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Letter From the President of the Board and the Head of School Regarding Investigations of Sexual Misconduct at Andover

The following letter was sent to members of the Andover community on July 31, 2017, at 4:45 p.m. E.S.T.

Dear members of the Andover community,

We write with an update regarding an independent investigation into matters of past sexual misconduct at Andover. As you may recall, in April 2016 we engaged Sanghavi Law Office to investigate any concerns brought forward to us.

Sanghavi Law Office delivered initial findings last summer, at which point John Palfrey wrote to the community to share what we knew at that time. Sanghavi Law Office has now issued a written report that addresses both the allegations received prior to August 30, 2016, and those received from August 30, 2016, to May 31, 2017.

Sanghavi Law Office conducted 16 full investigations, including those referenced in John’s letter of August 30, 2016. While they coordinated with us on the process of contacting parties and accessing files, Sanghavi Law Office conducted their investigation and reached each of their conclusions independently of the school.

Further to the five cases cited in John’s letter last August, the report reveals that Sanghavi Law Office additionally found that in one case a former student engaged in sexual misconduct involving another student and that in three cases former faculty members engaged in sexual misconduct involving students. Consistent with Andover’s criteria outlined below, we believe we have an obligation to identify two of those former faculty members: Brian Davidson and Frederic Lyman. Descriptions of each case can be found in the full report.

Our threshold for public disclosure of past sexual misconduct is established by considering a series of factors:

  1. The severity of the misconduct, its effect on the former student(s), and/or whether the school was made aware of multiple concerns of misconduct;
  2. Whether there exists an ongoing current risk to students at Andover or elsewhere;
  3. Whether the behavior of the faculty member violated Andover’s expectations;  and
  4. Whether the allegations could be corroborated.

As we reflect on these painful moments, we know that Sanghavi Law Office’s independent work is just one piece of a broader view of sexual abuse in our school’s history. Highly publicized cases involving former faculty members—David Cobb and Richard Keller, for example—were not investigated by Sanghavi Law Office but significantly impact our overall understanding and contemplation of these issues. Further, as you will see in the report, more people have come forward with concerns of possible misconduct than the number of cases that resulted in a full investigation. Even as we seek to be thorough and transparent, we acknowledge that no report could possibly include a comprehensive account of all such matters that have taken place at the school.

The report also includes references to school guidelines and policies from the 1980s related to harassment and misconduct. While those policies were relevant to Sanghavi Law Office’s findings and investigation, they are not necessarily, in our view, the standards by which we guide behavior. Child protection remains our focus more so than any specific words or guidelines.

As we’ve sought to understand and ultimately learn from these most troubling moments in our school’s history, we remain grateful to all who have shared information. Each person who has come forward has shown tremendous courage. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we extend our deepest apologies to these individuals and to all others who have been affected by any form of sexual misconduct at Andover. These transgressions must never occur again.

Concerns brought to our attention after May 31, 2017, will be investigated by Sanghavi Law Office. As always, we encourage anyone with a concern regarding sexual misconduct involving students and/or faculty to please come forward

Throughout this process, our highest priorities have remained consistent: to learn as much as possible about those times when Andover did not uphold its commitment to student safety and well-being, to support those who have been harmed, and to ensure that today we are doing everything possible to nurture a healthy, safe, and supportive learning environment for every student in our care.

We are fortunate to have so many talented faculty, staff, and administrators dedicated to ensuring that every student has the resources, care, and support needed to thrive at Andover. Their unwavering commitment to student health and wellness is both vital and reassuring.

We are grateful to you—our extended Andover community—for your ongoing support of this important work.

Sincerely, 

Peter Currie ’74, P’03, President, Board of Trustees

John Palfrey, P’21, Head of School

Aug 3, 2017