Lawyer Gloria Allred demands another investigation into Horace Mann child sex abuse charges
One day after a Horace Mann alumni group announced it was hiring former judge and prosecutor Leslie Crocker Snyder to conduct an independent probe of the sex scandals alleged to have taken place there in the 1970s through the 1990s, lawyer Gloria Allred demanded that the elite private institution investigate itself.
At a midtown press conference where victims - some now graying and balding- graphically described how they were raped and molested as children by administrators and teachers, Allred urged Horace Mann to conduct an "immediate, independent and transparent investigationt with a public report at its conclusion. She also urged the New York State Legislature to pass the Markey Bill (AB 1771), which eliminates the statute of limitations in criminal and civil actions involving child sex abuse cases.
The alleged incidents at Horace Mann are unique in the history of school sex scandals because they involved a pedophile ring of "more than a dozen teachers and administrators" including the Horace Mann headmaster and eventual president, Russell Inslee "Inky" Clark Jr., who died in 1999, Allred said. Also, the "horrific sexual abuse" continued for nearly 25 years, victimizing more than 30 children, she added.
Snyder, who attended the press conference, maintained that an impartial, independent investigation was preferable to asking Horace Mann to investigate itself. "Horace Mann claims (its records) were destroyed in a fire," said Snyder, adding that she and the Action Coalition "have ample other avenues," to assemble evidence and narratives. Snyder said she too, plans to issue a public report after she concludes her interviews and research.
"The idea that there is a hidden cache of documents is, I think, a shibboleth," added Robert S. Boynton, an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and a member of the Horace Mann Action Coalition.
Allred's firm represents 22 male and three female victims of the pedophile ring that allegedly operated at the school. Twenty of her clients reached settlements, she said.
Horace Mann did not respond to requests for comment.