Horace Mann Sexual Abuse Surviviors Send Second Letter to School’s Board of Trustees

The Survivors’ Letter was delivered to the Board of Trustees on June 21st. After three weeks, the Board has failed to respond.

We have received no acknowledgment of our letter, nor any indication of when or whether we will ever receive a personal response. We have received no gesture of compassion or caring from the Board of Trustees.

Today, the Survivors sent a Second Survivors’ Letter.



Horace Mann Alum Rob Hollander’s Letter to the New York Times

To the editor:

In private communication with over 2000 Horace Mann School alumni, we have learned of several instances of sexual abuse perpetrated by past faculty against students, some more egregious than those which have already been published. We are appalled that the school administration has failed to reach out to our classmates who were sexually abused. Our demands for an apology on behalf of those classmates have been met with silence. We are also appalled that those school Trustees who were aware of those abuses at the time and ignored them have not resigned from the Board. We have demanded that they be removed.

Justice, accountability and healing cannot be complete without these first steps.

[signed by ?# of Horace Mann alumni listed alphabetically]

In his message to us, Rob writes:

I am gathering signatures for the letter below intended for the New York Times. If you wish to sign, please email me at hollander.rob@gmail.com indicating your desire to have your name included.

I intend to list the signatures in alphabetical order including non survivor alumni and survivors alike. I do not need a great many signatures, but I don’t wish to exclude anyone. Alternatively, the signatures can be compiled and submitted by other means — a webpage or by some other person. In any case, I would like to get this moving quickly, since newspapers do not print letters that are no longer timely.

(I’ve kept it short to increase the likelihood of getting it published.) Thanks to Christina Propst for her wise emendations.


16-Year-Old Boy’s Letter About Teacher’s Sexual Advances

Below is the letter (referenced in the New York Times piece of June 6, 2012) written by then 16-year-old Benjamin Balter, seeking help. The letter is addressed to Mr. Foote, who was Head of School for Horace Mann at the time. It is posted here with the permission of Balter’s mother.

16-year old Ben Balter reported sex abuse at Horace Mann School by Johannes Somary in 1993. He was not helped.


Scanned pdf of the original letter sent: Benjamin Balter 1993 letter to Horace Mann – scanned copy of original

Read the Survivors’ Letter

On June 21st, the Horace Mann Board of Trustees received a letter from a group of former students who were sexually abused by teachers at the school. Today, July 1st, having received no official response from the Board, we share the letter:

Horace Mann Survivors’ Document

We invite our fellow Horace Mann alumni/ae and other members of the Horace Mann community to express their support of what we have written here. If you are in support of our initiative, please leave a comment on this page or email us at HoraceMannSurvivor@gmail.com, giving us your name and your class year or your relationship to Horace Mann. We will post a list of signatories at HoraceMannSurvivor.org. If you yourself were abused, or if you know someone else who was, please feel free to contact us at the same address.