BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Following a grand jury report released two weeks ago detailing almost six decades of sexual abuse at the Solebury School in Bucks County, one of the victims on Friday filed a civil lawsuit in Philadelphia alleging administrators at the school failed to act in her defense.
The now 29-year-old woman claims she was in a sexual relationship with a teacher at the Solebury School from 2003 until 2005 that began when she was just 17 years old.
She was one of six people to testify during the Bucks County grand jury investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at the school, and that administrators declined to take any action regarding the complaints.
Attorney Marci Hamilton read part of a statement from the victim, who says the abuse left her deeply damaged in almost every aspect of her life.
“By the school not taking true responsibility for its actions, each victim will continue to carry the weight and the guilt of these crimes as I have, and will continue to feel that they were at fault,” Hamilton said.
The victim also claims that after she reported the relationship that she became the target of harassment from the teacher’s wife, who lived on campus with her husband.
While she is moving forward with civil litigation, her attorneys said she hasn’t decided yet if she will pursue criminal charges. Under state law, she has till her 50th birthday to decide if she will.
Tom Wilschutz, head of the school, said in a statement that the school is striving to “move forward with openness and integrity for the victims of abuse.”
“Because this matter is now before the court, I won’t be providing any further information about this case, which was filed on behalf of one of the former students referenced in the recent report from the Bucks County Investigating Grand Jury. This former student, who graduated in 2005, came forward in response to the letter in 2014 from Solebury School where we asked any student with any allegation or concerns to report it either to the school or the District Attorney. I have not reviewed the filing at this point,” Wilschutz said. “I and the members of the faculty, administration and staff at Solebury School have made extensive efforts since my arrival as Head in 2008 to strengthen our policies, procedures and training to ensure our students gain all of the benefits of a Solebury education in a safe and protective atmosphere. That is our top priority and we are vigilant in following those policies and looking for additional areas of improvement. The School’s Board of Trustees has been fully supportive of these efforts. As I have said previously, we strive to move forward with openness and integrity for the victims of abuse, for our entire community and for this institution that we care for so deeply.”