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Ex-Horace Mann students allege sex abuse

The Horace Mann School, a prestigious private Manhattan academy, was plagued in the 1980s and early 1990s by a series of teachers who sexually abused students, several former students said in a New York Times Magazine story.

The students, mostly identified by letters in their names, accused three now-deceased teachers of repeatedly molesting them and other pupils.

The article was written by Amos Kamil, a 1982 Horace Mann graduate. He doesn't claim to have been abused, but describes questionable interactions with teachers, including being taken out for a drunken evening by two faculty members at age 17 and being subjected to "long, creepy touches" by a swim coach.

Three other students described being sexually abused by an assistant football coach during bogus mandatory "physical exams." The coach, also an art teacher, was forced out of the school after one student complained. He died in 2004.

Horace Mann also forced the resignation of the swimming coach, a history teacher, after a student accused him of making an unwanted sexual advance. That teacher later killed himself.

The article also describes allegations against a noted conductor and longtime head of Horace Mann's arts and music department. Two students, speaking anonymously, told Kamil they were molested by the conductor, who died last year at 75 from stroke complications.

Former administrators became aware of at least one sex abuse allegation against the conductor in 1993. The headmaster, Phil Foote, said he took the issue to trustees, but said they opposed action after his denials.

Current administrators declined to talk about specific cases, but said in a letter to the school community the allegations were "highly disturbing and absolutely abhorrent."

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