June 26, 2018
By Alyssa Dandrea
A new compensation program for former St. Paul’s School students who were sexually abused by faculty and staff allows victims to come forward privately, but does not prevent them from later publicly sharing their stories or from going to court if an agreement isn’t reached.
The program – which allows victims to work with a neutral arbitrator and without a lawyer – is one of several new initiatives announced Tuesday by the Concord prep school and is being deemed “unique” by legal experts. While similar payout programs have been used by the Roman Catholic Church, which has grappled for years with clerical sexual abuse of children, they haven’t surfaced at private schools rocked by sexual abuse allegations.
St. Paul’s is following the lead of other private schools in providing financial assistance for mental health services to former students abused by adults entrusted with their care. The new victim therapy fund, also announced Tuesday, mirrors efforts taken by Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut and St. George’s School in Rhode Island.
The Concord prep school, like Choate, is partnering with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), which works with 1,000 sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, according to a letter from St. Paul’s Rector Michael Hirschfeld and Board of Trustees President Archibald Cox Jr. RAINN will have a dedicated phone line (1-855-215-2281) for St. Paul’s School alumni beginning July 6.
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