Community Message, November 14, 2018
November 14, 2018
Dear Members of the Hotchkiss Community,
As you may recall, we last wrote to you on August 17 in connection with the release of the Locke Lord report. We write to provide an update on several issues relating to the report.
First, we’d like to notify you of a lawsuit, Richard Roe v. The Hotchkiss School, that was recently filed against the School arising out of alleged sexual misconduct in the 1990s by former English teacher Roy Smith, who has been identified by name in publicly available court records and in media reports. We are carefully reviewing the allegations in the complaint, which is the second lawsuit filed against the School related to alleged misconduct by Mr. Smith.
Second, as we have communicated previously, Locke Lord will continue to accept and investigate reports of historical sexual misconduct by adult members of our community. We encourage anyone with information relating to potential misconduct by any faculty or staff member, including Mr. Smith, to contact Locke Lord to make a report. The lead investigator, Allison O’Neil, can be reached by telephone at (800) 403-7138 or (617) 239-0729, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third, there have been many different reactions to the Locke Lord report and the independent investigator’s decisions to identify certain individuals in the report. For instance, we’ve learned that some of you believe the School erred in deciding that its external investigation would be an independent one and/or in publishing the investigator’s full report, while others believe that such steps were essential to ensure the integrity of the investigation. Others have written in support of former faculty members identified in the report or expressed disagreement with actions the School has taken with respect to them as well those taken with regard to former administrators. Please know that we listen closely to each of you and carefully consider your comments, and we appreciate your continued engagement with Hotchkiss, as well as the care and thought with which you have expressed your views.
To those alumni who were harmed, we reiterate our apology for the hurt you suffered. We remain committed to supporting you and would like to remind survivors, whether or not you have spoken with the investigators, that financial assistance is available to support alumni with current and past therapy costs related to sexual misconduct at the School. All inquiries and funding requests related to the therapy fund are handled by RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and are anonymous to Hotchkiss. Detailed information about the therapy fund is available on the School’s website or through RAINN’s Hotchkiss-specific hotline at (866) 827-4029 or (860) 300-3389. In addition, please know that RAINN operates a national hotline at (800) 656-4673 or www.online.rainn.org that can be used to access immediate crisis intervention, information and resources.
We also remain resolutely focused on protecting current and future students. As one example of these ongoing efforts, we are working with RAINN to conduct the latest audit of our policies and procedures to ensure these are evolving in real time with best practices. We are also continuing to refine our Human Development curriculum, which educates students about boundaries, building healthy relationships, the meaning of consent, and the importance of maintaining a respectful culture at Hotchkiss.
In closing, we thank you for continuing to engage with the School as we work to acknowledge and confront our history honestly and find a way forward that ensures that everyone in our community feels safe, seen, and supported.
Jean Weinberg Rose '80, P'18
President, Board of Trustees
Craig W. Bradley
Head of School