By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Globe takes on a new pedophile scandal

On Sunday, more than 14 years after the Boston Globe launched its Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles on the pedophile-priest crisis in the Catholic Church, the paper’s Spotlight Team produced a harrowing account of sexual abuse in New England’s private schools.

The new story, as with the earlier coverage, may prove to be the tip of a very large iceberg. The Globe is soliciting tips for follow-ups, conjuring up images of the way the movie Spotlight ends, with reporters overwhelmed with phone calls from victims.

Sadly, we’ve become so accustomed to the notion that predators will sexually prey on children that the details sometimes seem to blend together. But I found this paragraph to be absolutely riveting in its evocation of a dystopian alternate universe:

One winter day around 1964, Hooper said, he wet his bed, infuriating his dorm master, Claude Hasbrouck, who was also the school’s glee club and drama director. Children feared Hasbrouck, who was known for squeezing the flesh under boys’ chins—“chinnies,” he called them—and for his Nazi memorabilia collection, including a Nazi flag on his apartment wall.

It gets worse. But can you imagine being 13 years old, as one of his victims was, and to have your entire world defined by that horrifying environment?

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1 Comment

  1. I am afraid that the potential for this sex abuse scandal among New England private boarding schools to mushroom to incomprehensible proportions is quite significant. With the civil litigation bar, the Rhode Island and New Hampshire attorney generals, and disgruntled alumni/alumnae and parental groups leading the calls for reform and justice, the administrations of these private schools seem unprepared and unsure of how to manage restoring the trust that has been broken between these schools and affected students, parents, and alumni/ae. There has to be a public acknowledgment by these schools that they failed in their responsibility to protect their students from these predators and significant financial remedies for the long-term psychological and emotional trauma and new guidelines on how allegations of sexual abuse will be handled in the future.

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