Eric MacLeish, the lawyer Billy Crudup portrayed in Spotlight,
who defended the victims of the Archdiocese of Boston, spoke about his work that helped unveil decades of sexual abuse at the Choate Rosemary Hall private school, at The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's (NYSPCC) Sixth Annual Spring Luncheon at the Pierre Hotel.
MacLeish' story stilled the room - which included Brooke Shields
, new ACS Commissioner David Hansell, Dori Cooperman
, Diandra Douglas
, Jean Shafiroff
, model Frederique van der Wal, and actor Tom Pelphrey. Many had sent their own children to upscale private boarding schools. It seemed unthinkable that, young and alone, they could be seduced by their teachers. Yet, besides Choate, St. George's School in Rhode Island, and Horace Mann and Poly Prep in New York City
have all been implicated in sexual misconduct against students.
Yes, abuse crosses all socio-economic borders. And The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, founded in 1875, has been on the front line of the battle to guard against it and save its victims. The agency is often the first call when abuse is discovered. Its methods are used as models across the country.
Dr. Mary L. Pulido, Dr. Penny Grant, Jean Shafiroff, and David Hansell. (Photo: Jared Siskin/PMC)
MacLeish told the story of Cheyenne Montgomery to the room. A high achieving scholarship student who had been abused by her father, Montgomery arrived at Choate in the early 90s, on a scholarship. He said, "She had the expectation that she would find the type of trusting, close, mentoring relationship that had been absolutely absent from her life. And then she met Angus Mairs. He took an interest in her. He cared what she thought. She confided in the abuse by her father. By the end of the school year [Mairs] felt he had groomed her successfully and he now could start a sexual relationship with her. She was 15-years-old at the time." After he left the school, he continued the relationship, writing her love letters that were strangely insulting. In her senior year, a French teacher, Björn Runquist, whom she had told about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Mr. Mairs, took that as a signal and began his own relationship with her. He was 44. She was 17.
When the school got an inkling, Runquist was let go - with a strong recommendation leading to a "soft landing," at Kent. What happened to Cheyenne? No one seemed to care. "If they had," MacLeish said, "they would have realized that this woman had gotten a full scholarship to Reed, but she had shaved off all of her hair her freshman year because she didn't want to be attractive to other men and she dropped out, losing her full scholarship." Choate's lawyer recommended, "Choate would pay for only 2/3 of the therapy because, after all, Cheyenne had arrived in the school as damaged goods. She had been abused by her father. Cheyenne took his words and posted it on the Choate alumni page. Suffice to say there was an explosion."
"Here in New York, private schools do not have to report abuse that takes place internally to law enforcement," said Macleish. "Right now, if a teacher sexually assaults a student in a private school, there is no obligation to report that teacher to law enforcement. There is if he or she is a public school teacher, but not in a private school."
Eric Brettschneider and David Hansell. (Photo: Jared Siskin/PMC)
This is where the NYSPCC comes in. They helped author a bill to protect private school children, said Executive Director Dr. Mary L. Pulido
, passed by the Senate Children and Families Committee. "In the Assembly
, we're making progress, but still have work to do," she noted. "I urge all of you to help us get this law passed. You can call Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan who chairs the Education Committee or Senator John J. Flanagan. We want children in private schools protected!"
, Joan Granlund
, Valesca Guerrand-Hermes
and Elizabeth Mayhew
served as co-chairs of the luncheon. Vice-Chairs were Ellen and Alan Breed, Kathe B. Dyson, Vicki Foley, Penny Grant
, MD, Tania Higgins
and Alex Roepers.
For more information about The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, visit www.nyspcc.org.
Rosehip Partners Real Estate
Properties In The Hamptons
Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices
from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968
Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.
Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.
Calissa is Mykonos in the Hamptons.
Our menu focuses on seafood and Greek dishes such as salt baked fish, seafood pasta and Mediterranean mezze. Our wine list has been awarded The Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and boasts the largest selection of rosé in the Hamptons. The name Calissa is derived from the brightest constellation in the summer sky.Our sister restaurants in New York are Amali and Bar Marseille, opening 2020 in the Rockaways. Calissa offers private dining spaces for groups from 10 to 300 people. To plan your next wedding, corporate event or gathering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 1020 MONTAUK HIGHWAY, WATER MILL
WordHampton Public Relations
We build client revenues and reputations.
Our reputation is built on delivering a strong media presence and, as a result, demand for our clients' offerings, resulting in a positive impact on sales. Successful campaigns start with understanding the goals of our clients and developing a customized strategy that will achieve those objectives.