Maryland private school investigating alleged sexual abuse

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A private school in Maryland has launched an investigation into allegations that a culture of sexual abuse existed in the 1970s with administrators' knowledge, a newspaper reported.

The Washington Post reports two Baltimore lawyers are leading the investigation into allegations at the Key School in Annapolis, Maryland. Matthew Nespole, the current head of the school that teaches prekindergarten through 12th grade, told the newspaper that a February review of allegations indicated former Key officials failed to protect students.

"It appears that members of the Key community neglected to respond appropriately to contemporaneous reports made by former students of faculty misconduct that includes the sexual victimization of students," Nespole said in a statement this month. "I offer my deepest sympathy to the victims and survivors and sincerely hope the investigation will help us begin the healing process."

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Joe Janney, president of the school's board of trustees, said in a statement that the allegations are "credible" and "extremely upsetting."

"The behavior of many of the accused is inexcusable and intolerable," the statement said. "On behalf of the Key School, we deeply regret what occurred and apologize to all who were impacted by this."

A woman who said she was abused by two Key teachers starting when she was 13 wrote about the alleged abuse on social media in January using the hastag #KeyToo. That was a reference to the #MeToo movement in which women have spoken out about sexual harassment and assault. One other accuser had spoken publicly before the woman's efforts to raise awareness, but five additional women later came forward to say they were sexually abused by teachers in the 1970s.

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The Associated Press doesn't generally identify those who report they've been victims of sexual abuse or misconduct.

Anne Arundel County police say they haven't received reports of any recent inappropriate conduct at the school.

The investigation into the allegations at the school will be conducted by Baltimore lawyers Andrew Jay Graham and Jean E. Lewis. The lawyers said in a statement they will investigate "alleged instances of adult sexual misconduct involving students at the Key School."

Former students told the newspaper it was widely known that some Key teachers had sex with underage students. Some teachers were fired after complaints from students or parents, according to interviews with accusers. But many stayed in the classrooms, continuing the alleged abuse, according to the report. The accusers, who are now in their 50s and 60s, said the school has yet to confront the scope of the behavior, and its effects are still being felt more than 40 years later.


Information from: The Washington Post,