You Are Not Alone was originally started by two people – Joseph Cumming ‘77 and Ed Bowen ‘74 – who were sexually abused by Horace Mann teachers, but the site now serves a community of dozens who were abused at HM. The two of us first learned in early 2011 of each other’s experiences – decades after the abuse took place. For a video about this, see here. We found it healing to talk with each other. We had both suffered in silence for decades, wondering whether we were the only ones, so it was deeply meaningful to learn we were not alone. Our conversations were painful because they brought up humiliating memories, but it was a good kind of pain – the kind that heals.

When Amos Kamil began researching his June 10, 2012 article in the New York Times Magazine, he found his way to us, and we were happy to help with his article. If you have not already read that article, please read it here: We know that many who read that article will experience both pain (as your own memories come rushing back) and relief (as you realize you are not alone).

We wish also to serve family members and loved-ones of abuse survivors at Horace Mann, as well as the wider Horace Mann community. We know that you too may be hurting and wondering how to help your loved-ones and friends who were abused. If you yourself were abused at Horace Mann, or if someone you know was abused at Horace Mann, we welcome you here – whether under a pseudonym or under your real name. If you want, we can put you in contact – confidentially – with other members of the HM Survivors’ Group.

We invite you to post comments about your experience. To post comments, you must sign in below, but you can create a pseudonymous Gmail account to do so if you prefer. We want to make this as safe a space as is possible on the internet for such a sensitive topic. To that end, comments will be moderated. We will delete comments we believe are abusive or harmful, but we will not delete comments just because we disagree with them. Please note that this site is NOT a place to post unsubstantiated rumors you may have heard about any Horace Mann teacher if you yourself cannot bear witness to their truth. If you yourself had an experience, or if someone you know had an experience, we welcome you to share that here, but please do not post mere gossip. We had many wonderful teachers at Horace Mann, and we do not want to malign teachers who were innocent of any wrongdoing.

97 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone

  1. I am very surprised that there seems to be no connection made or comment on another monster, Thad Alton, who was a student at HM in the 1950/60s. A son of intellectual NYC parents (father a professor at Columbia and mother a cellist and teacher at Julliard), he left HM for Oberlin, followed by a stint in Vietnam, before turning up in Short Hills, NJ as a teacher and abuser of young men. Every bit as awful as the HM teachers mentioned in this thread. This man is at the center of the Pingry School scandal, and he is a graduate of Horace Mann from this notorious time in the school’s history. Surely, this should be added to the list of complaints for investigation by HM leadership. Was any commenter on this thread a classmate of Alton?

  2. I chanced upon a link to the story of the Horace Mann abuse situation yesterday and am appalled to the absolute core. In particular I find the stories of the Mr. Berman creep to be among the most deeply disturbing I’ve ever read. How could this have been allowed to happen? One look at that man’s photograph and it’s enough to make my skin crawl, just from seeing the image, so I can only imagine how revolting he must have been in person. The idea that administration had such a predator on the staff but “didn’t see” or “didn’t know” anything wrong was happening there is preposterous.

    I wanted to say BRAVO to all those students who spoke up about what happened! You’ve got guts in abundance, and I wish you all the very best in all the world.

  3. I notice that Camp Dudley were Clark worked for decades in the summer months has deleted all references to the guy. It’s as if he was never even there even though he was assistant director and in charge of counselor development for at least thirty or forty years. But they still have his name on memorials at the place. He was portrayed as the perfect camp leader and counselor and he was sort of all powerful there–maybe more so than at HM. He even brought that Bucky Dent poster with him every summer and hung it in his cabin. I don’t know. They can do whatever they want but that place basically nurtured the guy and set him up as the embodiment of how to work with kids. I know a lot more about this guy than I want to post here. That’s all I can say.

    • Dear Danny,

      Thank you for sharing this. If you have additional information about Clark, that might be meaningful to those who were abused by him if you might consider sharing it confidentially with them. Please don’t feel any pressure, but if you are open to discussing this confidentially, you can reach me at or at my personal email address — Feel free to write to me from a pseudonymous Gmail account if you want to preserve your anonymity. Thank you!


      Joseph Cumming ’77 for

    • I went to Camp Dudley from 1976 through 1979. Ink Clarke was definitely an “institution” there. There were always whispers about his sexuality, but I never heard talk of any kind that he were an abuser. I, however, WAS molested at Camp Dudley by a counselor. Jim Flanagan is his name. If anyone finds my comment and has any stories and/or info and wants to contact me they can do so at I found it helpful by finding this site. Thank you

  4. To the larger community of Horace Mann survivors,

    I believe one of the difficulties you are facing is not that abuse of children is so rare; it is that it is so widespread, and is, in fact, an accepted part of life in circles of the politically powerful, both in the US and abroad.

    Lately we have heard about former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and his sexual abuse of a young man while a wrestling coach. The abuse did not stop there. It continued while he was in office. The press has not gone near this story, but testimony to that effect was given in grand jury testimony.
    Hastert’s abuse made him perpetually liable to blackmail, and to control. The question is, by whom? Who is using this power? How did a nobody like him become Speaker of the House and occupy that office longer than any other speaker?
    Listen to evidence presented here:

    Watch this video:

    I think it’s likely that the refusal of HM officials to truly address the sexual abuse at HM goes higher than those officials.

    The only way this will change is if we wake up and press for truth.

  5. I am writing after learning more about HM’s policy. I have followed the story since it broke, as my FIL is a HM alumna and a friend of Michael Hess.

    In the early ’90’s, my wife was also abused by a serial offender at a private high school. Her parents and family (including two attorneys) encouraged her not to report the issue to authorities. While she did report the issue to the school, the word got out and the offender was able to successfully flee, and retained his license. He did, ultimately, pass away.

    My wife is aware of at least one other confirmed victim, and is also aware that there were many others.

    She did attempt, on two separate occasions, to press this issue in criminal and civil court, but was denied access by the prosecutor (later discovered to be carrying out an affair with his subordinate and resigned from office.) Later, a lawyer suggested by FIL refused to take the case.

    The unfortunate thing is that many of the faculty and staff are still at the school, and many of them must have been fully aware of the offenses as they occurred or made aware after the teacher suddenly fled the country.

    I am certain, based on the relationship FIL enjoyed with Michael Hess, that they discussed the case of HM and of our local affair. I am certain that my wife received bad legal advice, or at least self-interested advice, on numerous occasions. If anyone could provide suggestions to find competent and honest legal counsel, with the aim to begin an investigation of the policies and practices of the school in question so that no further children are exposed to this filth, I would appreciate it.

    • Dear MarriedToASurvivor,

      Thank you for reaching out. I will email you privately with some ideas.


      Joseph Cumming, HM ’77
      On behalf of

  6. I am a mother of two kids, boy(5) and girl(2), an feel so saddened to read about all of this.
    My prayers to All survivors.

  7. Kudos to those who have the courage to address these issues. After reading the positive reviews on the HM site (Google) I feel I must live on another planet. Obviously, those positive reviews do not take into account the perverse atmosphere which had been cultivated for generations. I attended Horace Mann back in the 60’s when a new music teacher was hired. I, first hand, observed his musical pedigree, quirky ways and his temper. His choice of music was so, so serious (THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE IS HEARD IN OUR LAND) and in my humble opinion, boring for anyone of high school age. So to read all the accusations, I confess I am not surprised. And it does not stop with the music teacher alone. The emphasis and traditions seemingly have not been on the development of the individual, rather it is of the protection of the school’s reputation and its endowment. I made the choice to go to Horace Mann and the atmosphere reinforced the idea that I had made a mistake. I read the abuse allegations and am saddened, but not surprised. But then again I majored in DETENTION! !

  8. I was 6-7 when my big brother started having me perform oral sex on him. Went on for years, eventually I was made to have sex with my big sister . with him the one getting it started. I don’t blame my big sister cause my brother made a lot of people do that to him and her . it continued on for years. Every time our parents left it would happen. He would be with my sister then make me. Or have me perform oral sex on him more. I grew up loving woman thank God , don’t blame my big sister a bit. But my problem is I never forgot all those times. I’ve never been with a man before. But I am fasinated about oral sex. Whether its on me, or the thought of it happening again . I did, ” not bragging” begin doing it to my self as I got older. Never the urge to do to another guy. I grew up enjoying having sex with a couple of guys and one female. Why? Why is all this in my mind still. I’ve never done it to no girl by force, and for sure no man. But why did I grow up liking to share girlfriends, and masterbating in my own mouth. Am I sick in the head? Is this normal? I m grown now at 46 years old. Got three daughters I protect big time. Actually to protective. But can anyone answer what I asked? PLEASE. THANKS.

  9. I read an article in People magazine today and have been in awe of the courage and strength of those stepping forward since reading. Kudos for having the strength to speak out and potentially save another young person from the pain you have suffered.

  10. Hi.

    I was a student at Horace Mann from 1969 to 1971. I wasn’t sexually abused, but I do remember an incredibly strange encounter with a male teacher’s aide who had brought my class to the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park. A scab fell off my knee in the park, and the aide suggested that I eat it. When I replied that I found that idea disgusting, he asked me to give it to him so he could eat it. I was wondering if anyone knows who this guy might have been and if anyone else had a similar experience. While this incident in no way rises to the level of abuse, it was certainly extremely inappropriate and horrifying to a young child.

  11. I’ve read about this abuse in People magazine. I am female in my forties and a mother. Just shocking. The entire time I am reading this I am wondering why none of the students immediately called their parents for help! How could parents be left in the dark thinking all is great in this school. It is critical that children are taught to yell, shout, call out the abuse and not be threatened.

    • I did tell my parents that I wanted to leave and they pulled me out after one year…so glad I left early on…I thought I was the only one struggling…my abuse was all emotional, but thats bad enough

  12. Wonderful site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any
    discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feed-back
    from other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
    Many thanks!

  13. I read the article about Berman in the New Yorker about a month ago and I was shocked to see the name of R. Inslee Clark, Jr. mentioned as the headmaster of the school, and implicated in the coverup of abuse. Clark, known to us as “Ink”, was a beloved elder statesman at Camp Dudley, where I spent three summers from the ages of 11 to 13. I was present at camp on the day of his death in 1999, the news of which cast a dark shadow over the whole campus for a couple of days. He was regarded at Dudley as something slightly less than a saint–the living embodiment of the mysterious quasi-religious notion of “the Dudley Spirit”. In fact when the news was announced to campers that he had passed away, a flash rainstorm occurred, followed by a spectacular double rainbow, which everyone, feeling sentimental, interpreted as Ink’s sign to us that he was still with us.

    But now, to find out that he was involved in the coverup of sex abuse of young men, and even may have himself been an abuser! It’s pretty depressing, to say the least. I wish you the best of luck with your mission of justice and healing, and I’m sure I speak here for all of us Dudleyites who’ve felt scandalized by this shameful news about a man we were taught to regard as a great humanitarian.

    • I attended Camp Dudley. Ink Clark had a brother who was a known abuser. Ink was something like a god up there and was in charge of developing leaders and setting standards of Dudley behavior and leadership qualities. But his brother, Tony, who was many years younger, was a bully and a sexual abuser of the youngest kids at camp. He took advantage of them using his power as a counselor in training. He could get kids alone and then do his shit to them. If a kid didn’t cooperate, Tony could be one mean bastard who would tease and humiliate a kid and even give them what was known as pink bellies and the broom treatment both of which struck fear into a 10 year old kid. I know of several kids he abused on a regular basis. I know this because I was one of them. I did tell my senior cabin leader but he brushed it off and did not believe me. But I think he did know. Neither did my father believe me and he saw Tony Clark as some sort of all-American boy because he could put on a friendly façade and throw a football 60 yards. Nobody wanted to hear stories like this back in the 1960’s. Years later I sat and listened to Ink preach the lessons of good leadership and could not forget what his brother did to me. One time, just one time, Ink came onto me but I did not allow anything to happen and I avoided him and wouldn’t go on hikes with him or be alone with him. Besides, the guy seemed half in the bag all summer. He always reeked of gin. As for Ink’s brother, one summer he was gone and never spoken of again although at the time of Ink’s death one office staff person referred to Ink’s younger brother as “the monster.” They knew. I’ll add that the shit done to me really scrambled me and the damage continues to this day. It will never stop hurting me, Enough said.

      • Thank you, Ted, for sharing this. I am so sorry for what these men did to you, as they did to so many of us. Know that you are not alone.


        Joseph Cumming ’77
        on behalf of

      • Wow! Ted, I would love to be in contact with you. I attended Dudley from 1976 through 1979. If you were there at those times, perhaps we know each other. I was molested by Jim Flanagan at Dudley. He, like Ink at some point was not asked to return. I would love to know if anyone else out there was abused by Jim. There HAS to be others. I too am f’d up in the head and it has destroyed my life and marriage. I have only recently begun to cope with it by taking a new medicine that finally brings some relief. I’ve tried several others to no avail. I have a gmail address that you and others can use.

  14. We are pleased to announce that Rachel Grant Coaching will be offering a free teleseminar discussing “From Broken to Beyond Surviving: 3 Steps to Let Go of the Pain of Sexual Abuse and Finally Feel Normal” on December 18th, 2013 at 6PM(Pacific)/9PM(Eastern) hosted by founder of Together We Heal, David Pittman. The event is free to all interested parties and will be followed with a discussion in which participants will be allowed to ask questions directly to Rachel Grant. To sign up for the free 90 minute teleseminar please visit Participants will also receive a complimentary subscription to Rachel Grant’s monthly newsletter and as a special gift for signing up they will receive an excerpt of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse.

    Rachel Grant is a Sexual Abuse Recovery Coach with an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. She is the author of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse and created a program of the same name specifically designed for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

    For more information, please visit

    We look forward to seeing you at the teleseminar on December 18th!

  15. Ps..May I add…I got into one of the very best schools in the country….did well there… and have done well.. Im not a lawyer, stock broker, or politican but I have good art talents……but part of me, for over 30 yrs.. ( a few scars remain)……….has felt like I failed because of my innability to cope with the classmates, and most of the teachers …that Mr Glidden thought I was a total idiot….. teased me calling me “Rah Rah Avis” all year….. …so glad to finally get some new persepctive and maybe have closure. Im sure never telling my kids about this place….. they all went to public schools and did just fine. Please dont post my name, I dont need mor e humilaiiton this late in life

    • I actually liked Mr. Glidden. He used the term rara avis, or rare bird, to describe eccentrics in his class. I didn’t/don’t find it offensive.

  16. I went there one year….I would have been class of 72. I knew Adam and Noah

    Nice guys.. So sorry about Adam…………………

    I had no idea the suffering others were going thru. Many of the guys were elitist, and treated me like an outcaste…. Much the faculty were mean…Only Mr Warren treated me well…………. Woo and Summary and Zach… disliked me, treated me like a moron……..I kept the hell away from them…….. I told my parents i wanted to leave and transferred to another sane place for 8th grade.. I feel so darn lucky now..that I “flunked out” or Horror Mann..My God after all these years I finally find out that leaving was truly the right thing to do…….

  17. I think that this was going on at Horace Mann long before the time being spoken of now. I used to know a Horace Mann alumnus who was born in 1939, which would have put him at about age 13 in about 1952, and when things finally came out into the open — and you have done right by exposing it — I understood what had, in part, caused his negativity, drug addiction, and sadism. He’d made reference to having had sex once with a man when he was about 13, and it was obvious when he referred to it that he had not been the initiator.. If the school isn’t behaving honorably now, consider the source.

  18. I am a Horace Mann alum’s mother. Had my daughter been sexually abused I would have reported to the police, not the trustees or school administrators. That is what New York State mandates. My daughter was fortunate not to have been targeted. Pedophiles pick their victims and, like all psychopaths, they sense what they can get away with. There must be some recourse for the children who continue to suffer into their adulthood. Find it and stay strong.

    • There is no recourse. The Statue of Limitations for sexual abuse in the state of New York is three years. It’s the worst statue of limitations in any state in the country. Also, you cannot under any circumstances bring suit past the age of 23. If you are sexually abused on your 23rd birthday in the state of New York, you must report it and file suit on that day to have any legal recourse at all. If you report it on the following day when you are 23 years and one day old then you have no case. That is actually the law! How screwed up is that?

    • The only “cesspool of adulation” I see is that godawfully pretentious, mediocre bullshit-fest you linked us to, buddy.

    • I had to read the Navrozov article twice in order to decide whether or not it is a parody of self-justified lunacy. Indeed, it is , and I hail Mr. Navrozov for his depth and his sharp insight. How accurately he has captured the demented mentality of those who (nod-nod, wink wink) see nothing particularly wrong with a bit of hanky-panky between master and student-slave.

      How charming to be reminded of Taki. I used to read him in the Spectator. He was the King of Gossip. Things got a bit rough when he delved into politics. He would not know a political idea if it hit him on the head with a tw0-by-four.

  19. Back between the years 1977-1980 myself and other troubled adolescent runaways often traveled between New York City, Atlantic City and Philadelphia involving ourselves in a variety of youth related crimes and delinquency concerns including child sex trafficking and child pornography as adolescent victims. Over these years I unfortunately crossed paths with a variety of serial pedophiles who sexually exploited us kids which included sereil pedophiles Ed Savitz, Lawrence Scott Ward, Jerry Sandusky, Poly Prep Coach Phil Foglietta and many more. I remember Ed Savitz and Phil Foglietta at different times would invite myself and other kids to visit Horace Mann social parties in the Bronx were they would introduce us kids to a few of they’er friends if we wanted to make a few extra buck$ prostituting: although I usually was too busy running the streets between 3 different cities, many of my street hustling friends did attend these Horace Mann social parties where they would engage in child prostitution acts afterwards. For decades after I got my life together I always assumed Horace Mann in the Bronx was a person who molested children? Recently I have discovered that Horace Mann was actually an educational prep school, WOW! After I discovered the truth regarding Horace Mann Prep School I immediately contacted Horace Mann school officials in addition to contacting the Bronx District Attorney’s Office in reporting my allegations that occurred 30 plus years ago. Raising public awareness regarding pedophilia rings that sexually exploit children better educates citizens and parents as to the real dangers facing our children in the past, present and future. We as parents must safeguard our children.

  20. The Horace Mann Survivors are helping students all over the country by insisting upon accountability. The refusal of the school to officially apologize is deplorable and cannot be accepted.

  21. The only real reason it ongoing because it did because individuals who understood and were capable of find a solution made a decision to do nothing at all. My sympathies in your loss.

  22. This is my first time discussing this out loud. Im a male student that was in a sexual relationship with a female teacher from my sophomore year through graduation in ’96 at HM. I have ruined my life by destroying all that I love, abusing alcohol and drugs, and a failed suicide attempt 4 yrs ago after a failed marriage. I have lost good friends, and destroyed relatinships. ,I don’t know what else to say right now. I had a lot going for me at HM…. Athletic scholarship to college, only to drop out and start my eternal downward spiral. Forever I told myself that “it just happened” and “I’m ok”. I guess I’m not. I had a great group of friends that I neglected and abandoned for this teacher. I had a best friend that I embarrassed and miss every day. I’m sorry to you all

  23. I read the Horace Mann piece in The New Yorker earlier this week and have been haunted ever since. As the mother of 3 teenage boys I am equally heartbroken and enraged for those abused by these sadistic criminals disguised as teachers. I hope those who are still alive will be brought to justice and made to suffer for the rest of their days on this earth.

  24. It’s so incredibly sad that so many were victimized. My academic adviser, history teacher and coach in the 8th grade was Mark Wright. I first heard rumors of “inappropriate” behavior in 9th grade when he suddenly disappeared. My understanding of how the school dealt with such behavior became clear a few years later when he was “honored” at a homecoming game. The cult of personality phenomenon was not limited to Berman. In fact, there were many such cults. No doubt, not all of them were abusive. Looking back, it seems ridiculous the degree to which teachers and students intermingled in each others lives. I never felt a sense of authority from the teachers and administration. I think our cohort was especially vulnerable because so many of us were in transition whether the result of parents getting divorced, abuse at home or the usual teenage angst. The predators used all this to their advantage. I can see now how tempting the lure was. Be a part of a group that’s better than what you are. We all were at one time or another approached in subtle ways. I fortunately was too dumb or clueless to join. For those less fortunate my only wish is that you’re able to find peace and know that while the school remains silent your plea is heard and embraced by the community at large.

  25. Although I was never sexually molested during my years at Horace Mann (1962-1968), I was daily verbally abused by sadistic teachers, and we all knew that there were some very strange adults at this school which endlessly boasted about how prestigious it was. As adolescents, however, it was difficult for us to separate the teachers–who often seemed like the errata of creation–into such categories as eccentric, incompetent, and brilliant. Nor were we terribly aware of what today students would quickly recognize as sexually problematic behavior. When Mr. Reilly kept getting beaten up in the men’s room at Van Cortlandt Park, I just figured he was the victim of bad luck; I used that men’s room every day after track practice and had never been mugged. When Mr. Lin–the English teacher/chaplain/gardener/cross country coach–took off my shoe one day in English class and placed it on his desk for the whole class, I just thought this was part of his bizarre schtick. When Mr. Somary told me I had beautiful eyes, I figured he was unusually attentive to detail and merely complimenting me. And so forth. Mainly what I recall about Horace Mann was that I hated every minute of every day I was in it. I would get detentions for such crimes as talking to a friend while eating an ice cream cone, walking down the hall with my hands in my pockets, and bringing in a note from my parents about being absent so I could visit a college after I had been absent instead of a week before. I recall being publicly ridiculed by science teacher Mr. Zackshevsky for having received an A+ on a history exam by Mr. Alexander (one of the few really good guys and great teachers I had there), with Mr. Z announcing to the class that I must have cheated because I was too stupid to have earned an A+. I recall so many incidents of sadistic cruelty by the faculty, and being made to feel like I was a moron. It took me many years to get over the experience of Horace Mann. Like many of my classmates, I dropped out of college, got my head straight after years of therapy, and then made something of myself. This particular moron went on to get his doctorate In the History of American Civilization from Harvard University, become a professor of English at Purdue, receive fifty teaching awards from both of these universities and be named by the Carnegie Foundation the finest university teacher in Indiana in any discipline, and author four books and two dozen articles. But what success I have earned in life was in spite of being a Horace Mann graduate, not because of it. Horace Mann was a hole I had to crawl out of, a traumatic experience I had to overcome, in order to succeed in life. Even now, 45 years later, I can honestly say I received nothing positive from having gone there, and I will always hate the place. Frankly, I would not be sorry to hear that it had been fire torched. None of this latest news about it being a hothouse for pedophiles surprises me, for it was always a cesspool of moral corruption. May those who made it so rot in the hell they so richly deserve.

    • Bob — Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe we grew up together in the same large, Bronx building on Sedgwick Avenue where you and I were among the few kids privileged enough to attend private school. I am few years younger than you, did not enter Horace Mann until 1967. Although I recall our being there at the same time, I do not remember discussing the place with you then. I do recall you as soft-spoken and somewhat removed from the jocks and affected intellectuals who seemed to dominate the junior and senior classes. In hindsight, it occurs to me that HM’s competitive, hierarchical nature likely prevented older students such as yourself from sharing their unhappiness with younger ones and perhaps offering advice. I was never traumatized by the place in the way that you were, nor was I aware of the abuse that occurred. Yet I was always ambivalent about the school and felt a tension between relationships with friends in our neighborhood and those I developed at school. My salvation, with all of its flaws, was radical politics, which allowed me to define myself and perhaps give positive expression to the alienation I felt at Horace Mann.

      In any event, the recent revelations about the abuse are upsetting to me and it’s encouraging to hear that you’ve overcome the pain that was inflicted upon you. Kudos to you on your success.

    • Congratulations on your success. I did not attend HM and am glad, although I was miserable in public school. Your candor is refreshing and unusual. Many people are inclined to talk about forgiveness or to hide their actual feelings under a cloud of PC nonsense. I am glad to see someone expressing their hated of abusive people. They and others like them should hear from those who have been mistreated. Keep the message going-you abuse others-you are hated. And that hate persists.

  26. I did not attend HM but have been following this scandal since it broke. I am heartbroken just thinking about all the loss you and your families have suffered at the hands of these sick individuals. Todays Newyorker is frighteningly chilly about Robert Berman. I hope that for Doug’s mother, he will finally come to justice. You are all in my thoughtls and prayers

  27. My issue of New Yorker arrived in my mailbox torn with a curt apology from USPS for damaging my mail. It was not until I opened the magazine and read about Horace Mann that I realized how apropos it was that a damaged magazine with a compelling true story of how a teacher could damage a man for life . At least the USPS apologized.
    I am 64 and a former National Teacher of the Year. My abuser is still alive. I have never told my wife, daughter, sister, deceased parents the painful and convoluted story of what happened to me. I cannot find the courage or the words to be able to ever speak out loud.
    Although I have only attempted suicide once, I am and always will be a damaged man. I have done everything in my power to be a good human and make a difference. Friendships are very difficulty for me to maintain or even peruse in my mind.
    I am sincerely sorry for the pain, confusion, and upheaval that ONE human being brought into your life. I envy all of you actually. You have found the courage, fortitude, if you will, to speak out. I have not. Who would believe me? My tormentor was very respected and loved and is still loved. Nobody would believe and what good would it really do now?
    I am just praying that someday, somehow, I will have the courage to tell my wife of 44 years what happened to me. Someone deserves to know before I leave this life and leave all of my secrets behind.
    I am so very, very sorry that all of this happened to you by a person so selfish, so despicable, so slimy to speak in the vernacular that he believed that it was his right to cause you so much pain.

    • I just realized that I made this all about me. I did not mean to do that. this is the first time in my 64 years, however, that I have eer even spoken about my demons that happened so long ago.

      • I don’t think anyone would begrudge you the opportunity to share your own story among sympathetic listeners / readers.

      • Dear TS-
        The account of your life of silence is harrowing. May I suggest that instead of trying to go alone through the decision of whether to tell or not to tell–that you get some support so you are not so isolated in the experience. Look for a therapist who specializes in adult survivors, or for a group of survivors anonymous. You can just listen and observe at first and not have to tell anything until you are ready.

        Maybe telling, or at least beginning to tell these people will open the door for you to know if and when you also want to tell the primary people in your life. Please stop berating yourself for “lack of courage”–get some companions who can walk along with you. Then you can go very slowly, at your own pace.

        You sound like a man who very much needs to tell and just hasn’t figured out how to get the right conditions in place first.

        Best of luck to you.

  28. From 1959 to 1960 the same Robert Berman — I think he was about 28 at most — spent a year at a Vermont public school as an English teacher. We said he was on sabbatical from Horace Mann in NYC. I was a senior, He was both my English Lit teacher and had the seniors’ home room. A group of us came to be great admirers of him — he was brilliant, knowledgeable, interesting to small-town kids with big dreams. Thanks to him I applied to Ivy League schools and not just the Univ. of Vermont. I know that he influenced others to go on to college too. Although he never behaved inappropriately with me or with the few friends I knew best, there was still something dark about him. For example, he had a real human skull that was both new and that of a young person. He said it was willed to him by a young man who was executed. The closest anything came to inappropriate was when a few of us senior guys stayed at his apartment until 3 AM one night. For me, that was simply my first experience with late-night bull sessions that would become a big part of my later life. Having said all of this, I cannot say I am surprised by recent revelations. As I said, he was strange. And there were a few murmurings about him, but very few and nothing specific that I heard. But, as I look back, it all kind of fits — he was dark, sometimes enjoyed being intimidating or putting a student down. Sad. And tragic. My sympathies to those who knew the later Robert Berman, the one who had evidently become more accomplished at grooming young men. P.S. I did get into an Ivy League school.

  29. I believe the photos of these Horace Mann monsters should be published on the front page of the New York Times. Seems like a perfect storm of uncaring or unresponsive parents and administrators and students who enjoyed becoming the creme de la creme (shades of the Prime of Miss Jean Brody).

  30. Johannes Somary was fired from St. Patrick’s Cathedral as its music director by Cardinal Egan after Somary had held the position for only two years and right after the priest abuse scandal came out. The rector of the cathedral, Rev. Clarke, was also fired shortly thereafter. Notably, it was a letter from a survivor to Cardinal Dolan that caused Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral to cancel Somary’s memorial service. I feel physically ill when I look at photos or see articles honoring Somary.

  31. I was not sexually abused at Horace Mann, but feel compelled after reading some of these tragic occurrences to write about my own creepy experience in the 6th grade with a teacher Mrs. Mary Wertheim, who held blatantly sadistic and bizarre teaching practices. She handed out her own written instructions to 6th graders about how to kill someone and then shrink their heads. She included details like how to hide the smell using towels underneath doors. She openly and enthusiastically enjoyed talking about methods of murders and executions with her 12 year old students. She also had a macabre collection of frogs that had been skinned alive and zippers were placed where their mouths used to be. Mr. Fountain, who was principle at the time, was aware of her disturbing teaching practices and chose to do nothing. She continued to teach at Horace Mann for at least a decade more, and unfortunately I would not be surprised to hear if she is still there. I used to think that Horace Mann chose to look the other way. I did not attend HM in high school, but sadly, I now think there may have been a more sinister acceptance and actual encouragement of evil that pervaded the entire school. My heartfelt sympathy and sorrow for those who experienced such horrific atrocities. May sites like this help you to know you are not alone and find healing.

    • I am an HM alumn of the same teacher. I disagree with this assessment. While the frogs and the human head stories did happen, they were all done lightheartedly and not as you describe. They were an excellent vehicle by which she was able to teach 6th grade English while capturing the attention of her students. I think that she was highly effective in teaching grammar by keeping her students’ attention through her zany and fun stories.

      • I agree. Mrs Wertheim was actually one of my favorite teachers at Horace Mann! While I hated English as a subject, I always looked forward to her class. She was fun, exciting, and made you think. (Outside the box) the reason I am even on this sight is because of her. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of a book that she had recommended (and was sold at the book fair) that basically take your home a puts it under an electron microscope. When I Googled to try to find an answer, I ended up here. Still dont know the name of the book (its been seriously driving me nuts for 2 months now) so if anyone reads this and knows what it is, please share it with me.

      • I also want to add that it is so obvious 1 (or both) of these comments is Mary Wertheim herself. The word “zany” gives a lot away; that’s a word she would use. I agree that Wertheim was a gateway at Horace Mann for more abuse. It starts out as emotional/psychological – to see how much you will look away from, how much you will stay in silence about inappropriateness.
        Wertheim’s teachings were definitely inappropriate & had elements of sadism in them. As I said earlier, if you can’t decipher that – or if you like that – HM did it’s job. But really I know it’s insane Wertheim herself posting these follow up comments. HM clearly has a history of hiring, promoting, and defending in silence the bizarre.

  32. Not every student is going to like or appreciate every teacher they had. As educators I want to believe we made an objective effort to communicate and motivate our students to reach their potential. How successful we were certainly varied. One wants to believe that education is a two way street and we are listeners as well. I would like to believe that those offended by my actions would have communicated at that time. To make comments some 30 or 40 years later about some program I permitted to take place or how I reacted to a student or infer something about my actions in another environment seems inappropriate without giving me an opportunity to respond.

    • I was not physically abused, but I was terribly unhappy at HM due to the creepy atmosphere and teachers. In my 5 years there in the late 60’s, I met only two instructors who appeared kind and genuinely interested in teaching me. One was John Theodore, an art teacher. The other was Dan Alexander. I can’t say they succeeded– at that young age, I didn’t know how to articulate my distress– but, as I look back, I appreciate their sincere efforts.

    • If this is the same Mr. Alexander who was a history teacher and the soccer coach, you were one of the small handful of really good guys. I deeply appreciate your dedication to your students and I learned more from you than I did from all the rest of the teachers there put together. I hope nobody is lumping you in with the sadists and perverts who made that school a living hell. And I’m taking this opportunity to say thank you.

  33. There’s a post above that makes some strange references to Dan Alexander, and I need to step in and defend the man.

    Mr. Alexander was my teacher, my soccer coach, and my employer at his summer camp. He is also now my friend.

    Whatever nutty innuendoes you’re suggesting are troublesome and ridiculous. There were some great teachers at Horace Mann; Dan was one of them.

    Lord knows, I worked at a summer camp for many years, and that doesn’t mean I’m a monster. To suggest otherwise, is really irresponsible.

    Regarding the film, it’s my understanding that when Dan was asked by HM alums if they could film on campus, he gave them permission without first asking to review the script. If he was guilty of anything, it was of being to trusting. That’s all. Dan had hired HM’s first black secretary, a woman to run the bookstore, and was supportive of Eilleen Mullady as Head of School.

    Your comments are hurtful.

  34. It feels great knowing that my mother is in Heaven and she will hopefully never have to feel the feelings of shock, rage, and betrayal that she experienced when she discovered that i had been raped, beaten, sodomized and emotionally abused by a person she trusted.
    I know someday I will go on to live a happy life, and maybe someday I will become “normal” again, able to trust people, able to think of myself as worthy of having close friends and relationships. Maybe I will even be able to go back to the person I was before I entered HM, before Mr. McCardell drove me up to that big scary place back on the hill in about 1981 or 1982. That was the year my grandmother died, my parents were distracted – my father as the head of his department at Brooklyn College, and my mother off in Wallingford handling her parents’ estate, and they trusted the school to care for me. It never occurred to them their trust would be betrayed.
    I’m so sorry that Ben didn’t make it through the hard times.
    At least we survived.

  35. I am gathering signatures for the letter below intended for the New York Times. If you wish to sign, please email at 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 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.

    The proposed letter in its latest version — thanks to Christina Propst for her wise emendations — is as follows (I’ve kept it short to increase the likelihood of getting it published):

    “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]”

  36. Wow, I just discovered this sex abuse re Horace Mann coming out today as I was writing about the connection between Egyptian occultism, child sex ritual/abuse and sexualization of children, my Horace Mann nursery school trips to the MMA, and a curious Sesame Street film that connects all of this in one big ‘hidden in the open’ picture marketed mainstream to children.

    I’ve long known about all this and been speaking out about it for YEARS, and as difficult (AND TRIGGERING!) finding this has been for me today, it is very VALIDATING to see it all coming out.

    If you are interested in my story and other articles that link what has occurred at Horace Mann to the larger link between bloodline families, the global elite cabal, demonic forces, occultism, satanic sex ritual, targeted individuals and children, and WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT, how to deal with healing, etc, PLEASE see my blog at:

    We are not alone, the rabbit hole goes MUCH deeper than many people realize, and I work with a group of people who have a great deal of information to share about all of this, how to deal with healing, PTSD, DID, mind control and trauma, etc.

    I am a survivor and surpassor (I refuse to be a victim!) , and I am part of the spiritual and real-life warriors who are fighting against this kind of abuse against humanity and children. I am so grateful to the folks who have put this site together so that we may connect, share information, and help one another heal.

    Thank you, may we find our way to peace, wholeness, healing and also summon our warrior hearts to have the courage to speak out against what has been done to us, that it MAY BE STOPPED ONCE AND FOR ALL.

  37. Dear Ben Balter’s Mom: Some of us are only now learning about Ben’s life and passing and the circumstances around this tragic death. The administration’s insensitive response to the family queries if reprehensible. You were an HM teacher and an HM mom. I did not know Ben. I wish I knew Ben. I have not met you. I think many of us feel your pain and your humanity and know the fairness of your request. Ben Balter’s mom, please know that you are also still teacher to all of us and while we can never stand in Ben’s shoes, we are proud to call you mom and Ben’s mom also. We honor you and Ben as our family as well. Our hearts go out to you and our prayers and our resolve to stand by your family is strengthened by the hundred if not thousands of living alumni. The school’s administration turned its back on Truth and Justice and your and our family then and now. This can never be allowed to stand. Nicholas. V. Chen HM 75

    • I applaud your efforts to expose the tawdry story of abuse by Horace Mann faculty, I am wondering if any of my brother Adam.s classmates remember Adam as a member of Berman’s Boys.After graduation in 1969, and before heading to Harvard, my brother hung himself in our basement in Scarsdale. My father ,a Harvard alum, had died 3 months before. The repercussions of these events drove our mother into paranoid schizophrenia. She died last November, butif only this information had been made public sooner, she might have been saved from herself, as she blamed herself for Adam’s death. My brother Noah was also a student at Horace Mann during the same time period, and he had no idea all this was going on. So bravo to the survivors brave enough to expose Horace Mann for what it was. How can we revenge our loved ones?If Adam was one we would like to know it. He did travel to Flkorence in his senior year. Our parents were divorcing, so his condition was not recognized. He was very depressed, but spent his time protesting the Vietnam war, and Richard Nixon’s presidency. My childhood and that of my other siblings would have been dramatically different if Berman had been “outed” years earlier. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can shed some light on my brother’s involvement in this horrific experience. Adam was a beautiful boy, Please share any relevant information, and go on with this. Berman should be in prison. Thank you all for your bravery. Meg Perlman.

  38. This was written by Nancy O, aged 89, and now living in Israel. It expresses only a little of what she and the family all feel.


    The most dangerous man of all has come through this HM expose unscathed! He was the worst of killers. He was responsible for the suicide of our son. The man’s name is ROBERT BERMAN.

    He has lived blissfully these many years with a group of “his boys” in Tuxedo Park, NY– a beautiful, upscale town. It is know to be very “elitist”–a term he deplored. Berman taught the boys art–no question. Every year he took about 9 of his “chosen” mid-teen agers to Florence, Italy for the 2 months of the summer vacation. Mr. Cullen, another English teacher at HM had recommended him (pimped him) to Berman for this trip. LUCKY BOY!!! After we had paid the full tuition, we received a phone call from a very courageous school mate warning us not to allow our son to join this group. We were understandably concerned so my husband spent 2 hours on a Saturday morning speaking in person with Berman. At the end of this meeting he OK’d the trip. A fatal mistake. The number of the “chosen” was invariably uneven “forcing” Berman to host one of the boys each night in HIS room. Doug went and returned, never the same.

    We have been told that our son turned down the advances, but was consequently ostracised from the good graces of Berman. The boys signed a loyalty oath in blood (not figuratively, really!) to Berman. Imagine! They were so entranced by this Svengali, so afraid of not living up to his expectations, that they would do almost anything to be revered by the devil himself.
    Our son completed college Phi Bete and began Harvard graduate school. Then he took his life. He was always frustrated by his own desires and those that Berman tried to impart on him. What a loss.

    Nobody, in all the NYTimes articles and comments has mentioned the name of KILLER BERMAN. Has he bought himself immunity with his riches on the backs of his victims?


    • Mrs. O:
      I was in the Class of ’72, the year behind your son’s at HM. I knew Doug casually and remember him as smart and friendly. In a way, I looked up to him. I was tremendously saddened to hear many years ago that he took his life. I always wondered why. I knew he was in the “Berman crowd” but didn’t know that Berman was a root cause of his death. There are many accounts of Berman’s abuse now posted on the Processing Horace Mann fb page. Your son was not alone. In fact, one of his classmates posted a harrowing account of Berman’s abuse. I can only hope that Berman has now been reported to authorities seeking any account of abuse at HM.

      I always wanted to reach out to the O. family to express my sorrow over Doug’s passing and sympathy for your loss, but I didn’t know how. I hope you find some comfort in this post and some sense of justice that the truth about Berman is finally coming out.

    • Hello, I am so sorry for your horrible loss and can only imagine the anger you must feel. I was close to Mr Berman and traveled with him with several other students. There is something different about the damage wreaked by Berman. He really got his teeth into his students, deeply, and abused them emotionally and physically. I was oblivious to what was going on, but I always knew that there was a *real* inner sanctum, into which I was not invited. It is amazing to me in retrospect that I had no sense of what that real inner sanctum entailed. As sophisticated as we liked to think ourselves as teenagers, we are amazingly vulnerable and unaware.

      I assume the net is closing around berman, several people have gone public with stories of his abuse. It is a rotten, sad, brutal story and I’m so sorry it struck home to you. I hope you have found some peace.

    • Nancy –

      What a brave and poignant post. Thank you.

      Of course, I immediately thought of Doug when the Magazine section article appeared.

      As a close friend of his, especially in the last three years of his life, there are many ways I could go with a response to your post. This being a public forum, I will keep away from areas of sensitivity for you, for me, and for your family. I do want to say that barely a day goes by where I do not think about Doug – both the great times we had together and the tragedy of his loss. I am in Israel at least twice a year; if you want to have a visit, do let me know.

      Arthur: Thanks for your sensitive post. You were always a great guy in high school.

      The one piece of the puzzle I would like to highlight is that Doug did tell me that he had gone to Mr. Allison (Head of the Lower School) to report an incident he had learned of involving Mr. Somary and a fellow student. This would have been around 1970. He gave Mr. Allison a specific, very graphic report. Doug told me how upset he was by the story. Mr. Allison pooh-poohed it and told Doug not to worry about such ridiculous stories. Even when he told me this story some five year later, Doug was visibly shaken by the lack of validation.

      A key difficulty for me, personally, with the article and with the pedophilia at HM is to try to untangle how I have held it all these years: as another HM experience that ‘toughened me up’ for the ‘real world.’ Of course, I experienced the very weird vibes from certain teachers over the course of six years. I heard many stories. I learned to send out a ‘don’t f–k with me’ message to those teachers, even if it meant taking a ‘B’ from Berman or turning down potentially flattering invitations for time with teachers outside of school. Now, I realize that this, perhaps, functional coping mechanism was a reaction to a sickness that a school had no right to perpetuate on me or my classmates. My former pride in my coping skills was a learned behavior at too young an age that engendered an emotional price for decades. Far greater an issue is the price paid by my schoolmates who these predators’ antennae sensed were, in some way, more vulnerable. I cry thinking of those we have lost.

      I cannot believe how the school has reacted. Do they not see that alumni who have reacted in horror have numbered in the thousands of alumni? How did lawyers and PR folks become the channel through which the school is reacting, instead of organizational consultants, psychologists, social workers, prosecutors and clergy? It is truly amazing that people I knew in school are now on the Board or are parents and are ducking and covering, rather than leading a healing process – that would engender far better PR and good for the institution.

      Thank you to those schoolmates who have courageously been so open, in various postings, with your wounds and struggles. It gives me faith in the value of human struggle and is inspiring.

      Are we all going to show up for the 40th reunion? Maybe we should create some form of performance theatre for the event. Maybe we should have a counter-reunion somewhere else and lead our own healing process. Anyone’s thoughts, please.

      With love,

      Mark (Moshe) Finkel, Class of ‘72

    • I graduated Horace Mann in 1980. I was assigned to Robert Berman’s English class. I made it for a week and got out of there as fast as possible. No sexual abuse issues, but something was so clearly “not right” about him that I was frightened. I was just a sheltered kid and knew little of the real world, but I knew the way he carried himself and treated people was not normal and not healthy. Much of his abnormal behavior was excused because he was an alleged “genius”, but to any adult that worked with him there’s just no way they wouldn’t know that there was something very dangerous there. The only reason it continued as it did because people who knew and were in a position to do something about it chose to do nothing. My sympathies on your loss.

  39. Why didn’t anyone listen. Why did no one care. Tears. Tears. Tears. Sandusky gave us a face today. Why decades of silence? Now it’s too late.

  40. I have endless stories of nonsexual abuse re: Allison, Van Heckerin, Robert Evans who only preyed on young hustlers (low rent Roy Cohn famous HM closet case also dead of aids in early 80’s) when he could afford it but was an evil martinet in class tried to get me expelled for cursing on the subway after school. The Clinton anecdote above is fascinating since I was friends w/ Bill Clinton, Jr. for decades and have some fondness for dad. But in the currently correct harsh light, he was obviously drunk/hungover, an awful teacher and far too emotionally disturbed to function in his dean/counselor job. In some ways nasty Dan Alex stories are as painful since my classmates mostly loved him while I share the hatred of previous poster.

    How long do you think Wooster – 7th grade English – would get away with administering ‘woo pinches’?
    He would actually lift you out of your chair and squeeze the flesh under your thigh.

    Any others think there were cult-like aspects similar to catholic church?

    • I am late to the table here, probably because this subject made me anxious, bringing back uncomfortable memories. But I need to validate and support the comment about Mr. Wooster. Not only did he administer the above mentioned “woo pinches,” on a regular basis he would invite a boy to sit on his lap during class, a “privilege” that would earn that boy an exemption from whatever work was being done at the time. I know because I was one of those boys. We knew this was strange and somewhat creepy, but it was a different time and I don’t think we realized how wrong it was. Instead, we were gleeful at getting away with ditching some work. I haven’t thought about this in decades, but it amazes me that, even though I know Wooster was the predator, I feel a strange guilt in writing about this.

      • The above MSG is from me but got away before I finished filling in my info and signing off. Mr. Wooster’s actions did not go as far as other teachers, at least with me. But they did leave a scar that is still with me today — Michael

        • I was in HM for one year, 1960-1, and remember Mr. Wooster very well. He was physically abusive (he once knocked me unconscious for not dotting an “i”), and I remember every Thursday he’d lock the door and open the floor to sex questions. This was every week, without fail.

  41. I was not physically abused. (Beimg female helped) . I was however emotionally about by, say Mr. Clinton, who was furious I’d made a shirk appt. without clearing it with him — and he yelled at the top of his voice that I’d violated some HM rule or another. He was my history teacher — blustery old Irish guy, probably w/a hangover more often than not. I was not about to tell my problems to a man who had already violated my trust by yelling at a distraught teenager girl who needed help. Boundaries, anyone?

    I know people like and trust Dan Alexander, but after college, I started to question him. He was also a counselor at my brother’s sleep-away camp, then he got the ok for HM to be a location shot for an indy lesbian feature, “The Incredibly True Adventures of two girls in Love,” circa 1990s something. That made me look up for the first time: this man was 2nd my brother’s camp counselor; the third (second was relevant to his teaching shills, he where he yelled at me for being bored and putting my head down on the desk, quietly; 4th up, he is credited in the thanks for this picture . WHen all the boys around me were rambunctious, and I was silent, Dan threw me out of class as the distraction: he said I could come back when I was ready to be awake.

    Instead, I studied on my own, and screwed the boy’s curve grade, because I was academically 1st in his class, but he gave a higher grade to a boy who had shown up and talked — whereas I had no counseling that HM cared for anyone in that manner.

    I might have considered going to class and shouting out the answers — as I did in other classes when the students were slow. However, econ was definitely a boy’s club, even as I crashed it.

  42. Alum class of ’69. Classmate suicided. Rumors of abuse by Robert Berman who made overtures toward me, as did Somary. The place was abusive in ways in addition to those criminal/pedophilic. Typing is hard due to disease would love to chat with other victims/near victims.

    Jeremy shared his phone number with us. If you want to contact him, email us at, and we will send you his number.

  43. I feel obligated to let people know that I had two unequivocally inappropriate encounters with Mr Somary in 1988 and 1989. Fortunately for me, they never went to the level of abuse, but I have never forgotten, and I have never had another encounter as a child, at HM or anywhere. I had taken some kind of senior music elective class of his, and he offered me private piano lessons. I thought it was peculiar because I really had no musical talent, but always wanted to play piano, so I went with it. Well, in his studio he gave me a short lesson, then grabbed me tightly to his chest for a very very awkward few minutes. He did it twice in that one session, and did it again the next and final session. I then really make it a point to avoid him, and he did try to woo me back, but I just avoided him at all costs. Even though all these years I knew this guy was probably making an advance towards me , I don’t think I ever told anyone. ( But now that I look back, I may have actually told one close friend of mine at the time.) But I have always known over these years that this man had a problem, and what he did to me was very inappropriate indeed. I was lucky that he never tried to do anything else. Perhaps he was targeting me because I was outside his glee club circle? Who knows. Now I think it’s important I get this out because I want his real victims to be aware that I know this man was capable of it, and I want those skeptical of the accusations to know that unfortunately the accusations were all probably true. I have no reason to make this up. I don’t feel like a victim at all, but feel its important to let the community know that I can attest first hand that Mr Somary had a problem. And it does make me sad for his victims when I read students defending him. He definitely had a problem, people.

  44. I went to The Spence School and thank God this did not happen to me. If these allegations are true at this prestigious school and no one assisted the victims, what chance does a poor child in a public school have to find redress? This epidemic of pedophilia has to end.

  45. My son was at HM in the late 70’s and it was only approximately five years ago that he was able to share his experience of being sexually abused with us. At that point, I understood the hitherto unexplained years of depression that he experienced.

    It all came back. Mr. Wright, his football coach, asked if he could come to our house for dinner. Pedophilia didn’t make the headlines as much in those years. Nonetheless, I remember being suspicious. However, when this “fine” young man came to dinner, our suspicions were allayed.

    Thanks to Amos Kamil and others who have come forward, it is our hope that healing can now take place and that the school will take responsibility for complicity in this tragedy.

    To protect our son’s identity, I have used a pseudonym.

  46. I remember a nasty bullying girl too. I remember Mark Wright bellowing about how long it took for us to get up to the top of Tillinghast. For many years I have had positive thoughts about HM, but now the negativity and ambivalence is returning, and my reality doesn’t even touch what some of my classmates experienced. I find this expose unsettling to an extent that I never expected. My thoughts are with all of my fellow alumni who were preyed upon.

  47. Dear HM Survivor 1978,

    Thank you so much for your courage in posting this. If you would like to meet other survivors like yourself, please let us know. You can email us (including from a pseudonymous gmail account) at If you prefer not to meet others at this point, we of course understand.

    Peace to you.

  48. I am very pleased that this site was setup. Thank you. I was a victim of Mark Wright in the 1977-78 school year, when I was his student in art class. My experience with him is very similar to that which is described in the NY Times article. I grew 5 inches during 7th grade and experienced some muscle pain as a result. Wright was a favored teacher of mine as I loved art and enjoyed his class. He was also a coach, so I told him about my muscle pain. He said he could recommend some exercises for me. He took me to a room in the basement of the gym and said he needed to get a feel for what was going on with me. As part of this, he wanted to see me with an erection. I thought this was odd, but I figured he was the coach and that somehow, it must be related to my muscle pains from running and so forth. I remember feeling that something was wrong but I wasn’t able to react. I did get nervous, though, because the whole situation seemed kind of gay to me and the idea of being gay was pretty terrifying. At the same time, I was the subject of nasty bullying by a girl in my class who told everyone that I was “gay”. Being nervous, I couldn’t get an erection. He said he would help me. But, nothing happened. I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t do what he wanted me to. (This was, in retrospect, probably a good thing.) The whole thing ended a few minutes later with me walking out. I buried this incident in a very deep hole, not even telling my parents for over 20 years.

    • The climate of fear created through a climate of sexual abuse has been a nightmare for decades. Between Horace Mann and Riverdale, both schools were pedophile playgrounds because silence is preferential to truth. Decades of silence and broken trust. Days, nights years suffering because it was “normal” to exploit students. How many have self-harmed? Turned to drugs? Considered or tried suicide? The numbers will never be accurate; the abuses too often and too much. As students we didn’t have a chance: it’s was a sexual revolution for the worst kind of human…those who preyed on innocence, trust, and youth. May the healing begin.

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