Report says abuse was widespread

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Activists seeking justice for victims of sexual abuse at Horace Mann School renewed their efforts with the release of a new report last week.

The document outlined cases of 64 students who were allegedly abused between 1962 and 1998.

Organizers said the goal of their 127-page report, called “Making School Safe,” was to present a case study of the Horace Mann abuse so others can learn from the experience.

The group hired a retired judge, Leslie Crocker Snyder, to investigate the abuse. While Horace Mann, which did not participate in the investigation, is believed to have settled with about 30 abuse survivors, the report mentions dozens of previusly undocumented cases.

Peter Brooks, one of the leading organizers, said four new cases came to light within about the past month.

“In my career as a prosecutor in sex crimes and as a judge, I have seen some truly horrible things,” said Ms. Snyder. “But this is in a different category. This is about a large number of young boys traumatized by a school with an ugly motivation… to protect its image.”

Many victims settled with the school because their experiences did not come to light until 2012 — long after the state statute of limitations for prosecuting child sex abuse had passed.

It was not immediately clear what action, if any, the more than 30 alleged victims mentioned in the report who did not settle with the school might take.

Following the report’s May 26 release, Horace Mann issued a statement saying, “We will closely read the [Horace Mann Action Coalition’s] report and make any appropriate adjustments in our child safety policies that it has to offer.”

However, Ms. Snyder, who previously founded and led the Manhattan District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Prosecution Bureau said the school’s attitude toward her work was “highly offensive.” She said during the course of her two-year-long investigation, administrators forwarded her requests to interview school officials and faculty to lawyers, and that she ended up with “absolutely no access to the school.”

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