BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS)—A scathing report released on Wednesday by authorities in Bucks County details more than 50 years of sexual abuse within a Pennsylvania school.
According to the Bucks County District Attorney, the incidents happened from the 1950s through 2005 at the Solebury School—a college preparatory school for 7th- through 12th-grade boarding and day students.
For decades, it’s alleged that students as young as 14 were lured into sexual relationships on and off the school’s 90-acre campus.
In the grand jury report made public today, one witness recounts a time when she alerted school administrators about having sex with a teacher, but administrators did nothing beyond telling the teacher and student to stop having contact with each other.
District Attorney Matthew Weintraub says the relaxed environment of the school allowed students and teachers to mingle inappropriately while the administrators turned a blind eye.
DA on campus culture: one case at Solsbury School a nude art class model did not show up so the teacher stripped down and served as model
— Alexandria Hoff (@AlexandriaHoff) February 1, 2017
“It was culturally accepted at this school that if you were employed there it was OK if you wanted to have sexual relations with your students. There were no lines of authority,” Weintraub told CBS 3’s Alexandria Hoff.
Weintraub also said in a statement, “Solebury School violated this social compact for over 50 years. Its prior administrations practiced willful blindness while its teachers took advantage of the parents’ trust and violated the children in their care. Preying on these children was like shooting fish in a barrel. This was child predation under the guise of progressive education. It’s unconscionable.”
Authorities say in 1996, teacher David Chadwick was arrested by Solebury Township police on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child under 16.
The victim, who was a former student, alleges she and Chadwick had sex throughout her sophomore year from 1993-1994.
Chadwick later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one to three years in prison.
Other incidents released in the report detail testimony from some of the victims who have come forward.
A retired social worker claims she was lured into a sexual relationship by her teacher from her junior year until she was 22. Now, 77, she says the sexual abuse required her to be in therapy most of her life.
In another incident, a male teacher allegedly took a male student off campus to a house of a school volunteer where he was drugged and raped. Now, 62, the victim says he needed surgery from injuries due rectal damage.
Authorities say in each of the abuse cases, the former students said that school administrators knew about the illegal relationships but refused to discipline their staff.
The grand jury has found each of the victim witnesses to be credible and has identified nine teachers who could have been prosecuted, but due to statute of limitations, the time frame in which the accused could be prosecuted has expired.
“Since they are serving a life sentence, we should be able to prosecute the perpetrators for the rest of their lives as well,” Weintraub said.
Weintraub details a most recent case involving a 17-year-old’s sexual relationship with a teacher. But the victim has declined to prosecute the teacher because she doesn’t want to “relive the abuse and testify in open court.”
While not in leadership at the time of the crimes, the school’s current headmaster, Tom Wilschultz, admits the school is guilty and has instituted new policies to prevent this type of activity.
In order to further protect students, Wilschultz has implemented a strong policy for reporting allegations of sexual misconduct and holds annual instruction and training in setting boundaries with students.
In 2014, Wilschultz issued a mass mailing telling the community of the allegations against the school and acknowledged fault.
The grand jury says more must be done, adding that teachers need to be tested for drugs and alcohol, security needs to be increased and administrators should be immediately fired when there is a founded allegation.