in possession of all of the available facts and determinations from the independent investigator and authorities, we remain committed to sharing them with the St. George’s community and to taking appropriate action to address this matter and others.
Leslie B. Heaney ’92, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Eric F. Peterson Head of School