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Scandal grows at Beverly school

Five months after allegations of sexual abuse surfaced at the Landmark School in Beverly, the private school disclosed Thursday that five more graduates have lodged sexual molestation complaints against two former teachers and a former staff member.

In a statement posted on the school’s website and e-mailed to more than 4,000 graduates and parents, headmaster Robert J. Broudo said the alleged abuse ­occurred in the 1970s and 1980s and that the three former employees had long since left the school. Broudo also said there have been no further allegations against a former dean, Howard Kasper, since two graduates told the Globe in July that Kasper had groped them when they were students at the boarding school.

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In an accompanying report from the school’s board of trustees, the school acknowledged that the fresh allegations involve two former teachers for whom the school had already settled past sexual abuse lawsuits involving other victims, one in 2005 and the other in 1991. It said that Landmark has reported the allegations to law enforcement.

In both lawsuits, the report said, the courts had impounded the files, meaning there is no public evidence of the existence of the lawsuits. In at least one case, in 2005, according to an impounded file the Globe obtained, Broudo himself beseeched the court to seal the records, arguing that public notice about the allegations would cause “irreparable harm’’ to the school’s reputation, endanger its ability to attract students, and even threaten the school’s very survival.

The trustee report also noted that the Globe is involved in ongoing litigation seeking ­access to the impounded lawsuit involving the other former teacher, who has now been ­accused by two more graduates.

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Broudo, who has been headmaster since 1990 at the prestigious day and boarding school, expressed sorrow about the abuse.

“From this personal place of deep care and concern,’’ he said in the statement, “I offer my apology to anyone who was harmed by a member of our school community.’’

The Landmark School serves more than 450 students with language-based disabilities. David G. Breed, one of the two graduates who leveled the charges against Kasper last ­July, asserted that the school’s statement Thursday seriously understates the extent of the abuse. Breed said he is aware of credible allegations by many more students who have not contacted the school.

Peter J. Mancusi, a Landmark spokesman, said on Thursday night that school officials are aware of Breed’s view that the scandal is more widespread, but that Breed has ­declined to share what he knows, despite efforts by the school to persuade him to do so.

The school, Mancusi said, is eager to hear from Breed or anyone else who knows about sexual abuse.

After Breed and Brant Davis, another graduate, made their accusations public last summer, Kasper was placed on indefinite paid leave by the Rockport school system, where he had been a guidance counselor since leaving Landmark in 2000. Since then, Rockport Schools have negotiated a settlement with Kasper that pays him as a half-time consultant doing special projects until his resignation on Jan. 31, 2015.

On Thursday, School Superintendent Robert E. Liebow said the Rockport schools have asked Landmark to pay half of that settlement, about $70,000, since Kasper came to Rockport with ”very, very glowing’’ recommendations even though Landmark had been aware of Breed’s allegations for a number of years. Liebow said Landmark denied the request, saying the allegations against Kasper were unproven and Landmark had no obligation to alert the Rockport schools about them.

Like many other institutions, Landmark has been ­reluctant to publicly disclose alle­gations of sexual abuse. Its e-mail alert to parents and graduates last July 31 came just as the Globe was about to ­report the Kasper allegations.

The 2005 lawsuit suggests some of the reasons for the reticence. That case, which stemmed from alleged abuse committed during the 1970s by a former teacher, was impounded. The Globe obtained the 49-page file because it had been ­inadvertently left in a public file in Salem Superior Court.

A week after the suit was filed in 2005, the school’s lawyer filed a motion to have the case impounded, including a three-page affidavit in which Broudo did not deny the veracity of the allegations, but said the reputation of the school’s educators and students would be “seriously damaged by public conjecture’’ about the charges. He warned that the school might have to shut its doors.

In a separate motion, Landmark’s lawyer argued that ­impoundment “would advance both community and private ­interests.’’ The trial judge agreed.

The school’s rationale is similar to the position that the Archdiocese of Boston took in the 1990s in persuading judges to impound dozens of lawsuits the church settled involving sexual abuse of children. In 2002, acting on motions by the Globe, judges ordered those ­impoundment orders lifted.

David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Thursday that the 2005 affidavit suggests that the school “was more interested in protecting its reputation than protecting its students.’’

Impounding sexual abuse lawsuits, Clohessy said, “is the best favor a judge can do for a predator, who can move on to a new job in a new place and be surrounded by unsuspecting children.’’

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan @globe,com.
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