Horace Mann alumni seek sex-abuse investigation

A group of Horace Mann alumni who claim they were sexually abused while students there called on the elite New York City school Monday to appoint an independent investigator.

The four men, along with attorney Gloria Allred, also want the State Legislature to pass a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations on sex-abuse cases.

The men, now in their 40s and 50s, said they were abused as teens.

Allegations that students in the school were abused over decades from the 1970s to 1990s first came to light last year in a New York Times Magazine story.

Monday, Jon Seiger, 51, accused several teachers and an administrator of subjecting him to repeated episodes of sexual abuse during his high school years. He named four men, all of whom are now dead.

"My childhood was taken from me," he said. "There was no safe place anywhere at Horace Mann, because everywhere I turned, another predator lurked."

Three other former students -- Edward Bowen, Ron Klepper and Daniel Shapiro -- also said they were abused as teens at the school. Another man, Joseph Cumming, was seen in a recorded statement.

Allred called the alleged abuse "shocking."

The current headmaster of the Bronx school did not respond to an email request, nor to a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The school has said it is cooperating with a review of the situation by the Bronx district attorney's office.

Allred said she represented 25 former students who claim they were abused, three women and 22 men. She said 20 of them have reached settlements with Horace Mann.

Some Horace Mann alumni who formed a coalition to address the allegations have hired former judge and sex crimes prosecutor Leslie Crocker Snyder to conduct an independent investigation of the alleged abuse.

Allred said she was waiting to see whether the school would agree to conduct its own investigation before deciding whether she would advise her clients to participate in the alumni effort.

She said it was important for the school to commit to an investigation, so that any records it possesses could be brought to light.

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