Boarding School Abuse

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Boarding School Abuse presents a range of criminal and lurid acts commonly committed against students by school faculty members, administrators or staff involving sexual assault of varying degrees. The assault can be a one-time, non-consensual abuse or it may involve many assaults within an ongoing interaction. For deerfield academy abuse , an continuing intimate encounter with a student, spawned by the predatory actions of a faculty member, school administrator or staff and whether heading to physical consensual sex acts or not, is a form of abuse.

Student-on-student sexual assault is an additional form of abuse, which might be made worse by the school’s failure to offer a safe environment that enabled the attack to happen. Within the school community are students of varying ages, maturity and experiences. Younger students may be subjected to the predatory behavior of older, more mature students. Their actions, along with peer-pressure exerted on both the attacker and the targeted victim, can lead to different types of abuse that includes sexual assault of varying degrees.

In all reported Boarding School Assault situations, a school administration’s megligence to completely, adequately report the assault to police and other authorities, or its additional negligence to research, address and deal fully with the situation increases the effects on the abuse survivor, the school community and possibly others. Recent Boarding School Abuse issues reported in the media exemplify these failures, including matters where the attacker quietly leaves the campus merely to assume employment somewhere else in a school environment.

Predatory Behavior
Most boarding schools pride themselves on their tiny, personal communities within a well-defined and secure campus. In that environment, faculty, administrators and staff are often much closer and familiar with students than might be expected in a non-boarding school setting. This can create both opportunity and cover to the would-be abuser and for the predatory behavior.

In some situations, the abuser could be a likeable and popular individual, generally thought to be a enhancement to the school community. A targeted student could feel flattered that a popular superior in the school community has expressed special attention in him or her. Because of this popularity and integration in the school community, abuse accusations against these criminals are often met with doubt, non-belief, and resistance by the community. Frequesntly, abusers have distance and morality problems which manifest themselves in unusually friendly relationships with students that are beyond what are commonly expected. This provides a predatory path and opportunity for the abuse.

All abusers, to varying degrees, use predatory methods that are generally referred to as “grooming,” or targeting a potential abuse victim. Following is a compilation of grooming methods used by predators that are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate student.

Grooming is a major part of a predator’s ploy. In a boarding school setting, a predator usually works closely with small numbers of students, knowing every student’s needs and weaknesses. Once a victim is located and selected, these vulnerabilities – like being lonely, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, or attention seeking behavior, may be systematically leveraged in the following manners:


A predator will first work to get the student’s trust. This step is most difficult to discern as boarding school communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction is commonplace. Here, the predator is usually part of a group of staff who are genuinely interested in the student’s wellness and success at the school.
As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential student-victim, the student may begin to count on more and more on the predator for any need it is that the predator is exploiting and fulfilling. The student will spend more time with the predator, feeling more and more comfortable with the relationship. In addition to attention and kindness, the possible victim might receive gifts from the predator, including valuable, gifts like the guarantee of higher marks, or a college recommendation letter. The reliance step is mainly where the predatory behavior is noticeable from well-meaning collegial behavior.


As the grooming continues, the predator may work to isolate the potential victim. At school, this may mean after-hour get togethers, tutoring sessions, meetings in the dorm , one-on-one sports training sessions, or other such circumstances.
The predator will begin to desensitize the student from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and other behaviors that lead to sexual interaction. This could begin with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or communicating, with suggestive messages to determine the victim’s response to the advancement. This could escalate until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
As the sexual relationship is established, the predator will work to keep control over the victim and the continuing interaction. The predator will likely try to manipulate the victim by introducing feelings of guilt, or even threats, or employ the opposite strategy of continuing to have the victim feel special and desired. In any event, the predator might continue to exploit the victim with means available to maintain the immoral physical relationship.

Impacts on Abuse Survivors

When the grooming increases as planned by the predator, the victim, being made to feel special, will likely respond affirmatively to the actions. The predator, through these well planned and executed grooming behaviors and activities, seeks to re-work and remove the moral confines of the targeted student. Since the victim participated in the re-calibration, he frequently has deep feelings of guilt, initially blaming herself for the incident and hesitant to report it.

Furthermore, beyond the abuse has been revealed, victims of private school abuse are often exposed to discreet social pressure and intimidation, like being bullied, isolation from their peers, or retaliation from administrators. Especially at private schools, where education is rigorous, competition can be fierce and social circles small, survivors of abuse can be readily isolated and socially abused. Exposed to such reactions, many private school abuse survivors that have reported the abuse leave school. Others, fighting with the prospect of the isolation and social persecution, report the abuse decades later. In either situation, the impact can be severe and life-altering.

Some abuse survivors deal with from long-term effects of the abuse including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, restless sleeping and eating patterns, and trouble establishing and keeping healthy relationships. Individual therapy and support groups might assist survivors get past these effects.

Legally, a victim of boarding school abuse may recover financial compensation from the predator and more frequently, from the school for its failure to protect the student from the predator, as well as failures or negligence in its process of reviewing and replying to the survivor’s report of the abuse. If you are a survivor of boarding school abuse and would like to confidentially review your situation and learn of your legal options at no cost or obligation, we are ready to talk with you. It’s important for a survivor to remember that experiencing assault is not your fault. The attorneys at Meneo Law Group are committed to bringing those who committed the the assault to justice.