Horace Mann faces fresh allegations of sexual abuse

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Correction appended.

The long list of Horace Mann educators accused of abusing students under their care just keeps growing, and now it includes a former headmaster and school president.

R. Inslee Clark, who is now deceased but served as the school’s headmaster from 1970 to 1980 and then as its president for about a decade, was accused of abusing an alumnus in a March 22 New Yorker article.

A day later, Mr. Clark was the subject of an anonymous letter published on the website of the Horace Mann Action Coalition, an alumni group formed in the wake of the June report published in The New York Times Magazine detailing decades-old, and in some cases decades-long, patterns of alleged sexual abuse at the school. The group only publishes reports it deems credible.

The note alleges that back in 1975, when the author was 14, Mr. Clark got him drunk, hired two male prostitutes, who sexually assaulted and raped him, and that Mr. Clark also raped him. Mr. Clark had previously been accused of covering up abuse at the school. 

A barrage of fresh allegations have surfaced as settlement talks have heated up between alleged victims and the school.

About 35 former students have accused 20 former educators of sexual abuse, according to the Horace Mann Action Coalition, and the school is believed to have already settled with some of the alleged victims.

A suit filed on March 21 by a New Jersey man claims he was sexually abused about 450 times between 1973 and 1977 by Johannes Somary, a deceased Riverdalian who once led the school’s music department, and whose alleged pattern of abuse was documented in the June Times story.

The suit claims that Horace Mann could have prevented the abuse since it learned of Mr. Somary’s misconduct in 1970, after a student reported him.

A day after the suit was filed, The New Yorker published a story by alumnus Marc Fisher, which, in addition to the allegation against Mr. Clark, contains accusations by three former Horace Mann students who say that former teacher Robert Berman sexually abused them.

The family of a fourth alleged victim said he later committed suicide. 

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