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Prep school settles sex abuse cases

Posted at 2:21 PM, Aug 04, 2016

The prestigious St. George’s School in Rhode Island has agreed to a settlement with up to 30 former students who say they were victims of sexual abuse at the prep school during the 1970s and ’80s.

The settlement, announced Wednesday, follows a months-long independent investigation approved by the school’s board of trustees in January. The terms and sum of the settlement were not made public.

“We are deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees for their leadership and compassion. It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to receive this kind of validation and support, after all these years. Our spirits are renewed on our forward healing journey,” survivor representative Anne Scott said in a statement.

Scott, a class of 1980 graduate, said she was raped by a former athletic trainer at the school and told not to report it.

‘We are truly, deeply sorry’

The school in Middleton, near Newport, has said at least 40 people came forward claiming they were abuse victims.

St. George’s completed an internal investigation last year that revealed the school did not report the incidents to authorities at the time of the abuse. The school then contacted the Rhode Island State Police.

“To all victims, we are truly, deeply sorry for the harm done to you by former employees or former students of the School,” the school’s report said. “We are heartbroken for you and for the pain and suffering that you have endured.”

‘I don’t want to see this happen to another kid’

Attorney Carmon Durso, who represents the victims, said the abuse survivors who took legal action include both men and women.

“Virtually none of them were motivated by money. They all said, ‘I don’t want to see this happen to another kid’,” he told CNN affiliate WPRI. His clients’ case would likely have not been successful in court given the statute of limitations, Durso said.

The school says they hope the settlement will help the survivors and community heal.

“It is our sincere hope that this agreed resolution will assist our survivors as they move forward towards healing,” said Leslie Heaney, chair of the St. George’s board of trustees, in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with our survivor community so that the lessons learned can ensure the safety of our current and future generations of St. George’s students.”

Founded in 1896, the co-ed Episcopal school has produced such noteworthy alumni as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson and U.S. Sen. Prescott Bush, father of former President George H. W. Bush.