Phillips Andover says two former faculty members abused students
Phillips Academy in Andover announced Monday that two former faculty members allegedly harmed students during the 1970s, including a teacher also accused of sexually abusing students at Choate Rosemary Hall in the early 1980s.
Brian Davidson and Frederic Lyman have been accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with students, John Palfrey, the academy’s head of school, wrote in an e-mail to the school community Monday afternoon. The claims came to light through an independent investigation commissioned by the private school.
Last year, the school disclosed that five former teachers had allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct during the 1970s and 1980s.
The investigation found that Davidson allegedly had sexual intercourse with a female student during the 1970s. Lyman, who has been accused of sexual misconduct at four different schools, allegedly made an “attempt at intimacy” with a student in the 1970s and on at least one occasion “engaged in unwanted intimate touching” during a school-sponsored activity.
Davidson and Lyman chose not to participate in the investigation, conducted by Sanghavi Law Office in Brookline, school officials said.
Investigators concluded that sexual misconduct had occurred in four other cases, three of which involved faculty members. One involved a student. These faculty members were not identified.
The school said “it was not appropriate to make the perpetrators’ identities public.”
In at least seven cases, investigators found there was insufficient evidence to support claims of sexual misconduct, according to investigators.
Eric MacLeish, a lawyer who is representing a former Andover student who was allegedly abused, said the investigators’ report “falls far short of the standard set by other private school investigations.”
He said the school did not sufficiently explain why it declined to identify the three faculty members. The report also did not list all allegations of sexual misconduct or whether faculty members were disciplined at the time, he said.
“Missing is how the faculty members were treated — that’s critical,” MacLeish said. “This report is noticeably lacking in anything about the conduct of administrators. Either they didn’t think it was important or they were told by Andover ‘don’t get into this,’ and both of those situations are bad.”
MacLeish said it is also important to know whether Lyman was given a letter of recommendation before leaving. An English teacher and coach at Choate from 1980 to 1982, Lyman allegedly engaged in sexual relationships with two 16-year-old students who graduated in 1983, the Globe has reported.
Davidson and Lyman could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a statement, Palfrey said the school extends “our deepest apologies to the individuals who suffered mistreatment in these cases, and to all others who have been affected by any form of sexual misconduct at Andover. We are committed to making sure these transgressions never occur again.”
Phillips Academy in Andover is among at least 67 other elite preparatory schools, including St. Paul’s, Choate, Milton Academy, and Phillips Exeter, with staff that have faced allegations of sexual misconduct. A Boston Globe Spotlight Team report found that hundreds of students attending private schools in New England had been abused by faculty and staff.
In response to the Globe report, dozens of schools launched investigations, and several issued letters of apologies for failing to protect students.