May 1, 2013
To Members of the Brunswick Community,
On February 12, 2013, we wrote to inform you that a Brunswick alumnus had recently told the School that a former Brunswick faculty member sexually abused him when he was a student in the 1980s. The School immediately brought the information to the attention of law enforcement authorities, and a Special Committee of the Board of Trustees engaged a law firm, Day Pitney LLP, and an investigation firm, Kroll Associates, Inc., to conduct an independent investigation into the alumnus’s allegation.
That independent investigation is now complete.
Over the course of the investigation, 66 people were interviewed, including former students, current and former faculty members (including the alleged perpetrator), current and former administrators, and current and former trustees. The investigators have concluded that the alumnus’s allegation is credible.
After we released our February 12 announcement, another alumnus reported an allegation of sexual abuse involving the same former faculty member during the same general time frame. The investigators believe that allegation is credible, as well.
A third person who identified himself as a Brunswick alumnus also recently alleged that the same former faculty member sexually abused him in the 1980s. This person declined the investigators’ repeated requests for an interview, and he declined to identify himself to the investigators, but he agreed to answer questions via e-mail. As best the investigators can tell without speaking to this person directly or knowing his identity, they believe that his allegation seems credible, as well.
The investigators have not uncovered any other incidents of sexual abuse.
In addition to investigating the sexual abuse allegations themselves, the investigation also sought to determine if Brunswick officials should have done more at the time that these alleged events occurred. To that end, the investigators uncovered “no information suggesting that any School officials were aware, or should have been aware, of any alleged sexual abuse before the first alumnus came forward in February 2013.” They also concluded that they “have no reason to believe that Brunswick did anything to facilitate any sexual abuse, no reason to believe that Brunswick failed to do anything that it reasonably could have done to prevent any sexual abuse, and no reason to believe that any Brunswick personnel were aware of any sexual abuse before the first alumnus came forward in February 2013.”
In our February 12 letter, we wrote of the allegation of sexual abuse, “Our goal is to deal with this information and associated issues in a timely, transparent and forthright manner.” While we have made every effort to respect the privacy of potential victims and the rights of the accused, we now believe that we have enough information to merit identifying the alleged perpetrator as former Brunswick teacher Timothy Tefft. We believe that this step is necessary to honor our commitment to transparency and forthrightness, to respect the courage of the alumni who have come forward to report sexual abuse, and to prevent harm to other children.
As part of this investigation, representatives from Kroll located and interviewed Tefft. While Tefft denies the alleged abuse, over the course of hours of questioning he admitted many other details that, in the opinion of the investigators, lend credibility to the alumni’s accounts of sexual abuse.
The School has reported the investigators’ findings to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, including those in the upstate New York locale in which Tefft resides. We are committed to doing whatever we can to see that justice is served.
As we stated in our February 12 announcement, on behalf of any other alumni who suffered sexual abuse, and on behalf of the School and every boy in our charge, we are in debt to the first alumnus who came forward to report his abuse to the School. We also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the courage of the other alumni who subsequently came forward to report incidents of abuse. We hope to honor the alumni by facing Brunswick’s past with honesty and transparency. We also want to thank sincerely all those who shared their recollections with the investigators. The Brunswick community’s collective response to these allegations has exemplified the School’s motto: Courage, Honor, Truth.
Should any additional Brunswick students who feel they were the victims of sexual abuse wish to report it to the School, we urge you to contact Leslie Andersen, Director of Parent and Student Counseling Services, at any time. Her email address is LAndersen@brunswickschool.org. She can also be reached through the school switchboard at 203.625.5800 x 7033. Any further information that we receive will be forwarded to appropriate law enforcement authorities.
It is important to note that Brunswick has already taken several important steps to protect our current students from potential threats, including detailed and extensive faculty and staff training and regular background checks for faculty and staff. Nevertheless, the recent allegations have spurred the School to review thoroughly its policies concerning preventing and reporting sexual abuse.
We reaffirm what we stated in our February 12, 2013 announcement: “We commit to you, without reservation, that we will always do everything in our power to protect these boys who have been entrusted to our care.” We likewise commit to creating and maintaining an environment in which all students feel completely comfortable reporting any type of inappropriate behavior.
Thomas W. Philip
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Media may contact: Dan Griffin (Director of Institutional Communications)