Dear Emma Community,
As promised in our communications since July, 2016, we have been determined to share and confront the facts surrounding sexual abuse at Emma Willard School.
Today, we present you with the complete results of the external audit conducted by child protection experts Leslie M. Gomez and Gina Maisto Smith of the law firm Cozen O'Connor. You can access the report on our website here and at https://issuu.com/emmawillard/docs/report. We are making it available to everyone in the Emma community.
As a community, we collectively offer our compassion and support. We apologize profoundly to all who have been harmed. We offer our apology with humility, knowing that words are insufficient and long overdue. As each victim and others who were impacted heal, our community heals.
This investigation was undertaken so that we understand, plan and educate about sexual misconduct. We are taking responsibility for the past so that our future is different. As one alumna summarized, “To know better is to do better.”
This report reflects a choice we have made: to transparency, to listening, to accountability and to change. Alumnae names have been eliminated from this report in order to ensure confidentiality and privacy of our community members, as they have requested. Please join us in respecting their personal courage and protecting their vulnerability. The decision to publish names of perpetrators was one that was carefully weighed. Factors that led to disclosures of identity included some or any of the following: where there were multiple first-hand accounts, an admission of guilt, or a single report was corroborated by school documents and/or police records.
While this report marks the end of this one important milestone, it is certainly not the end of our efforts. Emma Willard will continue to investigate any and all cases of abuse brought forward, partnering with Troy law enforcement. Our reporting protocols can be found at Emmawillard.org/healthyboundaries and we encourage anyone with additional information to come forward to representatives at the school, Gomez and Smith at Cozen O’Connor, or the Troy Police Department. Cozen O’Connor will monitor the anonymous tip line at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Review_EWS.
We are committed to the change in our culture, our policies, and our curriculum that comes with our awareness of this issue. We bring resolve and purpose to build a better, safer school. We have shared with the community the details of many of those changes and efforts to date. We have also begun to frame a dialogue that we hope will ultimately bring change to how we and our peer institutions deal with abuse on campus. In all our efforts, we honor the example and leadership of the women whose voices we hear in this report.
Today our school, our trustees, our students, our alumnae and our entire community listen, learn and build a different future for our Emma girls.
This is a day for reflecting on the collective experiences of all Emma girls. Our community is deeply appreciative of all who have brought this history into the daylight. In so doing, you embody our purpose: "to serve and shape her world".
Elisabeth Allen LeFort '72
Chair of Board of Trustees
Dr. Susan R. Groesbeck
Head of School, Interim