NJ school 'deeply sorry' after investigation affirms sexual abuse of students

The heads of a New Jersey private school have apologized after an independent investigation concluded that numerous students had been sexually abused by former staffers during the 1970s, reports USA Today.

In an open letter dated March 28, the Pingry School Headmaster Nathaniel E. Conard and Board of Trustees Chair Jeffrey N. Edwards wrote, "We are devastated by these findings and the reality that these abuses were, for decades, weighing on the survivors without our awareness or our action...For all of these reasons, we want to extend a profound apology to our community."

The 44-page report concluded that former Pingry teacher and assistant Lower School principal Thad Alton had abused at least 27 kids, mostly boys between the ages of 10 and 12, during the 1970s.

According to the report, two other male teachers, Bruce Bohrer, who taught woodshop, and Antoine du Bourg, who taught science and music, were also cited for varying degrees of sexual abuse and misconduct with students, though the former has reportedly denied the claims while the latter died in 2011.

Meanwhile, USA Today reports that Alton was convicted of similar misconduct in 1990 more than a decade after he left the school; he was released in 1995 and currently lives in Manhattan, though he is listed as a registered sex offender.

The report says the school decided to launch an investigation into the matter after a former student came forward about the abuse.

Victims have formed a group called the Pingry Survivors which assisted in the official review.