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Report: 5 former employees abused students at private school


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Five former employees of a prestigious private school in Rhode Island engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with students, according to an independent investigation released by the school.

The misconduct allegations date to the 1950s and occurred as recently as the 1980s, Matt Glendinning, head of the Moses Brown School in Providence, said in a letter to the school community posted on the school’s website Monday.

One of the former employees who faced an allegation of sexual misconduct in the 1980s also engaged in what the school described as “boundary-crossing behavior” that made a student uncomfortable as recently as the 1990s and early 2000s. The employee was fired at that time.

The school released only one name, Basil Meserve, a former teacher who has since died. None currently works at the school, which was founded in 1785 by prominent Quaker Moses Brown and still describes itself as adhering to Quaker values.

The coeducational school currently has about 740 students ages 3 through 18, according to its website.

“As Moses Brown’s current Head of School, I am deeply sorry for the harm that was done to children under our care, and I am appalled that, at several points in our past, some members of this community failed in their most basic duty to keep students safe,” Glendinning wrote in a message that accompanied the results of the investigation.

The investigation was conducted by T&M Protection Resources, hired by the school in January 2019 after a former student reported being sexually abused by two teachers in the 1960s.

The investigation included more than 10,000 letters sent to former students, parents, employees and trustees encouraging them to reach out to investigators with any relevant information.

The investigators received reports from 31 people. Some said they had experienced inappropriate behavior themselves; some had only witnessed it, were told about it by a victim or simply heard rumors, Glendinning wrote.

The findings of the investigation have been reported to authorities, Glendinning said.

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