Community Message, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017

Dear Hotchkiss Community,

In June 2016, the School requested the law firm of Carlton Fields to undertake a third-party investigation into reports of sexual misconduct by members of the faculty or staff that occurred at any time in the School’s history. We asked the lead investigator, James Sconzo, to conduct as thorough an investigation as possible because the School is committed to understanding the extent of wrongdoing, to taking all steps to ensure it cannot happen again, and to apologizing to those who, as students, were victimized by adults who abused their position and the trust placed in them.

The School has not yet received the Carlton Fields report because their investigation remains active. Two additional investigators, Jillian Orticelli and Miriam Berkman, have been added to their team in recent months. Ms. Berkman has deep experience in Title IX investigations. We are grateful to those who have already contacted Carlton Fields, and we strongly encourage anyone with relevant information to speak with a member of the investigative team. Their contact information appears at the end of this letter. Our community’s participation in this investigation is crucial if it is to shed a light on the past and guide us in the future.

We recognize that deciding whether to come forward is a difficult, complex decision. That is certainly true for survivors and can often be so for witnesses or those in whom survivors have confided. In recognition of this, the School has arranged for Johanne Bach, MSW, a clinical social worker who works with survivors of sexual abuse and who is knowledgeable about the investigation process, to be a resource for those who are trying to decide whether to come forward. Her contact information is also provided. Please be assured that you will be treated with sensitivity and respect at all times.

The Board of Trustees has directed Head of School Craig Bradley to develop a program for survivors who wish to obtain professional counseling. When this program is in place, details will be provided to alumni and made available on the School’s website.

The Hotchkiss Board of Trustees is resolute in its commitment to investigate these matters thoroughly, to communicate transparently with the School community about the results of this investigation, to apologize to those who were harmed, and to take prompt, appropriate actions as warranted by the investigator’s report.

We have made clear to Carlton Fields that the School is seeking an investigation that is as thorough—and conducted as expeditiously—as possible. However, because this letter is intended to encourage any additional survivors—or anyone else with relevant information—to come forward (or to contact Johanne if they are debating whether to do so), Carlton Fields cannot provide a date by which the investigation will be completed and a report issued.

We would like to express our appreciation to those who have come forward thus far and to the Hotchkiss community for its continued support as we undertake this necessary reconciliation with our past.

Contact information:

James Sconzo, Carlton Fields LLP - phone: (860) 392-5022;
email address:

Jillian Orticelli, Carlton Fields LLP - phone: (860) 392-5055;
email address:

Miriam Berkman, JD, LCSW - phone: (203) 668-4338;
email address:

Johanne Bach, MSW - phone: (860) 424-2092;
email address:


Jeannie Weinberg Rose ’80, P’18
President, Board of Trustees

Craig W. Bradley
Head of School