Pupils at a prestigious New York preparatory school attended by James Murdoch, the former chairman of News International, were preyed upon by paedophile teachers, a former student has claimed.
Paedophile scandal at James Murdoch’s former New York school
By Rosa Prince, New York
Amos Kamil, who attended the elite Horace Mann School in the 1970s and 1980s, named three former teachers who he alleged had sexually abused teenage pupils in an article in the New York Times Magazine.
He accused the school of failing to protect youngsters from several other unnamed teachers he said had acted inappropriately, claiming that it fostered a climate of “blurred boundaries” between children and adults.
There is no suggestion that Mr Murdoch, 39, the youngest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who graduated in 1991, was among those targeted for abuse.
Horace Mann was recently named as the second best prep school in the United States. As well as Mr Murdoch, its alumni include the beat writer Jack Kerouac and disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer.
One of the teachers named in the article, Stanley Kops, commit suicide a few years after leaving the school following a complaint from a male student in 1983 that he had made inappropriate advances towards him during a class retreat.
Another alleged victim, Benjamin Balter, is also said to have taken his life, following years of sexual abuse by a music teacher, Johannes Somary, who died of a heart attack last year having taught at the school for four decades.
Complaints by Mr Balter’s mother about the teacher’s behaviour in 1994 are said to have been ignored.
Two other former pupils spoken to by Mr Kamil claimed that Mr Somary had abused them on a number of occasions.
A third teacher, Mark Wright, who taught art, is said to have left the school after pupils complained that he touched them sexually during inappropriate physical examinations. He died in 2004 Mr Kamil said: “The former students who chose to share their stories with me are all men, but if their classmates are to be believed, the situation was far more complex.
“People who haven’t set foot in the school in 30 years still rattle off the names of male teachers who were said to be sleeping with their female students.
“A couple of female faculty members were said to be sleeping with male students. Once I started asking around, these stories continued to bubble.” Mr Kamil said he was confident that the school had changed in recent years.
In a statement, Horace Mann said: “As an educational institution, we are deeply concerned if allegations of abuse of children are raised, regardless of when or where they may have occurred.
“The current administration is not in a position to comment on the events involving former and, in some cases, now-deceased, faculty members that are said to have occurred years before we assumed leadership of the school.”