State police will not pursue any criminal charges following their investigation into sexual abuse allegations at St. George’s School in Middletown. The state police, working in conjunction with the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office, announced the end of their investigation on Thursday afternoon.RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison reporting on the results of the State Police investigation into sexual abuse at St. George's School.
Authorities said laws in place at the time of the alleged incidents and other barriers made criminal charges impossible.
"Either the statute of limitation was up, or the suspect may be deceased, or the victim didn’t want to proceed with the charges," said State Police Major Joseph Philbin, who oversaw the investigation.
"Unfortunately all of them came together, and there was nothing we could prosecute."
The investigation, which focused on allegations dating from 1970 to 2005, included more than 40 interviews with victims and suspects. It focused on allegations against seven former faculty members, one current employee and three former students, all accused of sexual abuse or misconduct at the elite, private boarding school, whose alumni include such notable figures as former presidential candidate Howard Dean and Fox News Host Tucker Carlson.
"We did a more than thorough investigation," said Philbin. " This was a very stressful case for those involved, if you read some of the things in the narrative. And they kept digging and digging, but nothing came through."Additional newscast report from RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison
After launching the investigation last November, State Police announced it will close without criminal charges against St. George's School for failing to report the allegations of abuse to child welfare authorities. The reason: laws that existed prior to 1979 and the statute of limitations, which allows just three years to file charges.
Former students from St. George's School continue to pursue settlement talks with the school, which has offered to pay for counseling and other services. The school has also hired an independent investigator, who continues to probe the allegations of abuse.
"It's certainly not over," said attorney Carmen Durso, who represents some of the former students claiming abuse. "We are in discussions with the school to see if we can find common ground there. And it certainly does not reflect on their claims that there was not an ability to bring the criminal cases."
Last December, in a report commissioned by the school, an investigator cited strong evidence that 26 students were abused by six former employees. The report also found evidence for some student-on-student abuse.
But attorneys for the victims said the investigation understated the scope of the problem, which they believe involves at least 40 former students.
"The only way that they have any redress is by being able to bring civil claims," said Durso. "That's the only way in which they can name the people who harmed them, and that's the only way that they can bring institutional changes."