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Former St. George's School Students Discuss Sexual Abuse Allegations
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Former St. George's School Students Discuss Sexual Abuse Allegations

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Former St. George's School Students Discuss Sexual Abuse Allegations

Former St. George's School Students Discuss Sexual Abuse Allegations
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Attorneys say 40 individuals have made credible claims that they were sexually assaulted at St. George's School, a private boarding school in Newport, R.I. Three spoke at a news conference in Boston.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a prestigious boarding school in Rhode Island is apologizing for sexual assaults on students that occurred there decades ago. Attorneys for the students say dozens of individuals have come forward with credible claims of assault. The allegations are directed at seven former staff members at the school and several students. From member station WBUR in Boston, Fred Thys reports.

FRED THYS, BYLINE: Three former students traveled to Boston to talk at a news conference about their alleged sexual abuse. Anne Scott graduated in 1980. She says she was repeatedly raped over two years by an athletic trainer who threatened that he would come after her if she told.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CONFERENCE)

ANNE SCOTT: I stopped talking or communicating with people, interacting with people, for long periods of time after that. My parents did get me into therapy when I was in college, and through that, I was hospitalized four times, one time for a prolonged period during my early 20s. My parents did bring a lawsuit which I - my name was on the lawsuit when I was 27 years old.

THYS: Scott says she dropped the lawsuit because of the distress it was causing her family. St. George's issued a statement yesterday saying it deeply apologizes for the harm done to alumni by former employees and former students. It says it's authorized reimbursement of counseling for survivors with no set limit on the number of counseling sessions. Harry Groome graduated in 1982. He says he was publicly raped by a fellow student as a freshman. He says he did not file a complaint at the time but in 2002, he did write to Headmaster Chuck Hamblett.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CONFERENCE)

HARRY GROOME: I received an acknowledgement of the letter, but I never got the meeting I was looking for.

THYS: Headmaster Hamblett died in 2010. Katie Wales would've graduated in 1980. She used to go see athletic trainer Al Gibbs, now dead, because she's injured her back riding a horse. She says he would lead her through the boys' locker room and would lock her inside the training room. She recalls one time when she says Gibbs photographed her naked without her permission.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CONFERENCE)

KATIE WALES: Within days of that, I guess he had shown it to the boys in the varsity locker room, and that's when the taunting started and it was absolutely horrible. I became known as the slut of the school, that I would show my body to anybody. I was pinned down by the same perpetrator that assaulted Harry - tickled and, let me see, let me see. And I went to see Tony Zane.

THYS: Zane was the school's headmaster. Wales says Zane called her mentally unstable and did not believe her. He's not returned a voice message left at his home. Wales says she was kicked out two weeks before graduation, she says for alcohol and drug abuse she blames on the sexual assaults. The Rhode Island State Police says it's investigating the allegations. There's no statute of limitations for rape in Rhode Island. For NPR News, I'm Fred Thys in Boston.

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