Private school sex abuse cover-ups–too many crimes and too little accountability.

Over the last number of years, we have read article after sickening article about sex abuse at elite private schools: Horace Mann, Poly Prep, Choate, St. George’s School and more. Most recently the Times exposed “passing the trash”, whereby a teacher, accused of sex abuse at one school, was packed off to be unknowingly hired by another school, putting more students at risk.

Thanks to Executive Director Mary Pulido’s letter in the Times (below), I learned about efforts by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to help students:

Re “Ex-Headmasters Step Aside After Choate Abuse Report” (news article, April 29):

While I applaud the continued coverage of the child sexual abuse scandal at Choate Rosemary Hall, I am perplexed that attention is not being drawn to the fact that in New York State, private school administrators do not have to make a report to the law enforcement authorities if a child is sexually abused by a teacher, a staff member or a volunteer.

A bill (A. 5371/S. 4342) that would ensure that these protections for the 475,000 children attending private schools, and one that my agency helped write, has been passed by the Senate Children and Families Committee but has stalled in the Education Committee in the Assembly.

It is dumbfounding that there is a double standard of reporting child sexual abuse. Children in private schools must have the same protections as children in the public schools. Let’s not read about another scandal; let’s take action to prevent it!

The writer is executive director of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.