16-Year-Old Ben Balter’s Letter About His Sexual Abuse

September 29, 1993

Dear Mr. Foote,

I am writing concerning the faculty member Johannes Somary, chairman of the arts department.

I have known Mr. Somary for almost five years and have respect for him as a musician. However, recently, Mr. Somary has made grossly inappropriate sexual advances towards me. This behavior has persisted for several months now, and I feel it only appropriate that the administration be notified.

I am not simply making an unfounded accusation or exaggerating perfectly innocent events. Mr. Somary’s actions have only one possible interpretation and are clearly unjustifiable on a professional or personal level.

The purpose of a school such as Horace Mann is to provide a safe and comfortable learning environment. This goal is clearly made impossible by the inappropriate actions of teachers such as Mr. Somary. It is unfair to me and to other students to have such teachers in our midst for they compromise not only the goals of the Horace Mann school, but also the integrity of education in general.

Yours Truly,
Benjamin Balter (12)