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St. George's Abuse Scandal Intensifies

Published
After releasing a report that found 26 students were sexually abused by multiple staff members in the 1970s and '80s, St. George's School is back in the...

After releasing a report that found 26 students were sexually abused by multiple staff members in the 1970s and '80s, St. George's School is back in the headlines this week. Attorneys representing survivors of the abuse say the school's report downplays the number of victims.

Some survivors calling for an independent investigation plan to detail their concerns at a press conference on Tuesday in Boston. They take issue with the report's failure to find that the school ignored complaints of sexual misconduct. The former students argue that the school failed to report accusations to authorities as required by Rhode Island law.

In their response to the school's report, the former students also claim incidents of rape and sexual abuse at the hands of fellow students were ignored by school leaders at the time.

Two Boston attorneys, Eric MacLeish and Carmen Durso, who have been representing some of the former students, tell The Boston Globe they have been contacted by more than 40 people, who report sexual misconduct at the private boarding school.

According to MacLeish and Durso, one of the perpetrators was a former choir director, Franklin Coleman, who went on to teach at another prep school in Tampa, Florida.

Another staff member, Rev. Howard White, who was the school's assistant chaplain, was terminated in 1974 after admitting to sexual misconduct involving male students. According to Durso and MacLeish's response to the school, White went on to work at another school and is currently "associated" with a parish in Pennsylvania. The document does not specify which parish.

A draft report released by St. George's School to alumni just before Christmas implicated a total of six staff members, but prior to Tuesday, only one had been named. 

The Globe previously reported allegations of sexual misconduct by St. George's longtime athletic trainer, Al Gibbs.

In responding to the report, the former students name two additional people, White and Coleman. They also take issue with the report's author, William Hannum, saying that as a member of the law firm Schwartz Hannum PC, which represents the school, he is not an independent investigator.

St. George's school in Middletown, RI.
St. George's school in Middletown, RI.