Baltimore private school: Teacher abused students in '90s

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BALTIMORE (AP) — A private school in Baltimore has acknowledged that a former teacher and coach sexually abused students in the 1990s and the academy “could have done more” to determine if others had been harmed.

The headmaster at the all-boys Gilman School, Henry Smyth, said in a Thursday email to parents and alumni that Martin Meloy “engaged in sexually abusive behavior” with students on separate occasions at his home in Baltimore County. Smyth said the school reported the allegations against Meloy to authorities after victims informed Gilman leadership of the abuse in 2008.

The Baltimore County state's attorney's office reached a nonprosecution agreement with Meloy in 2009, which banned him from having unsupervised contact with minors. He died in 2015.

State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger told The Associated Press on Friday that he recalls “at least one, perhaps two victims” came forward in 2008. He said his office believed the allegations but did not feel there was “sufficient evidence to win a criminal trial.”

Through the agreement, Shellenberger said, his office achieved the goal of having Meloy “stop teaching and agreeing not to teach and be around minors ever again.”

It was not immediately clear who represented Meloy during discussions with prosecutors. Relatives listed on his obituary could not immediately be reached by phone.

Smyth wrote that the school at the time prioritized contacting authorities and keeping Meloy away from students. He added that “with the benefit of hindsight,” current leadership believes the school could have tried to determine if there were other victims.

“Recently, one of the survivors of Meloy’s abuse reached out to us again," Smyth said. “Together, we considered the situation through the lens of society’s evolving recognition and understanding of both the great harm caused by such abusive relationships and best practices for prevention of and response to such abuse.”

The school is now launching a third-party investigation into the “nature and extent of abused experienced.” Smyth encouraged anyone who has experienced or knows about sexually abusive behavior involving faculty or staff members to contact the investigating firm, New York-based T&M Protection Resources, regardless of when the abuse happened.

Gilman is not the first private school in Maryland to acknowledged sexual abuse allegations against faculty.

In April, McDonogh School told parents it had found evidence that five former faculty members sexually assaulted more than 20 students over several decades. The boarding school in Owings Mills said it launched an investigation in 2016 when a former student from the 1980s told officials he had been sexually assaulted by two former faculty members.

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