Four New York City Private School Teachers Sexually Harassed Students For Years

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Updated | Teachers at an elite private school in Manhattan have been found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with students, a letter sent to alumnae said on Friday.

A five-month investigation found that four teachers of The Brearley School participated in sexual misconduct on former students, with the most-recent incident 20 years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported. There have been no reported allegations of misconduct on current students.

In the letter, none of the teachers — two of whom are dead — was named. The letter also stated that two of the teachers accused were working at different schools at the time of the investigation, and the schools were informed of the reports of sexual misconduct.

Brearley hired a law firm last year to investigate the allegations against the teachers and the school encouraged students to come forward to report any sexual misconduct they may have experienced. Over 20 people came forward with information and 59 people were interviewed during the investigation.

"In some cases the School should have undertaken more thorough inquiries and should have acted more quickly to address misconduct it suspected," Jane Fried, head of the school, and Ellen Jewett, president of the board of trustees, said in the letter. "We sincerely apologize that the School failed to do so."

The most recent incident involved a teacher who made inappropriate sexual comments to students from the 1970s to the 1990s, according to the letter. The teacher, who "behaved inappropriately….by sexualizing class projects and discussions," was put on probation in 1990 after parents and students reported the misconduct. The letter says he was later fired after another incident of "inappropriate behavior," but went on to work at another school.

Two of the four teachers were also found to have sexual relationships. One of those incidents was addressed with the head of the school, and the teacher denied the allegations. The head of the school didn't ask any more questions about the relationship, but the teacher left the school voluntarily, the letter said.

The other teacher who had a sexual relationship with a senior from the school in the 1970s continued their relationship after she graduated. The school withdrew the teacher's contract after learning about the relationship, the letter said.

Reports said another teacher in the 1950s and 1960s forcibly kissed a student from the lower class in a stairwell without her consent and had groped another student. The letter said the teacher was encouraged to resign and was warned he would be fired if there future incidents. The teacher ended up teaching at the school for another three years before he retired, the letter said.

The letter also said that the school's faculty would take pictures of students in their underwear or naked for the purpose to analyze their posture. The school archivist told investigators that those pictures have since been destroyed.

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested that the two living ex-Brearley teachers still taught at the school. They do not. Newsweek regrets the error.