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Re: Link to informative article about Lawrence Lessing, sexual abuse, etc

Posted by Perry on May 23, 2005 at 14:16:06

In Reply to: Link to informative article about Lawrence Lessing, sexual abuse, etc posted by locke on May 23, 2005 at 08:28:40:

You're right, there are many parallels. Though long, the article is worth reading. Here's just a couple things I noted: One of the paedophiles mentioned in the story fled to Mexico, and the main perpetrator is still in hiding, possibly in Switzerland, France or Canada.

The choir school is fighting to the bitter end in court, and it's current leaders seem to be in complete denial. Here's a couple paragraphs from the article that illustrate that:

"Lessig [one of the lawyers handling the appeal] was floored. Enacted in 1958, amended in 1995, the Charitable Immunity Act, as he understood it, was designed to shield nonprofits from being sued for negligence. But Hardwicke’s suit had nothing to do with negligence—his injuries had been inflicted intentionally. Thus Sabatino’s ruling was “flagrantly wrong,” Lessig says. “Here was this innocent who was being doubly screwed—first literally by the Boychoir and now by the legal system.”"

"Angry as Lessig was at the opinion, he was angrier at the school. “It’s like, what the fuck?” he says. “You know this happened. You know this was pervasive. Why do you force people to hire lawyers to fight all these bullshit claims when you know you’re guilty? You ought to be figuring out ways to make people whole again. It’s this failure to take responsibility for what they did that just began to make me furious.”"

"Edwards’s [current head of the school] frustration with all of this isn’t hard to comprehend. The abuse took place long ago; today, the school is safe and ever-vigilant, he says. “The irony is, probably the one person who will never bear any burden if there is a judgment against the school is Donald Hanson,” Edwards notes. “The people who are bearing the burden now are our students, faculty, parents, and trustees, none of whom were around in 1970 and 1971.”"

"All of that is true, of course. But one of the legal system’s central functions is to allocate responsibility for harms that occurred even decades ago—thus creating incentives for sound behavior in the future."

"Yet despite Greenblatt’s assertions to the contrary, what shines through all the school’s dealings with Hardwicke is a stark unwillingness to countenance that the plaintiff might be telling the truth. “I don’t know a lot about what the school was like in 1970 and 1971,” Edwards says. “I do know that the kind of schedule we live with today doesn’t leave enough time for what John Hardwicke describes happened multiple times a day. That sort of thing—I just find it very hard to believe.”"