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Man files sex abuse lawsuit against Pike, Groton prep schools

A man has filed a lawsuit against two prestigious prep schools in Massachusetts and a woman who taught at one of them, contending that the schools were negligent in failing to stop the sexual assaults she allegedly committed on the victim in the 1990s.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, the man, who is now 34, says that Judith Elefante, a former Latin teacher at the Pike School in Andover, began an abusive relationship with him while he was in middle school there and started having sex with him when he was a 15-year-old sophomore at the ­Groton School.

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Neither Elefante, a ­Newburyport resident who was in her 50s at the time of the ­alleged abuse, nor her lawyer could be reached for comment. Elefante has not been charged with a crime.

Karen Schwartzman, a Pike spokeswoman, said in a statement Wednesday that the man’s prior lawyers approached the school two years ago and were “quite clear that the sexual ­activity began well after the student graduated from Pike.”

The plaintiff, reached by phone, said: “You get to be 32 years old, and you think it was your fault. . . . Then you figure out that it definitely wasn’t your fault, and then you figure out that the people your parents ­entrusted to protect you served you up on a platter.”

The Globe does not identify alleged sexual assault victims without their permission.

According to the civil complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, Elefante “groomed and sexually assaulted” the man beginning in 1992 when he was at Pike and later engaged in “continuous sexual acts” with him while he was at Groton.

The lawyer of the alleged victim, Carmen L. Durso, said that Elefante also gave his client “long, lingering hugs” while he was at Pike.

The later sexual activity ­occurred in Elefante’s home, her personal vehicle, and in the man’s dormitory at Groton, accord­ing to the complaint.

Schwartzman said Pike officials “have heard nothing that would suggest that she engaged in sexual activity with any other student enrolled at Pike.”

Rick Commons, headmaster at Groton, said in a statement that Elefante never worked there and that Groton officials are “unaware of the alleged abuse.”

In February, Pike officials said in a letter to the school community that Elefante told the head of the school in 2011 that she provided only advice and support to the plaintiff while he was at Pike, but that their relationship later “developed into a sexual one.”

Elefante was subsequently fired.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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