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St. George's School Accused Of Ignoring Years Of Sexual Abuse

Published
An elite, private school in Middletown is at the center of an unfolding scandal over sexual abuse. After years of silence in some cases, several former...

An elite, private school in Middletown is at the center of an unfolding scandal over sexual abuse. After years of silence in some cases, several former students  say they were abused by the school's longtime athletic trainer, Al Gibbs.  The Boston Globe first broke the story.

According to The Globe, one former student, Anne Scott, has sued St. George's, which she attended in the late 1970s. Scott describes being molested and raped by Gibbs on school grounds, and she has renewed her quest for action some 40 years after the alleged abuse took place.

According to the article, Scott now seeks "accountability" but no monetary compensation. Scott dropped an earlier lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in the face of a vigorous defense strategy from the school's lawyers.

St. George’s declined RIPR's request for an interview, but said in a written statement that an investigation into the abuse claims has been underway for nearly a year and is nearing completion. The school has sent several letters to alumni and current families describing multiple, credible reports of sexual misconduct. In the most recent letter, sent in November, St. George’s offers to set up therapy funds for victims as part of the investigation.

Reporters for The Boston Globe interviewed several women in addition to Scott who said they were also abused by Gibbs, who was reportedly fired in 1980. The paper provides detailed accounts of the alleged abuse and cites court records that show several students reported the sexual abuse to the school at the time, but it does not appear those claims were investigated or passed on to authorities.

At least one of the women has called for the school remove the name of the headmaster at the time, Tony Zane, from a school dormitory.

St. George's current headmaster, Eric Peterson, tells The Globe there are two unnamed men accused of sexual misconduct, who had both left the school by 1988. Peterson said the school is working with law enforcement to determine what happens next.

The campus of St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island.
The campus of St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island.