The Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland has notified parents, students and alumni of sexual abuse allegations against a former faculty member.
In a letter addressed to the “Landon Community,” the all boys school wrote that it has heard from two Landon alumni who reported decades old stories of sexual abuse by the same former faculty member. The letter is signed by the all boys private school's headmaster Jim Neill and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Harris.
The school says the teacher, who is now dead, has not worked at Landon for more than 50 years. That would mean the sexual abuse happened before 1967. School spokesperson Meredith Josef said the school was not releasing additional details about the accused, including what he taught or how long he worked at Landon, to protect the alleged victims who want to remain anonymous.
The school says it has apologized to the students and hired an outside firm to investigate if other students were victims of sexual abuse, or if there was a coverup.
“Our fervent hope is that no other boys have suffered abuse of this nature while at Landon,” the school wrote in the letter. “But in light of these reports, we have a responsibility to understand and respond to this situation thoroughly, thoughtfully, and honestly. Should there be other instances or allegations of sexual misconduct that may have gone unreported, we must provide a safe, discreet, and independent resource where those experiences can be reported. We must further seek to understand whether information about such matters has previously come to the attention of the school, and if so, when.”
The letter asks any other former students who have been sexually abused to contact the school's outside investigators, T&M Protection Services. Landon wrote the company is “an independent, professional firm with deep experience in scrutinizing such matters, has been retained to serve as a third-party investigator for the school.”
Landon says anyone with similar concerns or information is encouraged to contact Laura Kirschstein at T&M by email at email@example.com or by phone at 646-445-7505.
Landon says it has not notified police because the accused teacher is dead and any laws requiring school administrators to report abuse were passed decades after teacher left the school.
The school says it is continuing to evaluate what happened and will follow up with the school community when it knows more.
“We are filled with great sadness and anger that any Landon student ever experienced such behavior from someone given the sacred trust of caring for a boy's well-being,” the school wrote. “Let us be clear: such abhorrent conduct is counter in every way to everything Landon stands for. We are and have always been a community and school dedicated to ethical ways of being and to building boys into responsible and caring men.”