A former Horace Mann student who was a victim of sexual abuse while at the school told the New York Post
that administrators gave teachers “a licence to abuse”by ignoring his repeated claims of sexual misconduct.
The elite New York City private school has paid out $US4 million to $US5 million to 27 former students in sex abuse settlements, and gave about $US150,000 to each claimant, according to the Post.
Stephen Fife — now 60 years old — says he had one of the strongest legal claims against the school and recieved a higher than average settlement. Fife says he complained four times about English teacher Robert Berman, who is accused of abusing at least five students.
According to Fife, Berman attempted to seduce him by “saying that the Greeks did it, Socrates slept with Plato and Plato slept with his students,” and once forced his tongue into the student’s mouth during a trip to Washington, D.C.
Berman has denied having sex with students at Horace Mann, the Post reports.
When Fife tried to tell Horace Mann’s guidance counselor about Berman, he was reportedly told “I would only hurt myself and my chance of getting into a good college if I made any public declaration against Berman.”
Years later, Fife said, the guidance counselor acknowledged the sexual abuse, but said that “he thought Berman was the most brilliant person he had ever met. He felt students were lucky to have a chance to study with him.”
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