School for the Deaf Reports Dozens of Decades-Old Sexual Abuse Cases

The New York Times

February 25, 2020

By Neil Vigdor

The oldest school for the deaf in the United States has reported dozens of cases of sexual and physical abuse by nine former staff members that it said took place over more than three decades — including instances in which some students were forced to eat until they vomited or were confined in closets as a form of corporal punishment.

The learning institution, the American School for the Deaf, which was founded in 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut, detailed the pattern of abuse in a report after a yearlong investigation by an outside lawyer hired by the school.

The report, which was released Friday and based on interviews with 81 alumni, former faculty and staff members and other witnesses, said the abuse occurred from the 1950s through the 1980s at the main campus, now in West Hartford, and at the school’s Camp Isola Bella summer facility in Salisbury, Connecticut.

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