SHORT HILLS, NJ--(Marketwired - Mar 28, 2017) - Nearly 20 survivors of sex abuse carried out by a teacher at an elite New Jersey preparatory school in the 1970s issued a statement in response to The Pingry School's release of a report on Tuesday.
Known as the Pingry Survivors, the 18 men were sexually abused as pre-teen boys at The Pingry School in Short Hills, New Jersey, between 1972 and approximately 1980. Now adults, and many with children of their own, the group retained the law firm of Crew Janci LLP, known for bringing high-profile cases of sexual abuse against the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and Mormon Church.
The survivors' goal: expose the truth of the pervasive abuse that took place at the hands of Thad P. ("Ted") Alton Jr., who was given widespread access to the students at Pingry as a teacher, a school administrator, a coach, a Boy Scout troop leader and a counselor at Camp Waganaki in Maine, where many Pingry students and families spent their summers.
The law firm began an investigation prior to the school announcing it would look into the situation. The school's report, released Tuesday, marks the conclusion of its investigation into the abuse that took place over the course of nearly a decade 40 years ago. The investigative process revealed that Alton was not the only Pingry staff member sexually abusing students during this time frame.
The Pingry Survivors released the following statement in response:
"Ted Alton was able to keep up his illegal and harmful behavior because of a culture that allowed for concealing and ignoring this damaging abuse. It's important to recognize this and change the system that allowed the abuse to occur and to continue over many years. While the details are disturbing and painful to hear, we hope that exposing the truth at The Pingry School will serve as the first step in the healing process -- for ourselves and for the entire Pingry community. We remain hopeful we can work with the school to address what happened in the past and to ensure a safe environment at Pingry in the future."
The group also posted an open letter to the Pingry community on their website, urging current and past Pingry families and educators to support survivors of the abuse and create a safer school. The full letter is available at PingrySurvivors.org.
"This case is particularly egregious, not only in the details of the abuse, but also the extent and duration of time over which the abuse occurred. And much of the abuse was preventable," said attorney Stephen Crew of Crew Janci, based in Portland, Oregon. "We're hopeful The Pingry School will recognize this, acknowledge the lasting impact on survivors and make the necessary changes to protect today's children."
Pingry Survivors Issue Statement on Child Sexual Abuse by Teacher, Coach, Administrator and Scout Leader in New Jersey Marketwired March 28, 2017