Fessenden School abuse scandal: It gets worse

(UPDATES: Fessenden is finally being sued over this terrible affair. Details at the bottom of this post. See also the stories that alumni from the 1940s-1980s have left in the comments section below, and check out the follow-up blog post prompted by the 2016 Globe Spotlight team investigation) I don’t tell people too much about my middle school experience. I attended a private school in Newton, Massachusetts, called the Fessenden School, which is currently embroiled in a terrible sexual abuse scandal. I’ll talk about my own experience first, before getting in to contents of a letter I just received from Fessenden. The scandal goes much further than the initial reports of a single pedophile assistant headmaster at the school. And just to be clear, I am not a victim of abuse at the Fessenden … but some of the victims and their stories are described in the linked articles as well in the comments.

I attended Fessenden in the early 1980s. I hated it. It was the type of place where put-downs and other small cruelties reigned, and kids’ personality flaws were amplified. A strict social hierarchy emerged, with the jocks and some of the cruelest kids at the top, and the frailest and neediest kids on the bottom.

One recollection comes from the very first day I stepped into the school. I was visiting as a precursor to applying, and another boy took me around. He was friendly enough, but then while we were walking down one of the basement hallways between classes he suddenly attacked another student. It was clear there was some history between them. They began to fight, and in a few seconds they were writhing on the floor, wrestling each other. In less than a minute, my guide came out on top, brushed himself off, smiled like it was no big deal, and continued the tour.

I was baffled by this, but didn’t say anything. Maybe this was normal behavior for middle-school aged kids, I thought. Indeed, once I began attending the Fessenden School I got tangled up in similar fights from time to time (once I was even egged on by other students in the big room outside the headmaster’s office). I am not a fighter, and never got into physical fights before or after attending Fessenden. But at that school, things were different.

I did not understand it at the time, but the fights, bullying, and other physical and mental put-downs were actually part of the deep-rooted culture of the Fessenden School. It had been stewing for decades. As described in the letter below and in the comments section of this post, some especially dark, sick episodes involving abuse had taken place, leaving scores of victims who are still haunted to this day. While there was somewhat of a house cleaning in the late 70s preceding my arrival and during my first two years there, the Lord of the Flies culture continued to fester.

Fessenden School abuse scandal
Fessenden School

Some Fessenden teachers were good, but there were a few who participated in the cruelty-based social structure. I remember one time being picked up by my lapels and screamed at by a teacher with his face just inches away from my own, for making the mistake of visiting one of my friend’s dorms during the day. He was the beloved “house master” of one of Fessenden’s dorms, and this was how he informed me that visitors were not allowed during the day. I was shocked and absolutely terrified.

I remember the morning in 1981 or 1982 when Fessenden’s headmaster (Mr. Burnham) announced in a grave tone that a relatively new teacher had been dismissed. The reason? As I recall, the teacher had been caught serving alcohol to a student in his quarters on campus. Think about that for a moment. A teacher at Fessenden, serving alcohol to a boy who was at most 15 years old (Fessy only went up to 9th grade). Besides the hiring, training, and policy issues that allowed this to happen, what sort of culture had to be in place for a teacher to think that it was OK to invite a boy to your room and give him beer or booze?

A lot of the boys (there were no girls) at the Fessenden School were children of the wealthy, who were parked there by their parents who were seeking some sort of Americanized version of a British boarding school, with apple-cheeked young preppies marching around in blazers and ties. As a day student who lived nearby, I didn’t have to deal with the sleepover aspect of the Fessy experience. But it was pretty sad, especially for some of the youngest boys. If they were lucky, they got to go home for the weekend. If they weren’t so lucky, they were there seven days a week. Every weekend, I would see small packs from this group walking down to the local village center to buy candy and magazines. My parents, who still live in the area, tell me that the same sad ritual continues.

I have only a few positive memories of the school. There was a winter nature trip to Western Mass. with a small group of students led by a wonderful teacher named Mr. Olsen. There was also a hands-on experience learning about computers and programming from Mr. Carey, our British computer science instructor and a roomful of Apple II+ and Apple IIe computers. That sparked an interest in technology that continues to this day (I am a publisher of how-to guides about LinkedIn, Google Drive, Twitter, etc.).

But most of my time there was not fun. After 8th grade, I couldn’t stand Fessenden anymore, and happily returned to the Newton public school system. I haven’t had any contact with the Fessenden School or my classmates for over 20 years. As a parent, I would never consider putting my own kids through such an experience, even before the news that just came to light.

Fessenden School abuse scandal hits the local media

A few days ago, there were some reports in the Boston Globe about abuse carried out by one of Fessenden’s assistant headmasters, Arthur Clarridge, in the mid to late 1970s. That was bad enough, but the letter I just received from the current Fessenden headmaster David Stettler (reproduced below) is positively horrifying. It’s not just a case of one bad apple for a few years in the 1970s, but a pattern of alleged abuse and “inappropriate sexual behavior” at Fessenden School or involving Fessenden students starting in the 1960s, continuing through the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. As recently as the late 2000s, a teacher was apparently engaged in sexual contact with a just-graduated student, and was fired in June 2010. Fessenden’s response? Informing the parents, and filing the “required documentation” with the state. It’s only after the Globe report that the school has begun to let everyone else know about the investigations, and to offer counseling to anyone who was victimized.

It’s too little, too late. In my mind, a hierarchical school culture that is buttressed by cruelty and physical bullying, aided by successive administrations who wanted to sweep allegations of abuse under the rug, led to repeated incidents of this nature, and needless emotional trauma for the victims. Although Fessenden undoubtedly wants this news to disappear, they should be doing everything in their power to:

  1. Determine which faculty, staff, and students were responsible for sexually abusing other students
  2. Report the incidents to the police and DAs office, not just to satisfy the minimum “required documentation” rules, but to help authorities prosecute anyone who has broken laws relating to abuse or sexual assault
  3. Re-examine the cultural aspects that allowed this state of affairs to persist for decades, with an eye toward developing a plan to make concrete changes that will not only protect students, but also help them thrive in a way that truly brings out the best parts of their character and the best elements of the community.

Fessenden School lawsuit

UPDATE December 2014: The Newton Tab reports that attorney Michael Garabedian, who represents victims of abuse at the Fessenden School, is taking the school to court. According to the article:

“Garabedian said he represents six adults who say they were sexually abused by Fessenden employees both on and off campus between 1968 and 1976. The victims were between 10 and 13 years old at the time of the alleged assaults.”

The article also quotes the attorney as saying:

“Their procedures in the past failed children,” Garabedian said. “They should be sitting down with victims to help them heal and learn how those failures took place. As educators they should be learning from their mistakes.” Garabedian said Fessenden has made “empty gestures” toward his clients in addressing their allegations.

The 2014 Newton Tab article can be read here. The Boston Globe also has an article. The timeline of the Fessenden School lawsuit is not certain.

Note that the timeline of abuse started in the 1940s, according to alumni who have left comments on this blog. Please scroll down the page to see their stories. I also encourage readers to share this post via Facebook, Twitter, and email, so other victims/survivors/witnesses can learn about the case.

Spotlight team investigation of Fessenden and other New England prep schools

On May 8 2016, the Boston Globe Spotlight team published an investigation of rampant sexual abuse at Fessenden and other New England prep schools. There are many stories from some of the brave former Fessy students who stepped forward. See some of the data from the report and my reaction on Spotlight exposes more abuse at Fessenden and other prep schools. Why no investigation?.

Stettler’s 2018 letter to alumni

Damage control again, in the waning days of Headmaster Stettler’s administration. Read Headmaster David Stettler’s latest (and probably last) letter to Fessenden alumni.

The 2011 letter from the school can be viewed by clicking on the images below:

Fessenden School

Fessenden abuse

A note about comments: You are solely responsible for the comments that you leave on this blog post. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the author of this blog and the hosting service are not liable for comments left by readers. Per the Digital Media Law Project, “Immunity covers defamation and privacy claims, as well as negligence and other tort claims associated with publication.”

About: My name is Ian Lamont. To contact me, please email ianlamont -at- yahoo dot com


253 thoughts on “Fessenden School abuse scandal: It gets worse

  1. Hello whoever you are,

    I graduated from Fessenden in 1960, and I can assure that some teachers used systematic torture and torment on boys who had absolutely no protection as they were dropped off there and forsaken by their parents.
    The brother of the headmaster, Hart Fessenden, tried some hanky panky with me, bur fortunately desisted when he noticed my tears.
    Well, whatever, I would surely hope you contact me, and will then go into more detail. Jesus, was I shocked when I got that letter from the present headmaster, David B. Stettler.

    Hope to hear from you soon, John Kilborn ’60

  2. I left this school after eighth grade. It was a complete hellhole. I was a day student and not a boarder, and I barely made it. I can only hope they make attempts to eradicate the bullying problem in that school.

  3. I had a wonderful time at Fessenden and found it a nurturing and supportive environment. I’m sorry you did not share that experience and I hope some of those wrongs are able to be put right.

  4. Mr. Lamont,
    With all due respect, you clearly do not know very much about the school in its current state. I write this comment on behalf of the ENTIRE graduating class of 2012. When I first read this, I turned to my closest friends in the world; my fessy classmates. WE bonded together as a class in many different ways, and no “social hierarchy” took place. WE still talk, every single day, using a class page on facebook. If you had attended our graduation last year, you would have seen students crying as they said their last goodbyes to teachers. This included nearly everyone in our grade. OUR teachers, were our friends. At no point in my life have I felt a more close connection to a group of people. So please, before you talk badly about a place that so many young men LOVE, get your facts straight.

    • My son was the class of 2014. I know that he had classmates that had no option but to leave Fessenden because they were bullied. There certainly were behaviors in the locker room that were ignored and went unreported, that were inappropriate.
      The school had no incentive to dismiss the aggressors in the several situations of which I am aware because they were VIP kids. Although, as far as I know, there was no sexual abuse on campus during his boarding, I do know that that there were drugs on campus. There are still older single gentlemen that live with the boys on campus that “hang out” with the boys, and there is an “ick” factor. Fessy is a private institution and the amount of effort and staffing put into creating an image to market the school far surpasses the level of commitment to the individual students. It seems as if you had a tight-knit class and that is wonderful for you.
      You don’t have all the facts.

      • Who was your son? Just wondering because I am a Fessenden alum class of 2014.

      • I have 4 witnesses to the knockouts in the locker room. I would like to hear your sons comments to the locker room.

        John Sweeney

  5. I attended ‘Fessy’ in the late 70’s and early 80’s. A terrible experience. Though nothing directly happened to me – though there was constant knowledge of ‘stuff happening’. A janitor who used to let border boys sneak down (to maintanence tunnels – under the buildings) and smoke cigarettes and look at hustler magazines with a forty year old bearded man? What’s up with that? Constant racism among both students and staff. I recall the ruthless use of a racial slur by one of the math teachers. Two obviously ‘off’ soccer coaches (also ‘teachers’)who would make the boys do ‘leg lifts’ til they squirmed – while looking up the boys shorts and giggling like girls…? Another teacher who would crack a window and smoke cigerettes during tests…. and another famous for throwing a wooden board eraser at ones head – if one missed a question. Or, more famously, give you the ‘chinese bicycle’ (grabbing and spinning the boys peach fuzz side burns until they came off his head). There was a perverse sense of cruelty to the system that began with the staff. They also turned a blind eye to the students outright abuse of those smaller, younger, fatter, different – or less fortunate than themselves. A culture of torture is correct. ‘Hackers’ were sometimes manhandled by the teachers – thrown or hip checked into walls or batted across the head- but this was nothing to the strange goings on in the locker rooms and showers where younger boys were often thrown into the dirty towel hamper naked – this doesn’t sound that bad, when described as such, but the towels were often used by the spoiled brats as toilet paper. Crap covered towels were often thrown on top of really little kids. There was also pissing on smaller kids in the showers ….and so on and so forth. I recall one overweight kid who was hit so hard with a tennis racket he had waffle-mark bruises on his body for weeks. What a demented place…. It should be closed for ever – if only as it apparently continues to be a magnet for strange goings on and the unwanted children of despots and the aspiring and undercaring families that can afford to dump their progeny. I recall some things I dont even want to mention, like the boy that was apparently held down and ‘raped’ by the hands of several other boys a couple of years after I left… There was also something involving a lacrosse stick from what I recall… It was a Zoo. ‘Lord of the Flies’ and the staff egged it on, presumably happy with the chaos and fear working to effects they desired… possibly for their own intents. There was nothing redeeming about the place and its pathetic attempts to measure up to real schools of similar ilk – but with better supervision and standards. If it was really meant to be a place to train kids for Ivy League college why are all the staff from B grade educations? More importantly, Why aren’t there cops on the premises at this point?

  6. I remember the day in 1977 that the police and FBI closed the Fessenden school off and arrested Arthur Claridge and James Dallman because I was a student at the time. I believe the event hit headmaster Mr. Coffin very hard. He committed suicide later in life. There was abuse in the school, verbal and physical, although I cannot personally state there was sexual, but I would not be surprised. Dallman taught my 5th grade english class and he used to kick students and yell horribly at them. There were good teachers at the school. After the arrests, the students were often teased viciously by students at other schools. It was a hard, if not terrifying, time. The most immediate answer at the time was not to talk about it, do nothing, and push it under the rug. My knowledge is none of the people involved in the multi-state round-up arrests went to prison because they were convicted of offenses. My knowledge is Claridge bargained his way out as a witness but I do not know what happened to Dallman or the rest of the men arrested. You can find original newspaper articles if you do a web search.

  7. I was a student there in the late 70s and early 80s and I was also a victim of the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse (and yes, I can personally attest to the janitor who let us look at porn in his steam tunnel office). The place was hellish. I was a 5 day boarder (which meant I got to go home on weekends). I recall crying every sunday night not wanting to go back, but the reputation the school seemed to sway my parents decisions more than the rantings of an inarticulate crying boy.

    When I got the letter from the headmaster I was incensed. Not so much at the abuse and torture that they were finally admitting to, but in the last paragraph where they said they had chosen not to share to issues with the current boys at the school. I wrote back telling him that was exactly what the problem was when I was a kid there: getting someone — anyone — to listen and take notice. The school then (and sadly, now it seems) thrives by isolating the boys and making them feel alone and helpless.

    • When I got the letter I felt like I was punched in the gut. Claridge was beyond creepy. Dallman was a weirdo but a decent teacher. He would make sure we all got naked and took showers after sports. Sure there are some pics out there if boys from the mid to late 70s.
      The school never bothered to ask any of us if we were abused – not one question. There should have been counselors. I came out later in life because I thought being gay was to be a molester.

  8. I have been following responses to the scandal and there are corrections needed. The time frame of abuses should start earlier. I attended Fessenden in the late forties and early fifties. The starting ages of abused should be younger in that students were boarded starting with first grade, lets say at age six. I attended Fessenden grades one through five, seven days a week.

    At this time I feel comfortable in sharing the following story: I ran away from Fessenden school. I was trying to find my divorced parents and have them take me away from that terrible place. I was found and taken back to the headmasters house on campus. I know it was late because I was greeted by the headmaster , Hart Fessenden, as he was coming down the stairs in his bathrobe and slippers. If ever a child needed love it was then. Instead I got his belt. Running away from school is not the same as cutting school. I have been told that I would have been better treated in an orphanage. There was no love at Fessenden. I hated that place.

  9. UPDATE on previous post

    I believe that a story needs balance. I have shared my worst moment while at Fessenden.
    Let me now share my favorite moment. There was a staff member, I think her name was Mrs. Robinson, that lived in a small white house on or just off campus. Sometimes she would, on her own, have a small groups of us seven day boarders over for breakfast on Saturday Morning. (REMEMBER THE COLD STERILE DINING HALL ON CAMPUS WITH THOSE BIG ROUND TABLES) . We got to be in a real home and kitchen. As I recall we even were allowed to help make the pancakes. She was very kind.

    • John,
      Funny you mention Mrs.Robinson. When I went to dance class at Fessy in early 70s I remember dancing with a girl named Jemma Robinson; what was Interesting I remember at the time was that she said she had lived in a house on Fessenden campus , which is the one you refer and was later Mr. Gibsons house.

  10. Let me just say, I too attended Fessenden from1980-84 and was a 7 day boarder. I was in the same class as Mr. Lamont and for me, did not have the dismal horrible experiences at this school that the other posts on this blog have indicated. For me, my experience at Fessenden is one that I look back at with pride. I am not saying that the accusations from the previous individuals are inaccurate or false. What I am saying is that my 4 years there were an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. The school did have some faculty that I felt were very questionable at times, but for the most part for me there were some outstanding teachers that instilled a sense of confidence, honesty and compassion for others that I lacked considerably prior to attending this school. And let me give a heartfelt nod to some teachers there that made all the difference. Mr Putnam, Bill Maynard, Tom and Nancy Schenck, Emily Conrad, Dan Senecal, Mr Burnham, Mr Olson, Deb Putnam, Bruce Sullivan, Jim Scheideggar, Peter Bradley, Mr Carey, and the late Frank and Edith Wheldon. I know I have left some out here, but these teachers were to me some of the nicest, warmest individuals that I have ever met and have given me memories that I will always hold dear. I don’t want to diminish nor discredit in any way what horrible events and or experiences that happened to some students and alumni at Fessenden; it saddens me to hear of such happenings. I do want to say that for me, Fessenden was a special part of my life and instilled many core values and wonderful experiences that I am very thankful for. Just wanted to counter some of the “horrible place”and “he’ll on earth” descriptions that have been said here. I personally don’t feel it speaks for the majority, and if by chance it does, many of the students I went to school with there deserve an academy award for “faking it”. My .02.
    Lanier P. class of ’84

    • Lanier: I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to share your own positive experiences at Fessenden. I think it is important to acknowledge that many students, perhaps even the majority, had educational and social experiences that were mostly positive.

      However, as we have seen from this comment thread, there are other students who had experiences that were not so positive, or indeed, were mostly negative. I found myself nodding in agreement while reading many of the names on your list of “nicest, warmest” teachers, but I would like to point out that your list also includes the person who was responsible for the screaming, lapel-lifting episode I described in my blog post. Another name on the list belongs to a second teacher who I witnessed doing almost the same thing to another student for wising off in his class — as I recall, the teacher picked him up by his lapels, slammed the student against the wall, and then shouted furiously into his face. I know dealing with tweens can be frustrating at times, but a professional educator, laying his hands on a 12-year-old boy for mouthing off? Looking back, I have to question the thought processes of the teacher and the culture of the institution that led to this type of behavior among certain faculty members.

      Other former students who have left comments on this blog post have described more serious incidents over the decades by top officers of the school — see the recollections by John Roberts and John Kilborn, above. Then there are the multiple claims that Fessenden admitted in 2011, which led the current headmaster to state in his letter that the sexual abuse “may have been broader in scope than we once had reason to believe.” The victims of such abuse may not have been in the majority, but their recollections and suffering should not be discounted.

      Ian Lamont

    • Yeah Its tough to hear all this again. But going on the website did make me remember the good teachers I had- Maynard( mrs maynard was wonderful) the basinets( and their daughters ) mr and mrs Fitz, the Boyjadiens, Mr Emmons( who we watched Bruins games with in Hyde III, The Lusbys, Mr St. John, mr Paine, mrs Kerr, and the Roberts. All of them
      Had a great impact on me and others for sure and if you are reading this, thank you

    • Lanier.
      I hope and I believe that things are much much better now at Fessenden. I got there because some professional asshat thought it would be a good idea and my Father has been taught at St Paul’s by Mr Burnham. That made up their minds.
      I didn’t have a good experience. Questionable, at best, things were going on. To say those were cherished moments as you stated is delusional.
      My name is John Nauman

  11. Ian, be no means am I discrediting the absolutely horrible allegations made by the former students that have chimed in here. Sexual misconduct in any way needs to be dealt with under the strictest measures of the law and those responsible need to be punished to the fullest extent, those affected by such individuals given help, counseling and whatever it takes to heal those scars which sadly never go away. That being said, I do take issue with some recantes of “the cigarette sharing” janitor known to let boys look at his porn mag collection in the steam tunnels. I scratch my head when I hear this. Why didn’t anyone say anything about this guy? One of the core values the school tried to promote, as well as one that my parents very strongly advocated to me at the age of about 2 years old was ‘Honesty’. This guy could have been gone if just one student had the balls to speak up, be honest and tell someone; a teacher, headmaster, a staff member, their parents to name a few. The school can only do so much in a background check, screen ect. It is incredibly easy to circumvent even the most strengent employee screen, and this is where the follow up job rests with people being upfront, proactive and speaking up when they see something going on that they KNOW is detrimental, inappropriate and just wrong. This janitor was not there when I was, but doing the math from the alumni posts on this blog, it seems he had a quite popular gig going on for a few years. I don’t find fault with Fessenden on this, like I said, you can only know so much of an individual thru a background check or screen….but I surmise that this guys long stint as a creep in the subterranean corridors of Fessenden would have been short lived had someone had the balls to say something about it. I’ll share a story that relates here. My first year at Fessenden I had a dorm parent that was also my math teacher. He was a nice guy, good teacher, it was also his first year at the school. One weekend the building that my dorm was in had a fire alarm. It was about the third in as many days and the procedure was always the same, the dorm parents gathered up and checked to make sure each an every student was accounted for, the we proceeded down the stairs and out of the building to a predetermined area for roll call and to await an “all clear” for reentry

  12. (Sorry, thumb hit the post comment button by mistake…see above )

    As the fire alarm blared in the hall of the dorm, all of us gathered and awaited for the dorm parent to lead us to out of the building and to our muster location, however this time, the dorm parent was not there. I had just seen him an hour or so earlier going into his room. Concerned, I knocked on his door. No answer. I knocked much harder and finally the door opened, with a clearly drunk Mr Xxxxxxxxx standing in the doorway in his birthday suit. He yelled at me to F-off and slammed the door in my face. Needless to say I mentioned this incident to another teacher later that evening and the next day, I had a new dorm parent and math teacher. A month later, Mr Xxxxxxxxx was the waiter at my table during a dinner with my parents at the Marriott Newton.
    I want to be clear in saying that I am deeply saddened to hear of the sexual abuse, the inappropriate behavior by some teachers, and other disturbing events that happened to some students while attending Fessenden. But I honestly don’t feel my experience there was a fluke. My stumbling upon this blog was a fluke, but in doing so I feel the exact same need to stress my point here. I am speaking up, not choosing to remain quiet and look the other way. I had many great times at Fessenden, and I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything. My parents sought a better education for me, and I got it. They did not dump me off.
    Finally, I hope that all those why were involved in the earlier mentioned abuse story get the help they need and heal to the best that they can, and that the perpetrators are held accountable and receive punishment to the fullest extent.
    With respect,
    Lanier P

  13. Let me just put it out there. I have no clue of what went down at Fessenden during the 1970s. Needless to say, there were also so many other schools during the 70’s that have physically/ verbally abused students. Regardless of what happened, and what people from the 70’s have said about Fessenden begin a “hellhole”, The Fessenden School IS my second home. Even though I graduated last year and thriving in a prestigious secondary school, leaving Fessenden was undeniably one of the most depressing times I have confronted in my life. Fessenden truly follows their motto of “honesty, compassion and respect” The dean of students do an exceptional job from preventing hierarchies, and there are very little times when the Dean of Students takes disciplinary action upon a student. The athletics, academics, and the close-knit community is what makes Fessenden such a unique school. Here, at this school, no one is different. We are all the same. We are all proud of who we are, as we all strive for a better future helping each other out. I would always hate flying back home during the breaks because I would not be able to meet my friends. I recall spending much of my time skyping my friends, and these days with some of my teachers that have helped me grow, find my path, and to make right decisions in order to thrive in the future. I am truly indebted to Fessenden, and there is no other school like Fessenden. Fessenden may have made a mistake in the past, but they take no shame in telling us those mistakes that we made. I do recall during my Personal Growth class, on how Fessenden has made these mistakes in the past. Im also going to put it out there. There are so many other schools that has had worse conflicts than these. Fessenden is our second home, and I take pride in being a Fessy alumni. So please reconsider your thoughts about Fessenden, because we are the complete opposite of what we were from the 70’s. There truly is no other school like Fessenden. Just keep that in mind.
    Class of 2013

  14. I attended Fessy for 10 years At all my years there was never a big bully problem. The biggest one incident I remember was when a boy made fun of another boy on Facebook. The post was not nice, but it wasn’t a hate filled post. Things like this happens at all schools. I lived on campus with my family in a small house (my parents worked at the school). I would have friends that did not attend the school over to my house to hang out and meet my friends from school. Every time a friend would come over they would be shocked at how nice everyone was to each other. Big 15 year olds talking to much younger boarders. All fessy boys were not best friends with each other but we would all give each other high fives and greetings in the hallways, at the cafeteria and everywhere else. This blog post is very misleading to parents thinking about sending their boy to the school. No matter what your son is like the school will mold him into an even better student, athlete, artist and person. Like all schools Fessenden has some students that are nicer than others. However the fessy admission office does a fantastic job at picking boys who will benefit from the school, and who can also be a positive addition to the fessenden community.
    What happened 40 years ago was not good, but nothing of this sort happens any more, I know that for a fact. To people reading this please do not let this mans blog post give you ideas about the school. Every day I think of that school and all of the great memories and people that I remember. I am also very thankful for all of the lessons that I have taken away from Fessenden. I still keep in touch with everyone that I graduated with, who are all at great schools thriving in the classroom, on the sports fields, on the stage etc..

    Fessy is a great place and is not represented well at all in the blog. Talk to any Fessenden boy and you will realize that even years after graduation that the men still have the Fessenden morals of honesty compassion and respect.

  15. I attended Fessenden in the early 60’s. I don’t recall if Clarridge was there at that time. He was not the only sexual predator that was a member of the faculty. My dorm master was a sadistic Nazi. He was German and actually had Nazi memorabilia in his room. I wish I could remember the bastards name. The sexual and physical abuse, humiliation, and fear finally compelled me to bundle up one cold, snowy February day and walk all the way to Boston, 8 miles, and was found by some BU students who returned me. I was kept in isolation in the infirmary and thankfully expelled. Never told anyone about it until a few years ago. I actually visited the campus in 2010. (the seen of the crimes) I was prepared to confront, but decided the guilty are long gone from that den of horrors. But the shame and humiliation has affected my entire life.

      • Oh I remember mr. Hasbro I was in his dorm and the other teacher was arthor Claridge. Mister Hasbrouck what’s the closest thing to to Hitler you ever could have imagined however Mr Claridge was very touchy-feely and I heard from other guys he had molested many guys in that school and I hear from Reading above he was arrested in 1977 doesn’t surprise me a bit I have many stories from many guys as to stuff that happened to them between 66 and 69

    • Strange,Adrian. I’ve never ever heard anything about
      Hasbrouk being a sexual predator. Where do you get that? A bellowing red faced little music director and dorm Master for sure, but sexual predator? He was my dorm master in memorial Hall. He was smaller than the smallest kid there. In fact the year before, he was hung by his feet out the window by some of seniors I believe. It sounds really out of character..

  16. I was there from ’65 to ’70 as a 5 day border – Re: Adrain – Was it Mr. Hasbrook? He was one of a small group of teachers / dorm masters that was physically violent and had a short fuse. He ripped out a handful of my hair when he thought I didn’t respond to him quickly enough. Claridge (my math teacher) was actually a nice person but was a total pedophile – along with his cohort Dahlman (my geography teacher). The two most violent psychopaths there were Hasbrook & Bowler (who left in ’70) & – I could go on… Not quite the uplifting & joyous experience that they advertise in their catalogs.. Good Luck!

    • I remember Fessey as a nightmare, I was abused by Hasbrook, when I refused to say a picture of a Nazis soldier in a photo I came across in the library was a great soldier. I commented he was a murderer. He went ballistic, grabbed me, slammed me into a wall demanding I take back what I said.I believe this man may have been a former Nazis , illegally entered US. Why did Fessenden ever hire this NUT. I witnessed him abuse other Jewish students as well.Has anything been done to prosecute him for HIS ABUSE?

        • JB, Fesnuts 4 months ago settled the following cases with victim Bill Greaves, class of 66.
          1. Boyadjian
          2. Hasbrouck
          3. Dr Young

          I was with Bill at the Mediation, which I declined to settle. The school wanted me to again sign non disclosure agreements. Its not about the money with me. The school wont come clean and admit they employed 18 pedophiles.

    • Hasbrouk I remember. He was my dorm master in memorial hall. I remember him being loud but angry but not that often. He had a small apartment in the top hall. He would come out and scream at us but we were doing some pretty wild things. The hall was huge- you could and we did have hall hockey and soccer games there. he was also the glee club director and I recall him screaming and pounding the keys if we screwed up a piece. He was a small guy and he would get REALLY RED when he got mad. But he would calm down. The songs we sung I still remember. He was also my music appreciation teacher and to this day I still recall the symphonies we listened to as well as the difference between the different schools of music. I never took another music course again. I didn’t have too..

    • I keep hearing this stuff about hasbrouk. I had him as a glee club director teacher and dorm
      Master. He could be off the hook. Usually he would scream and then go back in his apt. The dude was so short, o don’t see how he could do anything. Sexual stuff? Pray tell more because he seemed to want to have NOTHING to do with any of us

  17. Fellow posters —

    Thank you for sharing your stories. They need to be told, all of them. I was there from 1964-1970 and like some other posters I experienced the best and the worst of the school as a day student, a 5-day boarder and a 7-day boarder. Two contemporaries committed suicide — one I now believe was related to abuse by Arthur Clarridge {who was then living as a guest of the boy’s family} Clarridge is now living in Fort Lauderdale. He ratted out Dallmann and his other non-Fessenden co-conspirators in the 1977 scandal, and Clarridge escaped prosecution in exchange for his testimony. Dallmann served time, was released, and committed suicide. Clarridge steadfastly maintained that Fessenden boys were never targeted or abused by his ‘circle’. We all know that not to be the case.

    Of course I was long gone and in college by the time the scandal came to light — actually heard the news on the radio on the way to do my laundry. I had to pull over and process for awhile because it brought back long-dormant memories. It’s hard to put into words how angry and conflicted this made me feel. I was angry at detached/diffident parents who ignored the travails of their sons, angry at un-involved faculty/administration who turned a blind eye, and angry at myself for not being able to do more to help my friends who were suffering (and maybe still are suffering in silence). Conflicted by the fact that some of these abusers were, in fact, fantastic teachers.

    Maybe that’s the hardest part of the school experience to reconcile. There were predatory pedophiles like Clarridge and Dallmann, there were unspeakable sadists like Claude Hasbrouck (the Nazi), (“Nasty Ned”) Douglass and Bob Bowler, and unrepentant bigots like Slocum working side-by-side with some of the nicest and most selflessly committed teachers I’ve ever known, like the Goodhues, Maynards, Wheldens, Basinets, Lusbys, Boyadjians, Ripleys and others too numerous to mention.

    I’m happy to say that I managed to get a great education at Fessenden, but ashamed to say that it occurred in an often unhealthful environment for many of my schoolmates. In retrospect, why didn’t we gang up on Hasbrouck and take him out when he gave some poor knucklehead a “chinny”? My feeble rebellion to Hasbrouck was to quit taking piano lessons after he made a pass at me during a private lesson. We sang songs about Clarridge but never publicized his misdeeds. Why didn’t we go after him for wearing sunglasses to supervise after-sports showers? We knew that Dallmann was ingratiating himself to parents and administration by taking candid pictures of kids — and we knew he took more pictures of some kids than of others. We had a name for those kids, and it wasn’t “victim”. Within the student body there was lots of bullying and name-calling. A lot of it was vicious and completely unacceptable, and there were casualties.

    I think it’s important for us to recognize that the school today bears little cultural resemblance to the school of years past. I believe it to be a safe and happy place for boys to learn — even if it was the scene of many crimes. We can’t undo the past, and we can’t replace the 1967 dorm masters in Hyde I-III. We can, however, help School leadership to understand how important this issue is to us, and to help the School work to make sure what happened to us can never, ever happen to another Fessenden student again.

    • The problem with all this is that other than dahlmann and clarridge, who we are all familiar with, and have been, for more than 30 years; I haven’t seen any accusations of SEXUAL abuse- the news here and the point of Sweeneys allegations is that it was going on at Fessenden with these two, regardless of what the school told everyone.
      That I get, but charges that Ned Douglas and Claude Hasbrouk were angry and occasionally unstable is nothing NEW. I knew that two weeks after I left and while I was there.
      i think it’s important to keep this focused on the charges That John is making.

      • Cab, Mitchell Garabedian and I will be holding another press conference after the holidays. At that conference he will be announcing 9 victims that Fessenden is settling with( no I’m not one) and 3 were raped by Hasbrouck.

      • Cab,4 months ago I refused Fesnuts offer for mediation settlement. They wanted me to sign Non Disclosure agreements, which they claimed in a school letter they do not require. BS.
        At that mediation was Bill Greaves, class of 66.
        He settled with the school because he was raped for 4 years by Boyadjian, Hasbrouck and Dr Young.

    • Don’t forget the tall librarian Mrs Kennedy. She recommended I read a book called “The Hobbit”.

    • James Dallmann did not serve time, and he did not commit suicide. I know this personally. He was a troubled man, and may well have done bad things at Fessenden, but publishing false claims about him only reduces the accuracy of your post.

  18. My name is John Sweeney. In 1969, while attending Fessenden I was drugged and raped in Hart Hall by Arthur Clarridge who at that time was my math teacher. I called my mother and told her what happened. When She didn’t believe me. I went to the Head master Coffin’s office, and told him, not knowing that he knew what was going on. That is when the torture started happening to me. Sleep depravation, food rationing and mental torture. I know of two other boys that were raped during this time by CLarridge. And I pray to God that when my Attorney Mitch Garabedian Files our lawsuit in the coming months, through disclosure, The full details of this despicable predator will come to light. The schools letter is BS. The school knew about what was happening because I told Head Master Coffin what happened to me.

    My story was broke by CBS NEWS and can be seen an the following link http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sex-abuse-scandals-help-alleged-victims-speak/.

    I look forward to testifying in the up coming trial. For over 40 years I have suffered from PTSD, not knowing that it was caused all along by the sex abuse I suffered from these evil men. Fessenden ruined my life, and many more children’s lives. some of whom went to their graves with the shame that filled our souls.

    I didn’t go to Harvard or any of the other Ivy League schools that my father, who was a well known Chief Surgeon, wanted me to attend. I became a US Army Green Beret, Graduated top in my class, but unfortunately, I never got killed in combat, which is what I wanted because I thought a heroes death would remove the shame and demons that entered my soul when I was young boy…and the nightmares of Clarridge on shower duty.


    John Sweeney
    Raped 1969

    • Hi John:

      I was one of Arthur Clarridge ‘s prefects my senior year in 1972. There were always rumors that Mr. Clarridge liked fondling students. One Friday night my fellow prefect and I were invited to dinner in Cambridge by Mr. Clarridge and his friend Ken, a special treat for the prefects. Did you ever see Ken? We were treated to alcohol and after dinner taken to an apartment to smoke marijuana. I was 14 years old. A teacher from Fessenden, I cannot remember his name but I will never forget his face, came out of a dark room to the rear of the kitchen naked. He was the dorm master in the dormitory above the dining room. I will find him!! With a scary tone that would force any kid into submission, he demanded that one of us go into the room with him. I recall that we laughed at him, because we were stoned, and were ushered back to school. I am not so sure of that anymore. There is a blind/blank spot in my thinking between when he demanded one of us to enter the room and when we were returned to school.

      I am so sorry for what happened to you and embarrassed by the prospect that I might have been abused that night. I need to find my fellow prefect and confirm the details. I have no idea where he lives. I shared this story on your web site.

      I buried this incident in my subconscious until the scandle broke at Saint Georges School in Middletown, R.I. My son is a senior at Saint Georges. My wife read the Boston Globe article to me today. I had tears rolling down my face. I wept like a baby like something was percolating way down in me for years.

      I am glad you did not die in action. You are making a difference being here right now. I salute you for your courage and for your service to your/our country. I am sorry for your scars. Please contact me if I can be of any help. You may already have enough personal stories. I feel like a heavy weight was lifted from me today.

      • Hey John
        I graduated with you in 72. Thanks for sharing- it’s a pretty courageous thing to do. Always remember them as being a little odd- though Claridge seemed almost mousy and on edge. I dunno, the dorm right above the dining hall- would that be Hart? Dahlmans was right next to to the dining hall out the back-though you would go up some stairs from there. Hope that’s of help. Glad you feel better about it. Remember you and your brothers. Hope you are all well.

      • Hi john,

        I remember you well (74′) and was in Dahlmans dorm when you were in Hart. I have never been a huge believer in repressed memories but this thing has blown me up, like opening Pandora’s box. ‘dolphin’ was my tormentor and contrary to the schools not so sincere apologies, none of us have been offered any tangible support for the damage they allowed (cultivated actually). Do whatever you can to put pressure on Stettler to settle this up and clear the decks. There are to many of us out there – all with eerily similar stories — tell Stettler to drop the resistance and settle this thing so that ANY boy that needs help can get it… you have more support than you know…

      • Now that I think about there WAS another dorm. it was like one small hall, right? cant remember who was in charge..sorry

      • John, this is your brother Tom. I stumbled on this site yesterday. I had to get Facebook access for my Veteran’s group. Because Fessenden was such a horrible experience for all four of us, it is stuck in my mind too. I went to the school Facebook page and this popped up. I started reading Sweeney’s story and I know exactly what he’s talking about. I don’t know why we have never spoken about this stuff and it’s got me wondering what if anything happened to the twins. A guy earlier wondered why none of us had the guts to say anything. I can say unequivocally that I did not know at that point in life that I had a voice at home during holiday or as a seven day boarding student. I’ll be calling you tomorrow but here’s what I remember. I talked about, why Fessenden, with dad. He said that his own life had been so bad that Fessenden was a safe haven for him. He sent us there at the height of this train wreck thinking it would be the same for us because of our homelife. Mr. Boyajin bless him did his best to help me but, I was a bed wetter. For me the pushing and shoving that jostled the food chain started day one. Catcher In The Rye was required reading so I wasn’t completely alone in my Isolation. And, there was the Lord of The Rings thanks to Ms Kennedy.

        I think I had Clarridge Hyde 2 or 3. I was in the cubicle next to Alan Cartier. Everynight he’d come say nightynights and linger seated on my bed with his hand on my butt. All my buddies like Gleason, Bobby Chang, Newberry, Desantis, and Maytag all new Arty was a fag because we talked about it. Coffin put his smoking pipe out with one of my fingers. Just walking down the hall between classes, hey you, come here, give me your finger. I didn’t know I could call a cop. Bill Cook was famous for thinking we couldn’t tell he was hiding boogers behind his big ears. Launching the heavy brass assembly/study hall bell into the high ceilings of the room into the assembled and seated students. You were always forewarned of impact by the ringer wallowing inside the bell cavity during flight. Hashrooks chinies. One nurse was mean and told you to take two aspirin and come back tomorrow. I think Macavoy was the nice one. It didn’t matter though. Maytag needed huge help that he didn’t get. Eddy Gleason mom had gone on a date with Arty. She laughed when we said he was a fag. The other thing Arty was famous for were new Corvettes. This year maybe 1969 he had a blue stingray. He talked me into driving with during a road rally event. At some point we went to a really big place like a mansion. It’s like you said about there being some time missing. I remember riding in the car all day and maybe a kitchen, but I more remember being back in the car because Kenny and Arty each wanted me to sit in their lap in the passenger seat of the Corvette.

        There were lots of drugs at the school most pills. Dunbar and this blond with glasses were the lacrosse coaches. Dunbar wore gym shorts that said “sock it to me” across the butt. Mom and dad were called to the school in the middle of the night because Maytag and I got caught coming back from meeting some girls. It took Sweeney a long time and a lot of guts coming out with his ghosts. Some kids like dad, it seems Fessenden was a wonderful school. For me it was the source of a lot of fear and feeling unworthy. Even after being brave in a bunch of war, I still duck away if someone reaches at me.

    • John, this is Mark Harder, Class of ’72.
      I stumbled upon this site looking for my old Memorial Hall room mate, Chris Brown. I’m absolutely shocked and disgusted that you and other students were violated at Fessenden. I have not lived in Massachusets for 45 years, so I never knew until now. In 4th Form, I was in Hart House Mr. Wilson had an apartment downstairs with his black poodle (he was as queer as the day is long) and I’m sure that he’s the one John Crimmins is talking about. Paul Hugo and I, Chris Parnum (now Chris Loring) and Robbie Inches were downstairs in Hart Hse. Upstairs I remember you, John, and Bob (Skid) Rheault, Mark Young, Fred Noonan, Eric Cunningham, Danny Wing, Fred Cook. Dorm hockey and Hot Wheels. John, do you remember us being allowed to stay up late to watch the Bruins in the 1970 playoffs? 5th Form I was in Bungalow with Mr Maynard… And in 6th Form it was Memorial Hall with Messrs. Hasbrouk and Wallace as dorm masters. Wallace had a Keeshond named “Silly”. Hasbrouk had a Nazi flag in his apartment, and I remember the “chinnies” he would give (they freaking hurt!). But Hasbrouk was never rude or threatening to me. It might have been because we talked about WWII a couple of times…I don’t know.
      I had my own cube for a time, then roomed with Chris Brown at the top of the stairs. Jack Smith, Ricky Cheadle, Ralph Lewis, Satoro Ito, all of them still vivid today. I think all of us knew that Clarridge and Dahlman were “a little weird”, but I never knew until now how weird and abusive they really were. It’s sad, because there were many good teachers at Fessie…Mr. Boyadjian (Geography), Mr. Fitts (Latin), Mr. Flood (Art), Mr Paine and Mr. Maynard (Science) and of course Mrs. Kennedy in the Library. I was never accosted by any student or teacher. I actually had a wonderful experience at Fessenden, and because of that, it pains me even more to hear that these abuses happened. John, I’m so sorry for your ordeal, and I hope you find solace in these forums. Trevor Gowdy put it perfectly. We are all still classmates, and we’re here for you, and anyone else who needs our support. I hope that you, and all of our other classmates who were harmed by these predators, find closure, and justice. I, like you, am an Army vet (Medical Command), and suffer from PTSD as well. It has never gone away, so I know what you mean. Please let me know if there is any way that I can help. John, we are all here for you. Keep the faith, and remain outstanding.(mark.v.harder@gmail.com).

        • I was your classmate, cab, I recall you and your brother being there for 5th and 6th form. Interesting recollections from Mark in Hart House whose room was next to mine. We would have late night water fights and Mr. Gibson would come marching in with “Misty Puppy Dog” as we pretended to be asleep. There were a few good memories, but very few. I remember the school as being a very sad place and there were luckily some good teachers as well as classmates who really made a difference. I had no Idea about the abusive horrors that went on there until a few years after I left the school. While I feel lucky to have not been targeted when I was there, I am outraged that something like this could ever happen. I feel terribly for the victims, the dammage is irrepairable. For some, their entire lives have been ruined, either directly or indirectly. As children growing up, we put our trust in adults, especially those who were educating and guiding us. How could this happen? I very nearly got roped into this ring of hell a few years later, but luckily escaped when I found out what they were interested in. Today I live outside the US, but my heart absolutely breaks whenever I encounter websites or blogs carrying stories of abuse and pain inflicted by these monsters.

          • Hey CP! How ya been? U were 5 day boarder right? You were. Nice guy . lost track of a lot of you guys. Too bad it had to be this way. Hope all is well. Yeah I think being there only the last two years left me unaware of some of the early stuff. Claridge and especially dallman were odd even to me then. Hasbrouk had his issues but he was good music teacher. Screamed like maniac. I had more issue with Douglas. Than hasbrouk. The Nat Coffin thing is completely off the charts . I would’ve expected to hear about that while I was in prep school.nothing.covered up pretty well

          • Hi, Cab. Yes, it’s me, “CP”, I was a 5 day boarder. I think you and your brother were 7 day, although I seem to recall you being from Marblehead. I live in Germany full time, although my current fb page (under my new name) has shown me as still being in Boston. Although retired, I have spent the last few years helping people understand emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by a parent, a lot of which comes from various personality disorders. Reading these testimonials on this site is just so sad. I’m not aware of anyone from our graduating class being caught up in the sex scandal, although statistically I think it is very likely.

  19. I would like to thank everyone for their comments, and notify readers that the Fessenden School is being taken to court by Michael Garabedian, according to a December 2014 report published in the Newton Tab. From the article:

    “Garabedian said he represents six adults who say they were sexually abused by Fessenden employees both on and off campus between 1968 and 1976. The victims were between 10 and 13 years old at the time of the alleged assaults.”

    The article is linked above, near the end of my blog post.

    I will post more details as I learn of them. If you know anything about the case, or would like to add your opinion, please leave your comments on this form.

    If you’d like to contact me privately via email, please send it to ianlamont -at- yahoo dot com.

    – Ian

  20. I am so very sorry to all the little boys who were made to suffer so, so much. Words fail me. I realize the school may have changed but it does not and cannot erase the deep, soul pervading harm brought on by these evil teachers. Just heartbreaking. And to David, Adrian Hooper and John Sweeney: this mom believes you and in you and I am so deeply sorry at the harm and the loss you suffered in this place where you were supposed to be safe and nurtured.

    And to the Class of 2012 and 2013 posters: Your reality at Fessy might have been nothing but positive and wonderful. That is ok. But it obviously was not for these young boys and all the present day goodness of the school does NOT negate the horror these little guys suffered. I understand you might feel this is “bad publicity” for a place that was wonderful for you. I am not sure this is the forum to do that since it seems that at least this post by Mr. Lamont is specifically about the abuse at Fessenden and about the school’s response or lack thereof. It should not be taken personally by current day graduates since much of this is from a while ago.

  21. Dear A Parent:

    I’m Grateful for your thoughtful comments. I do not hold any ill will towards any of the recent graduates. I’m an Ex Green Beret, these kids are still young and when the truth comes out I’m sure they will come around. The newspapers did not tell half of my story and as a Mom, I do not want you to know the horrors that I and my fellow students were subject to.
    I want you to know that all the pictures of Fessenden in my CBS News Story were taken by me and my girlfriend. And I’m sorry to say that the man that escorted me and my girlfriend was more interested in me than my beautiful girlfriend.
    As I was being escorted through the dark halls to the study hall with the big fire place and the different flags flying over head, I noticed that the bench seats on the wall by the windows had all of the names of the teachers that taught there, Except Clarridge and Dallman, the two pedophiles that tried to turn me and other students into drug addicts and put us in their brothels. I wanted to take a picture of this and I devised a plan for my girlfriend to distract this faculty member, which she did willingly. After He saw that I was not with him and Trisha, he doubled back and gently grabbed my hand, and tried to escort me back to the tour of the new Fessenden. I say tried because I got so angry by his touch I ripped my hand away. I want you to know that I have nothing wrong against gay’s. I do want you to know that I hope to God that he does not work the showers. While the boarding students were checking out my girlfriend, he wasn’t… He was checking me out.

    If anyone so much as gives a student a little pat on the but, tickling in places you wouldn’t tickle your children in, if your son see’s it, he needs to report it. My fellow students did not do that in my or the other Fessy students that were molested, and since my mom didn’t believe me,I was left all alone in what my parents thought was a prep school to the prep schools. I beg you to please believe your son. Please be the mom’s that we never had. I know it was a different time but 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are molested before they turn 18.

    As for Fessenden, this comes from the board of directors. Litigate us. Thats because this is not a one pedophile case like Penn State and Sandusky. Claaridge , Dallman, Headmaster Coffin abused Fessenden’s students for Decades. And they know it! That is why when my attorney Garabedian does file the lawsuit, we will finally through disclosure bring to light the evil that these bastards perpetrated.


    John Sweeney
    Raped 1969

  22. Have Attorney Garabedian check with Attorney D’Urso. It’s happening at the Pike School in Andover too. They have an open case scheduled for trial soon. This is a huge problem that must be addressed.

  23. Have Attorney Garabedian check with Attorney D’Urso. It’s happening at the Pike School in Andover too. They have an open case scheduled for trial soon. This is a huge problem that must be addressed.

  24. To the kids that thrived at Fessenden I wish you joy – however you can not for a second diminish what amounts to decades of institutionally sanctioned abuse at the hands of monsters like Claridge, Dahlman and many many others. THIS is the issue. If you were on the top of the pile on the Island you probably did pretty did well, but please don’t blame the victims by marginalizing their experience.

    Many of us were small children at the time. Generally speaking small children don’t really know what to flag and what to shut up about, and saying “if one kid had just said something, we would have done something”is complete garbage because the Kids that did the have balls to call it when it happened were either not believed, scorned or worse – subjected to a nightmare of abuse both from those at the top of the lord of the flies pile and from the teachers and staff, who in many cases had dirty laundry of their own to hide, and thus a vested interest in keeping it quiet.

    I see no evidence that this has changed much. That the school continues to gloss over, diminish and marginalize those of us that were put through hell there is solid evidence that they still don’t get it and are still more concerned about their Prep-utation and income stream than they are about the young lives they are entrusted with – so it is not different now, and you you wont convince me that it is until as a culture, they come clean about the systematic abuse and decades long cover-up that took place at Fessenden. Then the institution needs to take direct and full ownership of running the island of the lord of the flies, settle up with its victims and start publicly crafting a safe path for future victims, so that the kids know for sure what steps to take in cases like mine and countless others who went through hell there.

    I value a lot of what I got from Fessenden, I appreciate the sacrifices my parents made to send me there, I made friends, laughed and had some wonderful times there but none of it diminishes the scar tissue I carry around with me to this day, nor lessens my anger at people that feel the need to defend the school in light of clear, well documented, hideous and systematic abuse that was intentionally swept under the rug for far too long ‘to protect the institutions reputation’ – there is no excuse for it and in my mind no defense at all.

    My heart goes out to John, Badger and the ones like myself that I call ‘the marginals’ that still live with Fessenden’s Horrendous legacy.

    • I went to school
      With John and am aware of what he speaks. I don’t think though that anyone is marginalizing that experience. I am NOT shocked by what he says because I was there, but I think a lot of us feel the need to call out those teachers who DID make it good for us, in case they may be reading. its the first time I ve actually written some of these names out in at 35 years. I m
      Sure they were just as upset then as now. We ve all got Johns back he should know that..

  25. I was at Fessenden for one year only in 1983 during the time the late, and very kind, Philip Burnham was head master.

    And, like many other former students that attended “Fessy” during that time period, my experiences were not that great at all.

    I can totally identify with the experiences of John Clideson and “David,” had at the school during that time period. However I will not sugar coat the issue by conveniently leaving out the names of the off the wall, unstable and, quite frankly, obnoxious teachers that were there and relished in making the lives of some students, my life included, a living hell.

    Teachers like Brock Putnam, who smoked like a chimney and took great delight in SCREAMING at students, and dishing out his own archaic brand of discipline to students by grabbing them by the ears and dragging them, myself included on one occasion, in, or out of, study hall if they misbehaved.

    Or teachers like Math teacher Mr Spaulding, who always seemed like he was either drunk, or stoned out of his mind, while teaching class.

    Or teachers like Ms Pamela Heitmiller and that equally self centered and highly obnoxious, Bill Lyons, who delighted in playing the favorites game with students they liked and treating students they had contempt for with utter disdain on a regular basis.

    And teachers like the off the wall, Dan Senecal, who was, if anything, a borderline psychotic/hysteric, and went off the handle on students by screaming at them and threw that eraser at you, and then he would switch personalities and giggle like it was all a joke.

    To be honest I have NO CLUE how such horrible, self centered and selfish people EVER became teachers and the fact people like the ones mentioned above were allowed to teach, or mentor, children and adolescent boys escapes me to this day.

    I was also the victim of “getting peed on” in the showers by the older boys and bullied for a time by an obnoxious older student and his equally obnoxious followers, But I eventually stood up to him and that stopped.

    BUT…..Besides the bad experiences I had at “Fessy” I also met, and interacted with, some pretty incredible teachers and fellow students.

    People like, former Head Master Phillip Burnham, Mrs Arlene Leonard, Mr Carey, Mr Basinet, Mr Peter Krimens, Mr Vern Olson, Constance Lapin, Mrs Feldman/ AKA Ms Winters, Mr Peter and David Bradley, Mr Wahl, the Art teacher, Mr McIntyre,Mrs Roberts and her son Nathaniel, Mr Brock, Mr Maynard, Mr Weldon, Ms Brown, who was The music teacher made my short time at Fessenden school bearable and, to some extent, pretty enjoyable and those good people, as well as the good experiences I had with them, will NEVER be forgotten.

    To the poster named “The Class Of 2012”

    I have to honestly say I appreciate what he said, regarding his highly positive experience during his time at Fessenden. BUT, I think its highly presumptuous for him to openly state “He speaks for the ENTIRE CLASS of 2012” because although he, and several of his former classmates may have had a “positive experience” at Fessy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that EVERYBODY in his ENTIRE class had the same positive experiences he, or a few of his fellow class mates, had.

    I also think, judging by what “Class Of 2012” posted earlier, it may be safe to assume that there is a HUGE difference between the Fessenden School of today and the Fessenden School of the 50’s 60’s 70’s 80’s 90’s and today.

    Although there are still terrible, and outrageous, cases of sexual abuse against children in our crazy society, people are, for the most part, much more aware of what to look for and people that manage large educational learning institutions, Like Fesseden for example, are LESS likely to brush incidents, like the one responsible for this blog, under the carpet and a lot MORE likely to quickly take the necessary, and proper, legal steps to bring the perpetrators of such heinous acts to justice quickly!

    There is no doubt that The Fessenden School IS a FINE institution for learning and they will have to deal with the hard punch this latest incident has dealt it.

    Although The Fessenden School may have been a horror show for many students between the decades of the 1940’s to the 1990’s I am confident that when all is said and done, when the dust settles, and if Fessy is fortunate enough to survive this scandal , then The Fessenden School WILL in fact be far better than it was before all of this craziness.

    Sadly this is only the beginning and there is every indication that more stories of abuses will emerge.

    In any case my thoughts go out to all the former students that were abused by the people that were supposed to care and nurture them.

    So sad

  26. Reading these posts has sent shivers down my back and kept me up at night ruminating on my time at Fessenden. To be clear, my experiences though horrible and traumatizing pale in comparison to that described by Mr. Sweeny and others on this blog; however, the pathetic fact is that I am a 40 year old, happily married father but am still haunted by the memories of my time at Fessy and full of anger at how they threw me away like trash.
    I arrived as a 4th grade day student in 1985 a happy and well balanced ten year old. I come from a loving and supportive family and my school experiences up the that time had all been wonderful.
    Soon after arriving the older students began bullying me both verbally and physically; hip checks in the hall ways, smack on the back of the head, outright assault…etc. I know kids can be mean, but the bullying at Fessenden was extreme and far removed from the usual teasing/bantering.
    Fortunately I was a big boy, albeit a bit heavy, and quickly learned to defend myself. I recall a tearful conversation with my 5th grade history teacher (Bradly ?) where I described to him the tormenting dished out by the older boys. His recommendation was that I “kick the shit” out of my torturer, which I did. Sadly my act of defiance only brought temporary relief and soon i was fighting all the time. I complained of the bullying to my parents who spoke with headmaster Plummer, what a useless waste of air that conversation was…
    By the time I was 11 i had learnt that violence is perfectly acceptable, that tormenting others is normal and that I was a worthless “fat ass” or “fat fuck” depending on the day.
    By my 7th grade year in 1989 things had gotten so bad that I started to breakdown emotionally. That year a group of 8th graders (emphasis on GROUP) had made it their mission to torture me in unison and at all times. Again I called for help, spoke with teachers, my parents and the headmaster but nothing was done, the school administration remained completely indifferent.
    That year one of my torturers walked up to me and, out of the blue, punched me in the face during lunch at the big hall, everyone saw including the teachers. No one moved a finger, not to sanction the boy, not to comfort me, not even to acknowledge that something had just happened. I snapped, ran across the hall, jumped on him and hit him with everything i had. My reaction being a bit more dramatic than his simple punch landed me in hot water; sessions with the school shrink, meetings in Randy Plummer’s office…etc.
    Not two weeks after the lunch event the “group” sat around me in the large study-hall and began to pummel me with insults “fat ass, fat fuck, your mother is a whore, we’re all going to kick your ass…etc”. In my pocket I had my father’s old navy knot knife which I had brought for an in-class exposition on sailing. Having endured a good hour of abuse, and partially out of fear, I blurted out that I had a knife and that if they attacked me I would defend myself. Par for the course, after study-hall a group of several older kids surrounded me and asked “let’s see the knife fat boy,” I acquiesced, pulled out my blade and waved it at them. Thank god no one got hurt and nothing happened, the boys moved away and I managed to run straight to the headmaster’s office terrified, shattered and sobbing.
    In 1989 after two weeks of suspension i was formally expelled, my parents were told that I was not Fessenden material, that I was disturbed and that I was not welcome anymore. To my knowledge my tormentors were never disciplined, at least not to the degree i was.
    Granted pulling a knife in school is very serious and unacceptable but it was the school’s YEARS of indifference to my torture that led me to a state of such desperation that I finally flipped out.
    The years of abuse and violence had conditioned me and sadly the tormented became the tormentor in my next school. I was nowhere near as vicious as the boys at fessy but none the less a bully i had become. I profoundly regret my behavior and when given the opportunity i ask those i have wronged for forgiveness. I am responsible for my actions and their consequences but today I am certain that my violent temperament, extreme sensitivity and profound malaise in my own skin resulted from my traumatic experiences at Fessenden.
    To those who have had positive Fessenden experiences I say “good for you” I wouldn’t wish mine on anyone.
    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to say my piece and commiserate with you all.
    Best wishes,

    Tom Mckeon

  27. Tom: Thanks for sharing your story. Like I said, Fessenden had a long-standing culture of cruelty and bullying, which was perpetuated into the 1980s and perhaps beyond. Students who were weak, fat, frail, needy, or different got the brunt of it. Some teachers participated in or encouraged this culture, while administrators generally ignored it.

    Former teachers — I know you are reading these accounts. What recollections or observations can you share?

    – Ian

  28. For anyone out there that is curious about how long abuse was going on at Fessenden, pedophile Arthur Present Clarridge started teaching at Fessenden in 1951. He graduated from Harvard in 1949. Here is a link to a letter he wrote in the Harvard Magazine in 2009. He talks about cruising mens rooms in Harvard square looking for sex. http://harvardmagazine.com/2009/01/cambridge-02138?page=all

    I wonder how many students he actually raped besides me and the 6 other little boys that have come forward?

    John Sweeney
    Raped by Artur Clarridge and covered up by Fessendens Pedophile ring.

    • It was an open secret that “Arty Bate” was taking advantage of some of us. He has a private residence in Dover Mass that he fed some of the boys with beer. Of course some of us really wanted yo be cool and go out there. My suspicion is many more kids were affected. Contact Sean Brady Peter McCall as they may know more. I was a day student and only heard about stuff through the grape vine. I believe other teachers were involved but don’t know for sure. Tough times. Crappy stuff. I wish that era was completely behind us and I send my respects to all those badly affected by these abusers. All the best to all us Fessy grads.

      • I don’t know if you can edit these comments, but it might be best not to name names without their approval.

      • Peter I remember you I was I the same class; you played lacrosse and hockey as I recall. Yeah it takes a lot for these guys to come forward. I was a 7 day but never recall anything untoward it talk of such; I remember the names for him; assumed it was because of his last name and assumptions that he was gay- there was no context to it for me- I only came there the last two years and lived up on the north shore. As sordid as all this is; it has made me want to get back there sometime. There have been a lot of teachers names mentioned here; fortunately a lot of positive stuff has been put out as well about all the good memories as well; the lusbys dunhams Basinet Fitzes, Michler Hall Emmons Gibson, Maynard I could go on etc etc. best to you as well.

    • John, God Bless you, it seems like you have quite a bit of courage. I am so sorry about your most unfortunate experiences at the Fessenden School. I went to fessenden for six years and much to my
      Regret I am not surprised. Please understand that their are former alumni who are in your corner.

      • Hi Bill,

        I got Stettler’s letter and it completely pissed me off — As John says, we need to ‘get to’ more of the board and put as much heat on them as possible to settle this thing and create the path forward. The board, and Fessy’s legal team need to realize that there are a lot of us out there and the more they dig in their heels, the more we are going to push and all the denial in the world is not going to make it go away. This is about the path forward – not a rehash of the past necessarily, but it starts with accountability and the honor they make so much of in their recruitment literature …I think about the Badger often these days and wonder (had he lived) what he would have contributed to this suit – I have strong suspicions that his short life was marred by these monsters…

        • Hey John
          Badger? I remember him. What happened? When? Good kid. Been awhile since I’ve heard his name

      • Bill, I need your help getting Alumni on Board with Getting Fessenden to let me do the investigation. All I’m asking for is the Alumni list with the emails so I can reach all the Victims. The said no way. The Law firm they hired is a sham. they have not contacted one victim, and we are the ones that know everything.
        We Need Help to expose the continuing cover up.

  29. You know, there are a lot of Fessenden influential alumni out there that know what happened at Fessenden. What the victims want is our day in court. California, Minnesota as well as several other states have adopted 1 year window legislature that allows child sex abuse victims seek justice. which is denied now due to statute of limitations issues. We need your help in adding an amendment to the new law that was just past.

    John Sweeney

  30. Attended Fessenden for 5 years in the mid and late 70’s and reading this blog brings back many feelings and memories. Not a happy place in those days for me- and the constant bullying shattered my self confidence as a child. Some of the teachers were excellent but many picked on students and helped foster the bullying and teasing from other students—-Mr Kidder comes readily to mind along with Dan Senecal–was it really funny whipping erasers at students? I was hit a couple of times and had chalk all over my clothes for the rest of the day. What a nice guy. His personality description, (from a comment above) was spot on—he would be cruel or yell at you one minute, then make an ass out of you in front of the entire class, then act like it was a big joke. I remember Jim Dallman as a good teacher and enjoyed his class—though he always smelled of cigarettes and I remember that it was creepy the way he would look at you when he monitored the showers. I do remember Clairridge wearing sun glasses as he monitored the showers– and I thought that was strange at the time but now know why. I fondly recall some good teachers like the Weldons, Mr Bassinet, Mr Wright, Miss Round, and Mr Cincotta-these were good teachers creating a class environment that was conducive to learning where everyone felt involved and there were no obvious favorites.

    Am I privileged to have had the opportunity to attend Fessenden? Yes, but the bullying was brutal and I would never subject my kids to that type of environment.

    • I am the ” Miss Round” ( now Betsy Round Riedel) mentioned in this post. Fessenden was my first teaching job and I have to say I have nothing but fond memories of my years there. This is the second time I have found this set of articles and so I have been rereading all of the responses and articles with great interest.

      I have to say that I had absolutely NO idea any of this was going on. Did I think Clarridge and Dahlman were weird? You bet I did. But the thought of sexual abuse never once crossed my mind. The information about Coffin really blew me away, too. I guess those of us down in the Lower School hallway were far enough removed from the daily goings on of the middle and upper school to notice anything. I would now be interested to hear what my lower school colleagues might think of all of this?

      I am truly sorry that so many young men had to put up with all of this. I am glad it has been brought to light.

      • I attended Fessenden for perhaps the 7 longest years of my life, from 1972 to 1979. Miss Round, you and a few others were certainly among the best teachers I have had in my life. I would love the opportunity to contact you directly to thank you and a few others.

        I was blessed not to be exposed myself to sexual abuse by any faculty but I shudder to think what my life might have been in the ’70’s had I been a boarding student. However, like many other voices here, I found the general atmosphere of bullying, violence, dominance and outright abuse both horrific and enraging for me just about every day of those seven years.

        Academically, my education at Fessenden was no doubt one of the best available and has proved a bottomless resource for me. Emotionally, my education at Fessenden was something from which I do not expect I can or will ever heal. I wish for my family’s sake that I can continue to make progress.

        Those who have broken their silence have made sense of many puzzle pieces for me. For example, my classmate David McLean’s demonization and expulsion by Bob Coffin never made any sense. It finally made sense to learn that McLean was reporting abuse in the incident in Bob Coffin’s office when David reportedly spat at and tried to bite the headmaster. I thank those who have come forward to share their memories here, including my classmate Steve Hansen in this blog.

        For myself, I can say that I had no idea that the violence and abuse we experienced daily after 4th grade when we moved from female to male teachers were anything other than normal. Douglas and Dahlman and others were not abusive in every single exchange but screaming, humiliation, ridicule and violence were routine. Whipping erasers or chalk directly at our heads, whacking little kids’ elbows with butter knives at the table, pulling us by the ears, lifting kids by lapels and slamming them against walls, leading us around by a painfully tight grip on the back of the neck or on the muscle between neck and shoulder, these were just part of the daily routine of going to school. It was just like part of boot camp and supposed to make us tougher. Toughness seemed to be the top value and other emotions were just targets for ridicule.

        Creepy stuff that school staff showed us in the tunnels was also just how things were. Who knows at age 7 or 8 or 10 or even 12 and 13 that what you and your classmates experience together at school isn’t just how things are supposed to be? School sucks and that’s just how it sucks.

        As I recall, many of us thought ‘Arty’ Clarridge and others were ‘perverts’ but I never knew what was just kids talking smack or swapping war stories and what was real. Although I didn’t know the depths of truth to that ‘pervert’ reputation at the time, it made complete sense to me when it came out. Ironically, given the furious homophobia of the time, I grew up thinking Dahlman and Clarridge’s arrest had been some election-time victimizing of gay men for the benefit of Phyliss Schlafly’s crowd. That belief deepened when they were both released. I told people that version of reality, which was the only one I knew, until very recently. I truly believed belligerent homophobia had destroyed the lives of two innocent men.

        I remember asking my parents to invite Jim Dahlman to a Red Sox game with us because he seemed so sad, lonely and friendless between his classroom temper tantrums. He came to that game. I didn’t understand then why he seemed so awkward and uncomfortable through the whole game.

        I was horrified but not surprised to learn the truth in recent years. Dahlman’s discomfort at being alone with one student and that student’s parents made more sense after the Spotlight story broke.

        I say I was not surprised because I was one of Dr Mel Levine’s patients in the same time period. Unlike many who saw Levine only as a specialist, I had Levine as my primary care doctor. He would insist my mother stay in the waiting room during the physical exam part of every visit ‘because a boy needs his privacy’.

        Mom didn’t know that exam time was genital fondling time. She thought she was taking her son to one of the most respected, published Harvard pediatricians of our time. I was told the medical care was free as my father was a Harvard teaching physician and Harvard faculty treated each other’s families for free as a professional courtesy. My family thought I was getting the best possible medical care just like they believed they were sacrificing to give me the best possible education.

        I didn’t know that there was some other kind of physical exam that didn’t involve genital fondling. I just thought fondling was an unpleasant part of going to the doctor like trying not to puke when he stuck the tongue depressor down my throat or ignoring the discomfort of ear exams. The fondling was part of the routine, not something to report.

        Child abuse thrives on trust and ignorance. Mel Levine was very kind and gentle to me. I trusted him. I just didn’t know otherwise. I had blocked and disassociated those memories entirely until the press coverage of class actions against Levine brought them rushing back.

        Therefore, it really didn’t come as a surprise to learn of the prescription abuse network between Fessenden faculty and Mel Levine used to drug and abuse boys when that news broke. It just made sense. For my part, I believe, respect, honor and applaud all who choose to come forward and denounce this child abuse.

        Even as I write this blog post, I can hear the inner voice Fessenden drilled into me telling me to shut the fuck up. That voice says stop being such a pussy, such a wuss, such a wimp, such a whiner. It says to stop pitying myself. I’d guess a lot of my classmates heard and still hear similar voices. It takes a great deal of resistance to that voice not to erase this blog entry and forget about submitting it. Maybe the voice is right but I feel duty-bound to the possibility that voice is wrong.

        • Thanks for sharing your account, Andrew. I think it’s important to recognize that abuse thrives on trust and ignorance. Kids are naturally trusting, and many of us going into situations like Fessenden didn’t know what was “normal.”

        • Hey Andy. We carpooled for a while when our time at the school overlapped. Your mom was very kind, and I still remember your dad’s Karmen Ghia and you telling the story of the day he put his foot through the rusting floorpan of the car.

          I agree with everything you said about the school. We just took it as a matter of fact that life was like this. We didn’t complain or “tell” on anyone. It just was.

          An example of how stuff rolls downhill in a place like Fessenden: I accidentally got you a detention. I was sitting in the room outside the headmaster’s office when you walked by, picked up my bookbag, and threw it out the window and walked on. I was a few years younger, and I took it in the humorous spirit that it was meant, and ran outside and retrieved my bookbag without complaint. A few days later, a female teacher walked up to me and asked “Did Andy throw your bookbag out the window?” I said “yes” and didn’t think anything else about it. A few days after that, I heard that you were in study hall for detention. When I asked why, someone said it was for throwing my bookbag out the window. I think I was too embarrassed to apologize or explain how that came about, and you never mentioned it to me.

          The irony of punishing those low on the totem pole for dumb, screwing-around behavior while giving a pass for more subtle but much more damaging bullying behavior by kids and faculty was lost on me at the time but is a perfect snapshot of life at Fessenden.

          Please tell your mom “hi” and that I remember her fondly.

      • Miss Round! I think I was in your first or second year as a 3rd grade teacher. You made me ‘Head of Form’ for that year. It was truly one of the biggest deals of my early life and I will be eternally grateful to you. From what I remember you were newly engaged. You were very kind and instrumental when I had some issues with older boys that year. You didn’t mess around and brought my parents in right away.
        Fessenden was a mixed bag for me. Claridge and Dallman were creeps and had a negative impact on my life and future identity.
        Hope life has treated you well.
        John Park

  31. Does anyone reading this post have any old Fessenden year books from the 60’s or 70’s. I’m looking for pictures of Clarridge and Dallman to help an web site that I’m building for child sex abuse victims.

    John Sweeney
    Raped 1969

  32. To Mr. Sweeney, I feel your pain. Quite literally. And what is more terrible, it would have never happened to me, essentially ruining my entire existence, if someone had done something in the years prior to my abuse (the school administration knew ALL ABOUT IT!) at the hands of Mr. Coffin’s son (who’d already been charged with indecent assault on a minor in NH yet was allowed on campus), Mr. Claridge and Dallman, even the school psychiatrist Dr. Clampitt after my parents were told by headmaster Coffin I was having emotional problems (although he was well aware why I was so disturbed, he did not tell my parents why I was in such a psychogenic fugue). These freaks all knew about each other and shared their victims. I was threatened and intimidated, drugged, and unable to trust adults, the psychiatric profession, or any form of authority figures since then. I persevere, but I am forever enraged by what occurred. A dorm master even caught one of the perpetrators in my bed (with only curtains for a door on those rooms in Hyde 1). I was 8 years old. The police were never called. Nothing was done. I was told to forget about it. Does it seem like I have? I have volumes of accounts of mine and others abuse in those years. I still remember their names too and wonder what ever happened to them. Just came across this site after googling “Arthur Clarridge pedophile” out of the blue after not thinking about it for years. I guess I was wondering what that piece of s@#! is up to now, if he’s still alive. I guess I’ll google up Dallman next. Cheers and all the best to you, I know how tough it is to have some pig’s actions shape and virtually define a lifetime with such pain. A strange point to make after such a statement – but there were some great teachers at the same time, and I have to think they didn’t know about the dark side of the school. Mr. Carey was an exemplary man. My third grade teacher, Miss. Round as well (funny, ran into her years later at the top of the empire state building). Betsy Fessenden tried hard too (can’t imagine she knew what was happening but I can’t be sure). Mr. Payne, a dedicated science teacher, Mr. C of course, and Mr. Lesby (think that was his name) was a great role model. Mr. Wiggins was a memorable cutup too. Anyway, I digress. All the experiences with those good people were displaced and destroyed by the horrible behavior and stubborn coverup of the corrupt hierarchy of Fessenden. To this day, with all of those people gone, the school won’t step up to take responsibility for what their predecessors did and help all of the victims whose lives remain shattered, or at the very least have to live carrying around the broken pieces in their hearts and souls knowing that life could’ve been totally different – if only their well-wishing parents hadn’t ponied-up hard earned dollars and made sacrifices to seek a better future for their children, only for the opposite to occur. Yeah, I’m pissed.

    • To david. You can reach me anytime through the contact page at the following website. http://Www.fessendebchildsexabuse.com

      I’m spearheading this fight, investigating this pedophile factory, turfing up all kinds of intelligence and pissing Fessenden off!!!! They asked my lawyer Mitch Garabedian to take my website down. I told Mitch to tell Fessenden attorney to go F themselves. It ain’t about the money to me . It’s about getting a one year window for all child sex abuse victims to be able to sue institutions like Fessenden.
      If you really want to put a hurtin on this evil institution, I believe you possess information that will
      assist in taking down this institution.
      I hope you contact me.

      John sweeney

      Raped 1969

    • Thank you for reminding me about meeting you at the Empire State Building. I continue to be astounded by all this information about abuse. I am glad it has come to light.

  33. This message is for the person who was abused by Fessenden’s ring of pedohiles. If you would like to talk to me for some healing from another victim I am at your disposal. I’ve had great trauma therapy that wold love to share because talking to other victims help the recovery. We don’t have to be ashamed anymore and bury our souls. I can be reached through Ian Lamont.

  34. Understandably I see the abused with their disgust at the thought of their abusers and the failure of the trusted adults to protect them from them. I too attended “Fessy” in the mid to late 90’s. Saw and experienced the sexual abuse- and even attempted to talk with the headmaster , but was dismissed by him and felt lost. My parents were unresponsive to my reasoning and point blank telling them of an incident- luckily 1977 came and due to arrests, it stopped- but the damage was done and trust of adults shattered and have never talked of it again. I hope that the school has found that hiding its issues and burying the past is over so that so many others that haven’t or won’t come forward can heal like myself as the shame and effects from 40 years ago still haunts me

  35. As posted in my earlier statement I had to run away from the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that was being inflicted upon me at the Fessenden school by Hart Fessenden, the Vice principle, Mr. Cook, Mr. Hasbrook and others. If I could remember what Clarridge looked like, perhaps it was him as well.

    There were other tormentors besides the names above. Hart Fessenden was as sadistic as the come. I can remember getting the paddle from him a few times. He seemed to take great satisfaction in swinging that paddle. He was a man to fear. Mr Cook took great pleasure in humiliating me in study hall. Having ADHD, I had trouble with the little things like my shoe laces, shirt tail, keeping my tie straight. Each one of those offences came with a demerit, and so many demerits got you a detention. Every Friday Mr Cook would announce the list of weekend detainees in study hall, and every Friday he would save my name until the end. With his New England accent he would announce my name with gusto. Hoopah!! Then the entire study hall would chant Hoopah! Hoopah! over and over again and he would encourage it. I wanted to crawl into a hole.

    The worst of the several sexual abuses was the violent sexual attack carried out on by Hasbrook. I won’t go into detail. But I had had enough. I left during a snow storm and walked the 8 miles into Boston. During that walk I had a psychic break. I cried, a raged, I came to the realization that I could not trust those who were meant to help mold, nurture and protect me. The adults and the authoritarians in my life could not be trusted. They had betrayed, abandon and abused me.

    From that day on I became oppositional, Defiant, rebellious and non trusting of other humans. I was moved two more boarding schools where I refused to toe the line and was expelled from both. I ran away from home at 16, never went back and have been running from the pain and shame most of my life, whether it be geographically or by self medicating with drugs or alcohol. I guess I am luckier that a few Fessy alumni who OD’d or committed suicide. The total cost of the illicit drugs I ingested to numb the shame and pain, the rehabs, the psychologists, psychiatrists, the antidepressants is incalculable.

    Gratefully I have been drug free for 16 years, but since 1963 the harm done by the pedophiles and sadist at Fessenden still lingers.

    Because of the abuse at Fessenden I have been rated a 6 on the The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. See CDC link below:


    Depression, addiction and heart surgery are all a result of the The Adverse Childhood Experiences I had at The Fessenden School for Sadistic Pedophile training.

    My life could have taken a much better course if not for the misguided decision my parents made to send me to that God forsaken hellhole.

  36. I would like for those who read this blog to check out my new website dedicated to the sexually abused children who attended Fessenden during the seventies and before.

    The web address is http://www.fessendenchildsexabuse.Com
    This is just a grenade. If Fessenden makes the victims take them to court, additional information that I’ve turfed up on Fessenden will make them feel like a whole Special Forces Group Just did a high altitude low opening (HALO) insertion on their ass. I’m tired of listening to their empty gestures. I want litigation so the press will follow this trial and bury this institution.

    John Sweeney

    • I can’t believe that ass Claridge did no jail time. I was never molested though I was thrown out for throwing dog shit at a teacher and I remember the rumor at the time was that the FBI interviewed Coffin confidentially who then warned Claridge to get out of town. I want to commend you for your bravery in coming forward.

  37. Research consistently reflects an increased likelihood that children who have experienced abuse or neglect will smoke cigarettes, abuse
    alcohol, or take illicit drugs during their
    lifetime. In fact, male children with an
    ACE Score of 6 or more (having six or more
    adverse childhood experiences) had an
    increased likelihood—of more than 4,000
    percent—to use intravenous drugs later in
    life (Felitti & Anda, 2009).


  38. I want want to say thank you to all the people who have supported the victims of sex abuse perpetrated by the cult of pedophiles that were members of Fessenden’s faculty.

    I have dedicated a website to further the victims cause.


    I am presently working on Facebook and Twitter links to expand our fight against Fessenden. This is just is just a hand grenade. The next round of information that I publish is going to make Fessenden feel like a whole Special Forces Group Just assaulted their ass.

    John Sweeney
    Raped by Arthur Preston Clarridge lll

  39. Adverse Childhood Experiences video


    Types of Abuse

    Emotional Abuse:

    Often or very often a parent or other adult in the household swore at you, insulted you, or put you down and sometimes, often or very often acted in a way that made you think that you might be physically hurt.

    Physical Abuse:

    Sometimes, often, or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at you or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured.

    Sexual Abuse:

    An adult or person at least 5 years older ever touched or fondled you in a sexual way, or had you touch their body in a sexual way, or attempted oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you or actually had oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you.
    Return to Table


    Emotional Neglect:

    Respondents were asked whether their family made them feel special, loved, and if their family was a source of strength, support, and protection. Emotional neglect was defined using scale scores that represent moderate to extreme exposure on the Emotional Neglect subscale of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) short form.

    Physical Neglect:

    Respondents were asked whether there was enough to eat, if their parents drinking interfered with their care, if they ever wore dirty clothes, and if there was someone to take them to the doctor. Physical neglect was defined using scale scores that represent moderate to extreme exposure on the Physical Neglect subscale of the Childhood Trauma

  40. Hi Ya’ll,

    I want you know that the website in the first week had over 1800 hits. Additionally, the Newton tab and the Boston Globe are doing follow Stories on Fessenden’s cult of pedophiles. And the best news is I talked with the producers of the Kelly file on Fox News who have filed my website information for a future story once another major pedophile case Breaks in the United States. They’re just too busy with Trump and Clinton material. Will update the website weekly with new information that my investigation turns up.

    John Sweeney
    Raped by pedophile cult at Fessenden.

  41. There is a great majority of the faculty and staff there now that were not even born when all of these horrific actions took place. Fessenden is NOT the school it was in the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. This is a different time now, with different leadership, different faculty, different student upbringings, and a completely different culture. These people are paying the price for your events because they now work there. It is sad. Go after the individual people and leadership that did these things and prosecute them. But to attack the current faculty and staff (some whom were not even there when you started this blog) is wrong in my book. They deserve the respect and thanks as teachers, mentors, and leaders in the CURRENT culture of Fessenden and not to be attacked for the nightmares of happenings long before. I am truly sorry for what has happened to you and others. There is no apology that can fix that.

    • Parent,

      I am one of the Fessenden 8 that is being represented by Mitchell Garabedian. No one is accusing the present faculty of wrong doing. The issue here is the cover up and the refusal to take ownership of the abuse by the schools administration and leadership, which I believe is only concerned about money, Fessenden’s bottom line and putting young heads in beds.

      The abuse that took place all those years ago was covered up and continues to be covered up. Who do you suggest we hold accountable?

      There were some good faculty members back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s but their names have been tarnished as well, by not 1 or 2 sexual predators and sadists, but by many.

      The sexual, physical, psychological abuse and humiliation went right up to the top of the Fessenden hierarchy and the headmasters like Hart Fessenden.

      Who should we hold accountable for the suicides, the drug overdoses, the self medicating, alcohol and drug addictions, the cost of rehabs and therapist, and the shame, pain and self degradation, the loss of trust for adults and authority and our loss of innocence and our childhood that we have had to live with all these years?

      They never asked me why I, a 12 year old boy, walked 8 miles into Boston in a snow storm. They just kept me in isolation in the infirmary so I couldn’t talk to anyone until my father came and got me. I couldn’t tell my father as I held him responsible for sending me there. I was alone, isolated, distrustful and afraid.

      I am now in my 60’s and that Fessenden school, even though they know what happened to me, never even sent me, or any of the others, a letter of apology or acknowledgement or help with healing, as they said they would do in a statement to the news outlets and in their letter posted above.

      They could have come clean and avoided a lawsuit. But they chose to remain silent and on the offensive. Even now they are trying to negotiate around this going more public, which they have done before, by paying people off before it get’s to much publicity.

      I am ready to get on the stand and on the news and spell out exactly what happened to me and a whole lot of other boys.

      So, I ask you again, who should I hold responsible? The abusers who are all, except one, dead or the school that employed them, turned a blind eye and did nothing to protect those with whom they were charged to protect, teach and nurture?

      Or would you have us all just go away, be quiet and chalk it up to bad luck?

    • That they continue – to this day – to dodge and weave around the central issues surrounding this school and the boys who were horribly abused to varying degrees, tells me that they are not any different than they were in the darkest days of the schools history. People that genuinely attempt to make amends for past sins (and sins they are in every sense of the word) start with OWNERSHIP,,, then they move into ‘steps to correct’ (to make sincere amends). The school as done none of this, and that makes them every bit as guilty as Hart Fessenden, Coffin and the rest of the monsters that created this disaster. So “parent” I’m sorry but the abuse continues and it will continue to color every single genuinely good work the school does and has done. Moral integrity starts with accountability…

    • Parent,
      I’m John Sweeney and I want you to know that I knew about the Howe rape victim that the Globe broke this summer back in November of last year. I even spoke with the Newton PD.
      My brother Ryan is a former DA from Miami. It has been 10 months since Law enforcement started this investigation. Why so long? My experience with Preps are they will try to cut a deal. Don’t believe what the school tells you. The only reason they came forward with the Howe letter is because they knew I was talking with Liz Harris from the NY Times. And that is a fact!

    • Really, you have Howe under a police investigation that is still ongoing after a year , another perp victim from the last five years at that school the Garabedian has agreed to represent which means another perp at the school. This next press conference after New Years is going to send shivers down parents and alumni spines.

  42. I am one of the boys bringing the lawsuit, and I write anonymously as I am not willing to be in the spotlight, this entire experience is re-traumatizing; the pain associated with revisiting all of this profound and relentless. I will continue apace as there does need to be justice served, many lives beyond my own have been deeply affected by the ongoing abuses of the late 60’s (in my case), and I believe more than one of my classmates killed themselves over the shame and abuse that they experienced when they were students there.

    Having said that, to the parent who wrote out of concern for the current student body and faculty: I totally agree that the school deserves to stand on it’s own merits in the present, and it’s my greatest hope that no one is suffering the abuse, on any level, that we went through decades ago.

    But Fessenden needs to come to terms fully with it’s own past, and if you truly believe in the quality of what’s being offered on the campus today, then you must also agree that the teaching and living environment can only be made more effective by creating absolute transparency about the past. It is the only way to create effective vigilance around the present and the future.

    I wish healing in every direction.


    • I understand your position of not wanting to be in the spotlight. I buried my junk for over 43 years. But we both know that Fessenden needs to come clean and admit that the school was run by a ring of Pedophiles.

      Having said that I am determined to fight for all sex abuse victims, and as ” our website” states, I’m in the process of starting a non-profit for child sex abuse victims. And just so everyone knows, FESSENDEN JUST THREATENED MY ATTORNEY to take MY CASE OFF THE TABLE because I’m telling the truth. I won’t print what my response was. But I told Mitch Garabedian that I’ve got 6 tee shirt s made in maroon and grey. http://WWW.FESSENDENCHILDSEXABUSE.COM” is printed on the front . I wonder how many hits we will get when millions of people watching the nightly news see that. And to think that Fessenden is still trying to bully it’s victims. They care more about hiding their past instead of facing it, which only protects the rapists who abused us during those horrible decades. This continued disregard for its victims only burns the fire in this ex Green Berets belly to continue my struggle, and my intelligence gathering, to over throw the existing powers that be until our cries for justice have been heard, and they take the Name of Robert Coffin off that damn ice skating rink.

      John Sweeney
      Raped by Arthur Preston Clarridge Ill.


      http://Www.fessendenchildsexabuse.com was just updated as I Promised on a weekly basis.

      John Sweeney
      Raped by Arthur Preston Clarridge lll


      On 9/16/2015 my attorney Mitchell Garabedian met Fessenden’s legal team to work out a settlement regarding our sex abuse cases called the “Fessenden 8″. Before the mediation date my attorney had pre- mediation conferences with Fessenden’s legal team to make sure that when they came to the mediation table, Fessenden’s negotiating team had their ” Money Guy” with full “Settlement Authority”. This is SOP in Mediation cases. So what happened? They showed up with some flunky that only had the authority to authorize up to $30,000. And according to my brother who is a former Dade County DA , that only infuriates mediators. And to think they have already settled cases with people Clarridge raped on campus that were not even students , in the low six figures. And Fessenden has $50,000,000 Sitting in their bank account and raises $1,600,000 annually. And they’re covered by insurAnce because insurances policy companies did not exclude sex abuse until after the early 80’s when the Catholic Church cases started. My brother says it’s because there are probably so many victims that it is going to eventually bankrupt the school.

      So it’s on to court. Lawsuit will be filed in three week’s when Mitch returns from the Dominican Republic. He is setting up a national press conference. If you think the recent coverage of the St Paul’s School was overwhelming, wait till the press gets a hold of Fessenden’s Alumni Victims website. It’s http://www.fessendenchildsexabuse.com. Mitch is having the press conference at his office and a huge banner is being made up in the maroon and grey school colors as well as tee shirts which will be worn by Fessenden’s Alumni Victims. Garabedian wants me to be available for several weeks because our story is so evil, once the suit is filed and the press gets all the information off our website, the interviews and soundbites will be endless.Wait till the press finds out about the Nazi Hasbrouck . I’m HAVING A CONTACT at the US Department of State to see if this guy was legit when he came here from Germany.
      Oh My God. I don’t know who is advising the Board Of Directors but It is time to fish or cut bait with that idiot.

      I’m relieved that I will finally be able to testify against that evil institution. But until then I want all the readers of this blog and you, yes you, the powers that be that run Fessenden, to know that I’m listing the names of other Victims on http://www.fessendenchildsexabuse.com, the dates of both Headmaster Coffin ‘ s And former Teacher Dahlman suicides.( Why did they both kill themselves so soon after they left Fessenden? ) , opening Twitter and Facebook accounts, linking YouTube videos and last but not least starting the documentary with Dreyfus films. So stay tuned Fessenden, I’m a walking soundbite that is going to cost you millions. And you can take that to the bank.


      John Sweeney
      Raped by pedophile ring at Fessenden.

  43. There is talk about a lawsuit vs Fessenden and the abused from the 60’s and 70’s. What is the status on this? And is there going to be any civil suits with the change in the statute of limitations on sex abuse?

    • Lawsuit is forthcoming. I have meetings with Massachusetts Legislators who will be introducing a bill that will provide 1 year window legislation. Which means any child sex abuse victim regardless of age will have 1 year to file a suit. otherwise you basically have to age 53 in Massachusetts to file a suit.

  44. I want to let other victims of child sexual abuse on this blog to know that if they are experiencing PTSD symptoms triggered by the news reports about my brother Green Berets being kicked out of the service for beating an Afghan police pedophile, they are not alone. My PTSD is again flying.
    As a matter of fact my SF association chapter buddies are pissed. So much so that they asked me to do a website about it. Well, I will start it next week. I bought the url http://www.goarmypedophilia.com. I’ll work on it ASAP.

    As for any news on Fessenden, I promise to get back in the saddle after several days of brutal depression/nightmares.

    Spoke to a church bible study the other night, now the Pastor wants me to speak to the whole church.

    I bought the Banner for our press conference when Garabedian gets back from the Dominican Republic, it’s background is grey and the letters in http://www.fessendenchildsexabuse.com are in maroon.

    Going to add a website page for all the marginals who we’re not raped at Fessenden, but certainly were physically abused by Coffin, Clarridge, Dallman and Hasbrouck. Bringing them into the fight will expand our rapidly growing Fessenden alumni base support.

    I have ,to use a military term ,”scrounged” a Fessenden alumni book complete with addresses for our direct mail alumni child sex abuse awareness campaign. I’ll start sending out letters for the holidays, just like Fessenden did with the postcards with the pictures of some of Fessenden’s victims. I say let the alumni decide to either respond to the victims or throw it in the trash. Any thoughts ?

    By next week I will have contacted every national and local news organization in the New England area about our story.

    I’m speaking with a former employee from Fessenden who contacted me through our website. He said he wanted to talk with me off the record which I agreed to. He also said that the victims stories on our website are all to familiar, and he has additional information including names and years of other victims. I’ll be flying into Boston the end of next week to interview him. Guys, I got a great feeling about this lead. We will be able to match up the names with contact info once I get the book. Then as a former victim, I will contact them directly with hand written letters.


    John Sweeney

      • Just getting over walking pneumonia. I’m on Cape Cod today and tomorrow meeting with my Legislators Chief of Staff who are adding 1 year window legislation for child sex abuse victims.

        I will meet with the former employee of Fessenden before the Lawsuit is filed. To all Of Fessenden’s victims our time has come. Wait till next week… What happened to Penn State, and by that I mean how Penn State was exposed for knowingly hiding Sandusky ‘ s abuse, is about to happen to Fessenden. I accept the fact that I’m on point for this endeavor, I embrace our fight for justice and will never accept Fessenden’s position that Fessenden’s child sex abuse alumni should chalk our Fessenden experience as bad luck.

        DE Opresso Libre
        John Sweeney

    • Hey John
      Sorry to hear about this. I’m overseas at the moment. My twin brother and I were with you at Fessy. I just heard. I remember all that stuff with Claridge and Dallman coming out while I was at college. Saw your Website. Got me thinking now. But you’re probably way ahead of me on other things I wondered about. Good luck and stay strong.

  45. I also had some disturbing encounters with Clarridge in ’67-’69. I don’t need to recount the details, but it was obvious to me even at that age (10-12) what he wanted. I also have good memories as well of many staff – Mr. Ripley (shop) and even the janitor (Hank?) as well as Miss Krause (music) and Mr. & Mrs. Boyadjin, Bassinet, Maynard, Goodhue & Whelden. However, Mr. Slocum, Bowler, Hasbruck, Douglass & Hart Fessenden all scared the hell out of me. Quite a cast of characters. Some good and not so good memories.. Does anybody remember how Mr. Douglass used to throw the heavy metal desk bell at students in study hall? It’s a miracle that he never killed anybody.

    • Yeah no kidding. I never saw it but I heard it clang off some kids desktop. You listed a lot of good people there. I had Mr.F—-for Latin. He was another good one. Think I has Clarridge in a class. Seemed kind of cold- always looked like he was going to jump out of his skin. Heard about all of that years later. Slocum retired after my first year there. Douglas could explode sometimes. When he was calm he was great good math teacher and coach but he always seemed right in the edge. Maybe it was having to deal with all of us

  46. Been looking online for more info on this lawsuit and this “press conference”. Did this happen yet? Can’t find anything recent about it – but this website

    • Dryfus Films videotaped it , as they have started the Fessenden Documentary As soon as soon as it is edited, I’m sending it to Michelle Miller and copying Arturo Rhymes her producer. They want to see the video and the back up documents I have , including emails from Former Faculty, from former alumni like Francis Greely II, the pictures taken by another victim of Claude Hasbrook and Dallman, taken by the very camera Dallman used to groom his victim. Dig this, the victim with the pictures, whom I met, made duplicate copies, and they are horrific. Funny, the picture of me dressed up in the altar boy outfit on our website was taken by Dallman, Clarridge and the NAZI Hasbrook. Wait untill these pictures are presented at trial, and all the additional documented facts that former faculty and alumni have provided. A special shout out to someone who came off the ” reservation ” and provided us with an Alumni Directory. They will be getting the updated http://www.fessendenchildsexabuse.com with our pr

      Mitch filed the Lawsuit, and he has found some legal loop hole that is going to allow him to expand the lawsuits against Fessenden. Dont know what he has got up his sleeve but he is the expert in this field

      Checking with Justice Department about Hasbrouck as well as Israeli Embassy, who were very receptive on providing leads to track down ex Nazis.

  47. It seems quiet on the lawsuit front as I have not heard or seen anything regarding Fessenden – only the allegations. No noted press conferences. Has all this “blown” over and moved onto somewhere else?

  48. Readers: If you want to see how other private schools fare in sex crime investigations, check out what’s happening at St. George’s in Rhode Island, which apparently had pedophile faculty abusing students for decades … and did nothing. However, unlike at Fessenden, police in Rhode Island are opening an investigation, and St. George’s is actually working with victims to carry out an independent investigation. I’ve written up a summary and reaction here:

    Fessenden School and St. George’s: A tale of two investigations

  49. I spent five years at Fessenden (’81 to ’86). I was never sexually abused. I was bullied and I can relate to the “Lord of the flies” culture. I recall younger teachers who were abusive sometimes physically but more often mentally. There were some great teachers especially in the latter years when Randy Plummer took over. It seemed in the late 80’s the new regime pushed out the Dan Senecal’s of the school. I was very often picked on because of my weight by other students and even though I was a big kid I had to to worry about physical attacks. Over the years I have always wondered if I had imagined this abuse. Seeing these posts has really helped me understand my life from 11 to 16. I thank you all for being so honest.

    • I was at Fessy for a briefer time but a full-time 7 day boarder than Fessy86 during Randy Plummer’s years — and yes I recall a “Lord of the Flies” culture, but I also recall becoming a stronger person because of this culture and being smarter about dealing with other bullying boys. I also spent time with Dan Senecal over a few holiday breaks with international students as well as one of his famous cross-country trips (but did not go panning for gold in Africa or South America). While I have nothing to add and am saddened by the experiences I am reading about boys who were sexually abused, I would add that not everyone in the 80’s at Fessy was terrified. I was a small kid and yes, there was some bullying going on, but was it beyond the pale of what I might expect at an all-boys schools with a bunch of teenagers? No. Was it out of control? No. Did we call each other by our last names? Yes. Was this a weird place to be? Maybe, but was it a living hell? Depends on your personality and make-up; I grew much stronger because of it, but I could easily see a different personality suffering more and not being able to handle these situations. There were some truly superb teachers and it was a tough and disciplined environment, but for me at least, it was exactly what I needed while the school broadened my horizons. I perhaps learned odd social skills by learning how to navigate the bullying (tougher skin as well as brutal importance of learning to fight back when you need to, and hopefully when other teachers were around to break things up before too much damage could be done). I remember well Mr. Maynard’s earth science class, which later I repeated in college in an introduction to geology class and was invited by the Professor to continue studies in the areas because he thought I had a deep aptitude for geology (I did not, but I did have Mr. Maynard to thank for a rigorous and interesting class). I also remember Mr. McIntyre’s geography (a very British-style boarding school type of course to offer) class which opened up an entire new worlds and cultures for me as much as the presence of various international kids who were my classmates. I have many fond memories of Fessenden and like Fessy86 enjoyed the benefit of some great teachers and life experiences (one of my teachers passed away and I attended a funeral for the first time in my young life) and it was a formative experience (the formality, the hierarchy, the way the dining hall was organized with boys rotating through serving as waitstaff, the rewards for making first honor roll, the evening study halls and tightly organized schedules) in my life, but I saw the bullying as a challenge (and I got into my share of fights with kids older and stronger than me, and facing down one particularly nasty boy whose name I will never forget) and one to be overcome and grow stronger as a human being — I am disheartened to hear that others did not go through this gauntlet with as many positive feelings, and so, so horrified to learn about the sexual abuse experiences that have traumatized some of my fellow alums. Not every experience was a good one: one of my best friends stole my comic books; I remember being very, very lonely sometimes esp. during the cotillions with other all-female schools when I would come back to my room a bit early and think about what I was missing out on, as compared to the fulfilling and deeply full days I had at Fessy each morning as I put on my tie and coat. Notwithstanding my own deeply enriching experiences at the school, I am deeply saddened and sorry for the victims of sexual abuse and like any school, agree that Fessenden should stand up for its past. That said, I also understand from a legal perspective within our legal system, it’s not an easy thing for a school to admit fault or to do the right things, and a school’s board has a fiduciary duty to defend the school and lawyer up an approach everything cautiously within a legal mindset, vs. the mindset of what is right and what is wrong and how to make good on evils of the past. This is a knotty issue, but unfortunately it is really the victims that continue to suffer. For what it is worth, I believe you and wish you some comfort as you go through with your lawsuits and completely understand, while cherishing the memories of my own experience. I would also remind folks that any school is going to have “bullying” problems and that this is a pervasive issue that is also developmental, and that there were many, many good boys as well as those who were bullying (although granted, it is fair as one post noted that those who have suffered bullying, sometimes then turn out to become bullying boys themselves to others, perpetuating a cycle of pain and cruelty). However, we are also applying different modern values to some of these times and 20/20 hindsight is always easier to avoid thinking about the context of those times. None of these remarks, however, should justify anything close to sexual abuse. To my mind, this is separate from trying to resolve or uproot or change a bullying culture — these are separate issues (addressing sexual predators and complaints seriously vs. young boys getting into fights and being mean to each other), although certainly a culture of repression doesn’t help anyone.

  50. To everyone reading this blog about Fessenden, be patient. A major national news story will be coming out after several victims including myself, fly to Boston for interviews at Garabedians’ office in the beginning of February with the journalist assigned to cover this story.
    PS. More victims have come forward, its just the tip of the iceberg.

    John Sweeney.

  51. I left this school after eighth grade. It was a complete hellhole. I was a day student and not a boarder, and I barely made it. I can only hope they make attempts to eradicate the bullying problem in that school.

  52. I too was abused at Fessenden in the school year of 1965-66.
    These men were monsters who answered to no one. I still recoil at the thought of doing the “Green Bench” for hours for minor offences and the paddle was frequently employed when I wouldn’t give the bastards the satisfaction of being “broken” by their various tortures.

    My friend Steve Clancy was dead within two years of us leaving the “West Newton Hilton”.

    There is a reason there is a Hell!

    • Richard Bull,
      My name is John Sweeney and I’m a one of Clarridges victims. Dreyfus films is doing a Documentary on Fessenden. If you would like to talk I can be reached through the Fessenden Victims website. http://Www.fessendebchildsexabuse.com. Just hit the contact icon and I’ll return your email with my contact information.

  53. What / where was the “Green Bench” ? I was there from 65-70. Don’t recall it. I have had a turkey gobbler neck since I left there from Hasbruck repeatedly giving me the “chiney” – Also left Fessy at age 13 with a bald spot on the top of my head where he ripped out a clump of my hair. Bowler smashed my head so hard into a closet door I passed out for a few seconds – He then made me stay inside a dark closet for an hour or so while he and “Lee” watched t.v.

  54. The Green Bench is where you are forced to maintain a position with your back against the wall as if sitting on a bench with your knees at a right angle….no support under you.

    Five minutes is one thing, two-plus hours takes it to an entirely different level of torture.

    • It has come to.my attention and this information was past on to my attorney Mitch Garabedian, that Regina Rockefeller,A prominent Boston attorney, has settled lawsuits involving Fessendens victims in the mid-1990s, for the school. These victims attented Fessenden before 1977,
      HOW DO we know this? Because a Fessenden alumni sent me his alumni directory, and through the internet, I have started to contact Alumni directly. Thats when former victims of Fessendens secret ring of pedophiles told me they could not talk.to me because they were prohibited from speaking about the sex abuse settlements because of non fisclosure agreements that Rockefeller made the victims signed. Hmmmmmm. FESSENDEN HAS STATED ALL ALONG THAT THEY KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THIS PRIOR TO 1977. Anybody ever heard of Fraudulent concealment?.
      See you in court Fessenden. IT’S ALL COMING OUT, sooner than you think!
      If any more victims need to contact me, you may do so by hitting the contact link on the Fessenden Alymbi Victims eebsite at www. Fessendenchildsexabuse.com

      John Sweeney
      Raped by Arthur Clarridge

      • John-

        I graduated in 1971. It is my understanding that I may have been the first black kid to graduate from Fessenden- as such, I have a unique perspective of my own. I think I remember you- at any rate I am truly sorry for the trauma that you experienced. You didn’t deserve it- and it wasn’t your fault. I recall hearing rumors about “Artie bait” Clarridge while at Fessy, and witnessed first hand, Robert Bowler’s violence (he smacked my roommate), Claude Hasbrouck’s sadism, and James Dallman’s volcanic temper (and ever present camera). Chris Maytag graduated in my class, and I was devastated to hear about how he died. Let me make clear- I was not abused, and I was horrified when I learned of the bust in 1977. It also sickened me to learn about the behavior of Mr. Coffin, a man whom I couldn’t stand, as well as his son, Nat, who was a fellow classmate. To be honest, most of those teachers- especially the bachelors, were pretty strange. Ned Douglas was another tyrant- but he was also the unfortunate butt of our private jokes regarding his rugged complexion. I also witnessed an event in my final year when Mr. Cook, the “Discipline Master”( who had a nasty habit of picking his nose), lost complete control of the Study Hall. You may have been there. I have no doubt that the gross misconduct that you and others endured probably occurred for many generations earlier. At any rate I wish you nothing but the very best and hope that the passage of time and support of your family and friends can help propel you toward a healthy and fruitful life. God Bless.

    • paddles and “green benches” ? that was all gone by 1970 dude, believe me. And who did the “green bench”? this is all new to me and a lot others Im pretty sure, by the time I got there. Doesn’t sound like the school I went to and I was 7 day boarder…

  55. Addendum: I have to say that I truly loved my classmates at Fessenden. Also- I would be remiss if I didn’t extend kudos to teachers like, Mr. Gibson, Mr. Michler, Mr. Goodhue (who terrified me-at first), and Mr. and Mrs. Dunham- who were fine and decent people and first rate instructors. Mrs. Maynard was a lovely lady as well. My study habits were honed at Fessy and, as a result, I was leaps and bounds ahead of my classmates when I returned to public school- where I excelled.

  56. I have been reading this blog with horror all morning. I taught in the “learning center” from about 1979 to 1985 or 6 with Connie Lappin. My son was a member of the class of 1986. I was a single parent at the time and thought it a great benefit that he could attend the school tuition free. I thought the hip checks in the hallways was just part of a guy culture, that I had been previously unaware of. Perhaps I was mistaken. I knew there was something creepy about the antics of Mr Putman and Mr Senecal. Antics is the wrong word; sadism would be more accurate. Dan Senecal had a good side gig going when he invited international boys home to his house in Manchester for vacations and long weekends. The off duty parents were charged a hefty per diem fee while their sons were fed a diet of baloney sandwiches and violent video games and movies. Who knows about the showers? Another of Dan’s specialities was the “wedgie”; grab a kid by the back of his pants and yank upwards hard. Maybe not hard core sexual abuse, but sick, nonetheless.

    Does anyone out there remember Mr. Mickey Clampitt? He was the school psychologist/test administrator, and lived in an apartment on campus next to the “learning center.” He would hand out “creepie crawlies” (!) , little plastic bugs, to boys and would proceed to “tickle” the boys with them. The boys would squirm and giggle as Mickey, obviously enjoying the whole affair, held the boys close to his body. Well, you get the picture. Not exactly rape, but clearly NOT OK., and possibly the tip of the proverbial iceberg…as is obvious from reading this blog. Thank you to all who have had the courage to come forward.

    • Dear Alumni.

    • I want to amend my own comment above, about Brock Putnam specifically. He had a loud booming voice , and a powerful presence. But sexual antics, NO. According to many whom he taught, some I know well and trust implicitly, he was a wonderful teacher, and a thoughtful compassionate man. So I thoroughly recant any implication in my previous comment. I would not want to smear a good man’s reputation, and he was/is a good man. Sometimes a loud booming voice was an asset, (one I, myself , did not possess) in settling a class of rambunctious, unruly 13 year old boys. ..but it was entirely harmless .

      • Thank you, Margie, for your revision of your earlier comments. A couple of thoughts concerning Fessenden and my time there. I arrived in 1974 with my wife, the late Deb Hamlet (Putnam). I applied to teach with the thought in the back of my head, “how tough could that be?” It didn’t take long for me to realize I had met the five qualifications to get hired, none of which were true qualifications.
        1.) I had gone to prep school myself, so I knew the general ethos.
        2.) I was a graduate of a prestigious New England all-male college – Amherst.
        3.) I had applied to teach the drama program and English (where there were anticipated openings) 4.) I was married – and Hyde II West was a married person’s apartment
        5.) I had a New England surname.

        In my entire first year, a total “rookie” to teaching, I had absolutely NO supervision or advisory assistance from anyone in the administration. I recall French teacher André Jacq being aware of my opening day nerves and trying to force a smile out of me. I don’t think he succeeded.

        I had endured a “Lord of the Flies” experience as a student at Milton Academy some years before, where I was bullied by peers and intimidated by a number of teachers, and it became the model I replicated as a teacher. Much of it was somewhere in the range of insensitive to downright stupid. I have little doubt that there were Fessy kids for whom I was not a good experience. My classroom was next to Ned Douglas’ math class, from which emanated immense verbal volcanoes and an occasional slammed door.

        My first play production (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court) was an absolute disaster. I still wince when I think of it. But, by the end of the year, I put on a production in the Sixth Form Garden of Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors, that went well. How could I lose? I had three pairs of identical twins in the cast, and Shakespeare’s script only had TWO of them!!

        After three years at Fessy, Deb and I moved out of Hyde and into campus housing. She had become the Art Department, reviving it wonderfully. Teachers all had “call numbers,” assigned by seniority, used to page students to post-lunch extra help. Deb’s joining an all-male faculty threw a bit of a wrench in the system. Her second year teaching, she was still at the bottom of the list, in spite of her seniority over new hires. Her insistence on being addressed and referred to as “Ms. Hamlet” – NOT EVEN MRS.!! (maintaining her professional name as an artist) piqued a number of the old guard, Mr. Coffin in particular.

        I left the faculty and entered Brandeis’ MFA program in theater. It was in my first year at Brandeis that the Claridge / Dallmann story broke. Three years later, I returned to Fessenden, I like to think significantly more mature and competent, and much more aware that the kids didn’t need to be intimidated, but coaxed and mentored. I was starting to become a professional educator.

        Many of Fessy’s teachers were recent college graduates with experience on varsity teams. They were hired as much for their coaching potential as they were for classroom teachers. There was a rotating coterie of young teachers who’d stay for two or three years and then go to law school or business school.

        By this time, I’d been “converted” from teaching English to teaching history, which ultimately became an epiphany for me. I continued to direct the school plays as well as working part-time in the development office. I left Fessenden for good in 1986, when I went to Harvard for another Master’s degree. In 1987, I moved to my present location in Connecticut, where I taught at a local public school until my retirement in 2010. Deb had two struggles with cancer at Fessy, and she had another one later, dying of it in 1993. She had a wonderful relationship with the boys, particularly after Ben was born while we lived at Fessy.

        Some singular incidents remain embedded in my mind. I recall the steward regularly serving pork or ham on Jewish high holy days. I talked about that with Mr. Coffin who dismissed it as pure coincidence. (To his credit, Randy Plummer put a stop to the practice once I pointed it out to him.) Deb and I then had a seder for a couple of boys in our apartment. I was later reprimanded for that.
        Hockey, Latin and St. Paul’s School were the three favorite references for Mr. Coffin’s ramblings in no-content faculty meetings. A few of us would sneak smiles at each other when they came up. Was it Jay St. John who murmured “GRAND SLAM!” when all three got into a single sentence?

        Deb and I knew that Claridge had some sort of a “double life,” but we’d naively assumed it was off-campus. Among his friends in the gay community, Claridge was known by his middle name “Press,” whereas we knew him as Arthur. We were good friends of Mickey Clampit, playing bridge together frequently, but somehow oblivious to the other facets of his life. Coffin’s alcoholic evening meanderings around the campus were well-known, but if anyone confronted him about it, I was unaware of it. Coffin had expressly prohibited the faculty from conversing with trustees about the school, threatening us with immediate termination if we did.

        Fessenden, as others have said, was at least somewhat modeled on English boarding schools. The “St. Grottlesex Schools” of Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts tended to follow the same model. I recall someone stating that living at Fessenden was as close to a feudalism as you could get. Your employer was also your landlord. There was no forum for grievances or complaints, and those were plentiful. At the same time, there was a certain ésprit de corps among many of us. A strange dichotomy.

        I’m not sure I’ve brought any enlightenment to this (immense!) forum, but I did notice few teachers engaged in this dialogue, and if my remarks have helped anyone with their understanding of the Fessenden experience, I am pleased to have helped.

        • Mr. Putnam,
          Thank you for weighing in on this subject. I was at Fessy from1975-1979. You were never my teacher, so I am sure you don’t remember me. I am sorry about your Milton experience, my Maternal grandfather was a science teacher there until his passing in 1964. It is certainly enlightening to hear the perspective from the other side of the desk as it were. I was fortunate, that I had no direct physical damage from my experience, though the pychological is another thing all together. Who recalls Mr. Tredennick’s ‘Rotations’? I to this day, loathe that man with every fiber in my being. Mr Lyons who was permanently pissed off at me for not playing his favoritism games.. Mr Rutherford, who hated me more than the fire of a thousand suns, for always having correct answers, gave me a 93 U in math. Who does that? I got a 93! To be fair, after hearing of his ‘Nam experience I gained a certain respect. That does not mean I have to like him.

          It was the social heirarchy within the student body that got me.. If we could have had a bit of unity against the decidedly evil. Yes, I had Clarridge as a teacher, when he was hauled off. No I was not surprised. I voiced my concerns of the overall atmosphere to my parents, who like so many others, bought in to the Fessy mystique. Dammit I want their money back! I don’t want it, THEY should have it! Profiting on abuse of kids! I am getting fired up, but I will stop. You always struck me as one of the good ones. Along with Mr Maynard, Mr and Mrs Lusby, Mr Wright, Mr Bassinet..

          So again, my thanks for not ignoring the subject, and lending support.

          • I graduated from Milton in 1963…I had several sciencecteachers whom I respected and liked. Who was your maternal grandfather?

          • Albert Thorndike. He was, I understand, very well liked by many of his students. I have no idea how he behaved toward them. I was two when he passed, and have no memory of him at all. His children do report that he was a very hard man though. Not a sexist, as my mother was very interested in science and physics and got on with him quite well.

        • I am pleased to see other past teachers stepping forward in this blog. I found this site by accident a couple of years ago. My three years teaching third grade at Fessy were very pleasant. Although I lived on campus, I was, apparently “blissfully unaware” of all these goings on. I knew Clarridge and Dahlman were weird but the abuses which have come to light blew me away. I am glad I was closeted away down in the Lower School hallway. I would be interested to hear from other teachers who were there during the 70’s. In more recent years, I connected with Jay St. John who actually followed in my footsteps and also taught at The Allen Stevenson School in NYC ( as I did but at different times) and years later ended up as the Head of School at the school I attended here in Florida when I was in elementary school.

        • Mr. Putnam-

          Great post. I doubt you remember me but you were my faculty advisor while I was at Fessy. I was also an “Art Monitor” for Ms. Hamlet.

          I used to hate the brutal nature of the 2-4pm daily sports requirement at the school. Being at an all boys school during puberty, the “Lord of the Flies” mentality ran rampant: If you weren’t a jock you were nothing. Not being particularly athletic, I was often physically and verbally abused. My solution to escape that torture was to either hide under my bed for 2 hours a day or figure out clever ways to avoid being caught for skipping sports. While I was never vocal enough to explain my concerns, I think Ms. Hamlet intuitively understood and allowed me to be an Art Monitor (which meant I could skip sports and do art projects).

          While alone in the art room one day I severely sliced my finger with an Exacto knife, sending me to the hospital for surgery. I recall sprinting though the long hallway to get to the infirmary, one hand cupping my other as blood gushed out. A faculty member whom I vaguely recall as Mr Douglas, yelled at me for running. He demanded I go back to the start of the hall and walk.

          While slicing into a vein wasn’t a fun situation, I remember being excited that I got to escape from the torturer of Fessenden for a whole week!

        • Mr. Putnam,

          It is great to see your comments and remember you. I am so sorry to hear that Ms. Hamlet has passed away. She was such a wonderful presence. I recall her first round of cancer while at school. In my young mind, I had not realized the gravity of her illness at the time, but I remember her return, looking frail and small. A few friends and I (self-edited from “me and some friends”) put together a tape recording celebrating her return, and I still remember presenting it to her (and you). You and she were a great comfort and a great teacher (along with people like Mr. Olsen and Mrs. Dunham) in an otherwise miserable, torturous school. Its hard to overstate how important it was to have teachers who were steady, calm, reassuring, kind in an otherwise cruel environment.

  57. And the sad fact is that all of us women teachers (only a handful) talked about the weirdness among ourselves all the time. (See above post) . But did nothing. It’s shameful, very shameful.

    • Thanks for this Margie,

      I often wondered about the women that worked at Fessy during my dark days – what did they know and why did they not come forward. I refer to the school nurses who were among the only women to have close contact with the boys. What Dahlman did to me often left marks and the infirmary was at times my refuge (the only way I could escape the dorm). Because of this I was pegged a hypochondriac and brutalized all over again. do you know any of their names ? id bet they have a few tales to tell. thank you for sharing your insight.

      • Mrs. potter was a wonderful nurse there. You remember her? She later went to Tabor to work. She passed away years ago I’m pretty sure

        • OMG I remember her well — I also saw her at Tabor where my story continued. I wonder if she is still alive. Id bet my last 10cents that she knew precisely what was happening. Dahlman was a practiced sadist and knew precisely how to hurt kids without leaving bruises (I’m positive that this was a sexual thing for him) Thanks for sharing that. I am constantly amazed at how much of my time at the little school of horrors was buried so deep that I don’t remember a thing until something triggers it. I was never been a believer in repressed memory until this thing broke… holy cow.

          • Hey you said you went to TA. When were you there? You said the”story continued” at Tabor. Really? That would TOTALLY new. There has never been any suggestion of anything amiss. You sure about that ? I was there- can’t think of ANY faculty members that would have been engaged in that.

        • Ms. McQueen was the other nurse. Most of the students preferred Ms. Potter because of her pleasant disposition. Ms. McQueen was stern- but I always thought she was the better nurse. Anyway- I liked her.

  58. […] Readers of this blog know that 5 years ago the Fessenden school admitted a pattern of “inappro… The 2011 letter named two faculty members, Arthur Clarridge and James Dallmann, who were arrested in 1977 for crimes against children that took place outside of campus, and suggested that one of them (Clarridge) abused a student. No other names of abusers were revealed in the 2011 letter by current headmaster David Stettler, but the comments at the end of my blog post detailed not only the names, but the fact that the inappropriate sexual behavior took place over a much longer period of time (one former student indicated it started as early as the 1940s) and involved many more staff and faculty members. […]

  59. On May 8, 2016, the Boston Globe Spotlight team (the same group of investigative journalists who blew open the sexual abuse scandal at the Catholic Church) published a report about rampant sexual abuse at Fessenden and other New England prep schools. In addition, the school’s current headmaster has sent another letter to students. See the report and letter and my reaction here: Spotlight exposes more abuse at Fessenden and other prep schools. Why no investigation?

  60. Graduated somewhere between 76-79 (vague to stay anonymous) – reading this is re-opening wounds. Arty Clarridge was regarded as a pitiful fool by all the students I knew. I remember we were in the big study hall, and Arty was monitoring it, and silently we all started humming really loudly, while pretending to study. Arty started petulantly fuming, yelling at us to stop, which of course we did not. I remember wondering what that guy actually got paid for – he was obviously such an oxygen thief and played no meaningful role in teaching or being a part of the social aspects of the school. It was shocking to learn of how depraved he was. I am not going to break anonymity of fellow students, but there is absolutely no doubt there were things going on with Arty and some of my classmates. It was common knowledge that they would steal pot from him, something he probably insidiously set up, and he would take certain students – ones who were hypersexual – on rides in this black limo he had (or some such car that was impressive to young boys). After all of this, I have serious questions about some of the other teachers. Nasty Ned Douglas for one, probably the most twisted and sick man I have come across in my life. For one, he was strangely close with Coffin’s son, who when he was 17-18 years old, would come back to Fessenden and hang out with Nasty Ned – pretty strange for a high school senior to be that chummy with a 30 year old teacher. Learning that Coffin’s son was another sexual predator makes their closeness now seem repulsive when it was formerly only strange. Nasty Ned would also have his favorite students and shower them with affirmation. He was also somewhat tight with Dallmann, as they both taught in that hallway under the dorms near the V form study hall, and they were both abusive and violent towards students. There seemed to be a sympatico between them. Nasty Ned would slam the door if someone got a multiplication table wrong, and it would echo down the hallway. Dallman would get that nasty sneer and get right in kids faces – he reminded me to Gollum from the Lord of the Rings when he got that nasty sneer on his face. I also remember that Dallman would give out candy at the end of class, requiring students to say “erk erk” like trained animals for their candy. He was always weird, but these revelations make it now repulsive.

    The abuse was rampant and the bullying was fairly severe. As toxic as it was, that is not what ultimately bothered me. What did bother me was the profligate sexuality that went on there. I was not abused, but the pornography and permissive attitude that faculty had towards sex and masturbation was disturbing, and that environment scarred me. Sexuality in the dorms was loose and unrestrained, and it certainly was a prime environment for filth like Arty Clarridge to find victims. The sexual environment was so disturbing there I honestly did not think it was that abnormal that people would steal pot from the assistant headmaster and that he would take hypersexual students on limo rides with him.

    I guess it is going to be hard to get folks to come forward about this – there is no motivation or financial payoff to revealing like in the case of the Church. For that reason, I want to thank John Sweeney and the other men for taking this heroic mission on – to have truth be told, and I pray for justice and healing for you and all of the other men that were wounded by the evil that existed there.

    • Clarridge used to have a vette when I was there in early 70’s. supposedly raced carswhen he was younger. who knows now if that was true. I seem to remember that the whole drug/ car thing was rumoured. thought I heard it later at prep school- through grapevine- someone who knew someone who heard it etc..funny thing it did match up. so there was an awareness and inkling of what was happening- not just at a faculty level but among some students as well.

  61. There is always bad with the good, no matter where you go in life. I graduated in early 70’s and have to tell you it was a great school. Great sports, food and alot of great teachers. Think about this everyone…….We made friends for life at this school from 4th grade to 8th grade. These wereOUR MOST IMPRESSIONABLE YEARS OF OUR LIFES! From many classes before me to 7 years later after I graduated, we ALL knew Claridge was a sex abuser, christ they still make jokes about him 40 plus years later! Sunglasses in the shower room everyday? I mean DUH! Even the new 4th graders knew the first week they were there. Dallman used to rub my back while his whiskey bottle would be clanking on my chair and he smelt like an alley drunk at 9 am in class. Dunham? He beat the living crap out me in hockey practice year after year and Hasbro used to lift students completely off the floor with their feet dangling in the air from his BRUTAL chinnies!! Today, they would all be in jail in a day! We came from a different time, you took it and didnt complain about it, especially on the sports fields. Parents didnt want to hear it nor did they ever believe it. Still , I have great memories and great friends 45 years plus later, not many schools can do that. Sports there were awesome and we had great teams and coaches. God bless Unc Wheldon and his wife, wish the classes for the last 15 years could of exeprienced them. Congrats to David Settler new headmaster for blowing the lid off of this and truly paving the road for all private schools across this nation, ALL OF US owe him a huge aqmount of gratitude and respect.WELL DONE DAVE! Also remember that all teachers and headmaster knew back then….I mean there were daily student comments every day, all day , at this school about these teachers and abusers.The physical abuse and man did I have some of that far beyond chinnies on the hockey rink we just took it and moved on. Look at the young men of WWII, a helluva alot tougher than what we pump out today- Look I am not saying that any of this is right, I am just saying thats the way it was back then and most of us had good times. For those who got molested and abused beyond belief, well it never should of happened because alot of us knew it was happening there or at least had some type of knowledge about it. Now, to my Fessy ones in need……. my thoughts, prayers and support goes out to all of you. We bonded together then as Fessy boys, why should we not now? My name is Trev Gowdy and my cell phone is 978-764-3169. To the ones who need help, a friend, a supporter or just someone to understand and to listen for you…….I AM HERE FOR YOU! Red or Grey? That no longer matters, what matters is that we stick together and help all of the ones who need our help and our support right now. Wishing all of my Fessy friends and all Fessy graduates all my best and just wanted to let you know that alot of us are here for you, here for you now. All my Best, Trev Gowdy

  62. I want to thank Boston Globe Spotlight for their reporting on all of our stories. I have been contacted by new victims that were abused and have passed them on to my attorney, Mitchell Garabedian. As I have always said previously on this blog to be patient when I know something is going to come out in the Press.

    A bombshell is about to come out. Something I’ve waited for all my life. Please be patient. The media request for interviews is off the hook so I will be doing another one soon. These new interviews is not the bombshell that I am talking about. Stay tuned. I have updated my website with a breaking news link. I have had over 1800 hits since the Spotlight story came out.http://www.fessendenchildsexabuse.com/breaking-news.html. Again thanks.

  63. Random Thoughts In Response to Boston Globe Article on Sexual Abuse at Fessenden School in 1960s -1970s

    The other day (May 11, 2016) I received a letter from the Headmaster of the Fessenden School in West Newton, MA. I attended school, as a full time border, from 1965 through 1968. I graduated the 8th grade in 1968 and attended boarding school in northern New England.

    During my 3 years at Fessenden, I saw my parents only during school vacations since they lived hundreds of miles away.

    The letter from The Fessenden Headmaster did not go into much detail, other than there was a Boston Globe article coming out and if you had experienced any sexual abuse, please contact the school.

    I have read the Boston Globe article and watched the videos of the Fessenden boys. Interestingly, I know Steve Starr, the first person mentioned in the article. He was in the 1968 school play, Rip Van Winkle. I was one of the musicians – I accompanied the pianist by playing the drums (for sound effects such as thunder).

    I am not surprised to see the names of certain Fessenden teachers mentioned in your article. I always thought it a bit strange that the walls in Jim Dallmann’s apartment were wallpapered with photographs of numerous boys. Jim was a bit effeminate, but was well liked by the students.

    Fessenden had a large open community shower located in the gym area. Us boys were required to shower each day, after sports. About 10 -12 boys could shower at one time, under the watchful eyes of a teacher. On Sunday’s the teacher checked off your name as you came out of the shower room, having first made sure you actually showered and not just run through the water to feign a showering. There was no privacy in the shower room or in the locker room. In fact nearly all the student dorm rooms held only 1 person and were just large enough for a military style bed, a dresser and a night stand. The rooms were stained dark brown and were “depressing.” Adjoining dorm rooms were separated by a 6 foot wall with a 2 – 3 foot opening at the top of the wall. This allowed you to peek over into the other boy’s cubicle. Mostly we looked over the wall after lights out so we could chit chat (without getting caught and getting demerits). Dorm rooms did not have doors, just curtains. Thus you never had any privacy in the dormitories. Also, through out the school, all the boys’ toilet stalls had no doors. As you can imagine, the lack of privacy, the young age of the boys, may have made Fessenden an attractive place for pedaphiles.

    Claude Hasbrouck was a dorm master and a piano teacher. Each weekday, during assembly in the study hall, we listened to readings from the Bible and sang hymns. Mr. Hasbrouck played the organ. It was wonderful to hear the thunderous power of the organ. Mr. Hasbrouck was a master organist, and he left me with a love for Christian hymns due to his ability to bring the hymns “to life.” However, Mr. Hasbrouck, who was from Germany, was a very strict and authoritarian person. He was also a firm disciplinarian. I too experience his anger, infamous chinnys and numerous demerits. In many ways Mr. Hasbrouck embodied the philosophy of the faculty, which was to use authority, rules, and demerits to keep the boys in line.

    Most teachers did not resort to physical touching or punishment to control the boys – the demerit system worked quite well. (With enough demerits you lost your ability to go into town on Saturday and you had to spend the weekend in a detention study hall. The loss of your weekend freedom was to be avoided at all costs.)

    All the boys on Mr. Hasbrouck’s dorm floor had to take a weekly bath under his supervision. His reason for the baths was to ensure that those boys who purposely skipped showering were clean.

    It always seemed strange to me that a man the age of Arthur P. Clarridge was never married. He was 37 years old in 1965, and, to the best of my knowledge, did not have a girlfriend. However, he did own a Corvette, and from time to time he would offer to take a boy for a ride in his Corvette. I know of one incident. What might have happened on that occasion I do not know.

    When my parents enrolled me in Fessenden, I was told that the school was modeled after the English boarding school system. Of course I could not understand what that meant, but I sure found out quick enough.

    Although I was never molested, I did experience another form of harassment at Fessenden. Because I was short and pudgy, wore glasses, and was not a good athlete, I experienced hazing and bullying from some of the students, and disparaging/put down comments from some of the faculty. The faculty who made the comments did so with the intent of “toughening me up” and helping me become a “real man.” Good intentions??. Bad result! Sadly the hazing and bullying continued through prep school (grades 9-12).

    So what effect did the hazing, bullying and disparaging comments had on me? It made me insecure, a perfectionist (since I did not want to be a screw-up and incur the wrath of the bullies), a very determined, driven (Type A+) and focused person, but with a disdain for athletic jocks. The jocks, who were always the more physically mature and better athletes received continual praise and were almost always elected the class officers, regardless of their intellectual talents and character. Sadly, some of them were the hazers and bullies – the strong preying on the weak. Read the book, “Lord of the Flies.” The ultimate effect was to cause me to want to never experience such pain in my adult life. Thus, I was determined to become a district attorney who would protect the weak and innocent from the strong and guilty via the legal system. Well reality (especially law school) has a way of refining one’s ideas, I am a instead tax attorney.

    I am grateful for the excellent education I received at Fessenden. But I am sad to learn about the boys who were molested and are living with this horrible nightmare. I hope that they can find healing.

    SVG, Class of 1968

    • Jeez Hasbrouck was NOT supervising baths when
      I was there. He was in charge of Memorial Hall, right
      Above the study hall. The other master was mr Wallace. That was 71-72. He would scream at us sometime and then slam his door. Everybody was bigger than he was..

  64. I attended Fessenden from the third through ninth grade (1979–1986). I want to offer some reflections on what I’ve been reading. First I want to say that there was a “Lord of the Flies” atmosphere at times. Some boys got bullied by other boys. I was lucky not to be one of those who were bullied, and I am proud to say I was never among the bulliers. Bullying is not acceptable, and my greatest regret is that I did not intervene to stop it when I could have. (I can think of only one or two occasions when I did, and that is far too few for all the years I spent there.)

    I do not, however, think that the level of bullying that happened marks Fessenden as a uniquely pathological institution. It has been pretty much the same in every all-male environment I’ve observed in my life, and I’ve seen quite a few. If there is a pathology then it is one that is inherent all (or almost all) all-male social environments in North America. Again, that does not make it acceptable. Nor am I prepared to say that single-sex education for boys can never work, my point is merely that there are these tendencies and that teachers and administrators in such environments need to take active steps to prevent. Did Fessenden do enough to prevent this from happening? No. Of course not. The fact that it happened so much means that it didn’t. Is Fessenden uniquely bad in this respect? Not in my opinion. More on this below.

    I start off with bullying among the boys because this has been mentioned by others upthread, and I wanted to acknowledge it to get it out of the way before focusing on more serious matters: physical and emotional abuse of students by teachers, sexual abuse of students by teachers, and (something else no one has yet mentioned) sexual abuse of students by other students.

    Beginning with the last, this definitely did happen. I remember one case where a boy was supposedly tied up by another boy, who put his penis in the tied up boy’s mouth. I believe there were other students present, who helped the victimizer. This was sometime between 1983 and 1985. The whole thing seems to have been hushed up, possibly at the wishes of the parents involved. The victim left school for awhile, and then came back. The victimizer left school for a much longer time, and also came back.

    About sexual abuse of students by teachers. First, I just want to say that I myself was sexually abused by a pedophile during the years I was at Fessenden, but it happened outside school and the man who did it was not connected with Fessenden in any way. I mention this just to make clear that I am very aware of this problem and sympathetic to the victims. Having said that, I do not have any knowledge (direct or second hand) of any teachers sexually abusing students during my years at Fessenden. I am not saying that to cast doubt on anyone else’s account. My point is merely to provide some perspective. Whatever sexual abuse may have happened during my years there (and again I don’t doubt that it did) it was definitely not rampant. Boys talk among themselves and rumor spread quickly. The fact that I could have spent all those years there without encountering it means it was not the total hotbed of teacher-student sexual abuse (at that time anyway) that some may be tempted to imagine. Again, this is not to minimize the suffering of victims or to imply that even a single stray case of abuse is acceptable. Just to provide some perspective on the institution overall.

    Last point, about (non-sexual) physical abuse of students by teachers. This is a tricky one. It is tricky because horsing around and roughhousing—among the boys and also between teachers and students—were a constant feature of life at Fessenden and not all of it crossed a line into bullying. Some of the most popular and beloved teachers engaged in this kind of stuff, and were not resented by students for it because they never actually hurt anyone or made anyone feel picked on. On the other hand, it should be clear from the accounts above that there were particular teachers who were actually violent and short tempered. I witnessed this sort of thing, and there is no excuse for such behavior. Where it gets tricky, in my opinion, is that when you have some faculty engaging in good natured rough housing that everyone enjoys and accepts it is very easy for some to go too far. And even a little bit of benign roughhousing by some beloved faculty can inadvertently create a climate where it is easier for others (faculty and students) to cross that line into something that is not at all acceptable.

    Something to bear in mind is that a lot of the male teachers were themselves very young. Many were recent college graduates. They are technically and legally adults, but from where I stand (I’m now 45 years old) they are practically children themselves. I try to imagine what it was like for them to come into this environment. They also had to adjust to something new, and I wonder what kind of guidance the school provided for them. Were clear guidelines established. Was there a system where they could share concerns or questions openly with more senior members or administrators? I don’t know, but there should have been.

    I just want to end by saying that despite some very unhealthy aspects of life at Fessenden, and despite being quite unhappy there during my last two years, my overall memories of the place were very positive. There were so many teachers who really made a difference in my life, and who were truly dedicated to what they did and who did it well. To name just a few: Mr. Wright (the man who made me love geometry), Mr. Sullivan (my first Latin teacher), Deb Putnam (my art teacher) and another male art teacher whose name escapes me at the moment. My 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Nolan. My music teacher Miss Paul. My wrestling coaches Mr Scheidegger and Mr Bradley (who also taught history and was the first to call me “Nate” a name I proudly retain to the present day). Mr Olsen, my 5th grade teacher. Mrs Dooling, who taught history. Brock Putnam (husband of Deb Putnam) who taught me history, and who was a truly wonderful human being. Another math teacher whose name I can’t recall, but he used to fascinate us with talk of world records in the 1 mile run! Mrs. Conrad, who taught English. Mr MacIntyre, who taught anthropology—a topic most students never even hear of till college—to our 5th grade class. I myself went on to get my PhD in anthropology and am an anthropologist today! Cedric Paine, my biology teacher, who was a very good man though not always as appreciated by students as he should have been, because he was strict. Mr Paine also had a very good sense of humor, something I only realized in retrospect. Then there is Mr Carey, who was from Liverpool, and taught me about computers and sailing—a truly dedicated teacher. Mr Carey called all the boys “Squire.” And Mr Maynard, who taught geology with great enthusiasm to a class of very unruly boys. These are just a few of the hard working teachers who made a real difference in my life.

    I have no doubt that many things were wrong at Fessenden, and I am glad some of them are coming to light. At the same time, let us not forget the hard working individuals who tried their best to teach us.

    I am using my real name because I haven’t been in touch with anyone at Fessenden for many years. If anyone wants to contact me, either in connection with the abuse scandals or just to say “hi” my email is robertuncle-at-gmail-dot-com

  65. I am sure there were some great teachers at Fessenden when I attended in the early 60’s. Unfortunately, their names have been long forgotten and overwritten by the abusers like Hasbrouck, Clarridge, Bowler, Vice principal Cooke and even Hart Fessenden himself. Did they toughen me up? You bet they did! I learned to be distrustful, defiant and to challenge authority. My experience at Fessenden made me tough enough to walk from West Newtown into Boston in the middle of winter, not knowing or caring where I was going as long as it was away from there.

    • actually our teachers names haven’t been forgotten or overshadowed, nor will some of us allow that, Adrian.I think even John would agree with that.. Good luck with everything

  66. To Mr. Lamont and all who suffered the abuse, humiliation and fear that Fessenden apparently tolerated and perhaps even fostered: my deep and sincere sympathy for what you went through and my best wishes that you find satisfaction in the ultimate outcome of the case against the school.

    As the parent of a 2012 graduate, I can attest to the fact that today’s Fessenden, unlike any other school I’ve encountered, really walked the talk when it came to providing a safe, supportive, ethical and uniquely “boy-centric” educational community. In 2007, every educator knew the buzzwords about valuing the individual, parent-teacher partnership, zero tolerance for bullying, etc., etc. Only Fessenden was clearly and deliberately putting that into action. There were VIP kids, yes, and at least one teacher (a woman) was dismissed for a sexual relationship with a student the year after my son’s graduation. But the effort to create and maintain an environment of “Honesty, Compassion and Respect” during my son’s years there was sincere and, for the most part, successful. They “got” boys and continually worked to improve a pedagogy that fostered growth, empathy and friendship. The note from the Class of 2012 upthread testifies to this.

    As others have said, that in no way lessens the impact of the evil perpetrated on so many helpless boys. The pain and injustice they felt and still feel needs to be addressed. To what extent the current administration can do that is a matter the parties and the court must decide. It is my sincere wish that the party that matters, the injured Fessenden boys, gets the satisfaction they require. In our world, that usually comes down to money, which is a poor substitute for years of suffering. But there it is.

    From my experience, the legacy of those decades recounted in these comments was nowhere to be seen from 2007 to 2012, the years my son attended. Whatever reparations are due to the victims of abuse, may they be determined as quickly and with as little complication possible. But please let it also be known that today’s Fessenden, though not a perfect place and not the best place for everyone, bears no resemblance to the terrible place it was for so many defenseless boys.

    Jay Kent

    • While I have no doubt that the school is different now, it is clear that the culture of protecting the school at the expense of the students is still alive and well. With all respect to your perspective as a parent, you are missing that prep schools have hundreds of years of experience at projecting an image of shiny-cheeked young men growing in an environment of “honesty, compassion, and respect.” You have teachers on this page saying they were completely unaware of what these predators were doing, and yet witnessed the hip checks in the hallway, etc. Having attended Fessenden for several years and growing up in a New England family, I was well trained in understanding when people didn’t want to hear the truth. It is why the janitor in the basement got fired after a few years but those predators who ran the school lasted 40 years. It was about protecting the reputation of the school and projecting an image. It’s why Claridge was fired immediately in ’77 and the school got ahead of the story by saying everything happened off campus. Its why the school puts out a letter recently saying “stuff happened and call us if it happened to you” but not truly having a public reckoning with the past and how you can promote a culture that doesn’t allow that to happen. While that kind of pervasive sexual abuse wouldn’t happen now, the culture of protecting the school continues.

      Its hard for an outsider to see it, and its even hard for folks who experienced it to understand. One Fessy alum who was very familiar with the sexual abuse decided to send his son to the school. I will never understand that.

      Your proclamation about the current school is like judging the military by its parade ceremonies. You don’t really understand the institution unless you have both the experience and the perspective.

  67. I want to thank Jay Kent for his thoughtful post. The victims understand the school faculty is different, the board is not. They recently told us to litigate them, which most of us can’t because of the statute of limitations has expired, and they know their insurance company will not pay any claims due to the cover-up that goes all the way back to the 50’s. They told my attorney they have taken me off the mediation list, even though they admit that I was raped and starved at the school. All they care about now is protecting the endowment.

    I would like to hold a meeting of the alumni. I am prepared to sit down with them, and tell them the truth about what went on, if they really want to know. This material is in the hands of the Boston Globe Spotlight, but because of an editors word count, could not be put in the Spotlight article. There are 9 pedophiles that raped little boys at this school, Fessenden only admits to three, and I will name them the others.
    I urge anyone that supports are fight for justice, contact me at 772-828-0049 or jsweeney161@att.net

    Fessenden Alumni should follow the lead of at least 600 of Exeter’s Alumni who stop donating money to the school until they settles that schools victims.

    My agent has me revising my book and Proposal who has his Hollywood connections on speed dial. They are going to be pitching it to the Ben, Matt, Walburg, Spotlight Movie Producers, Ryan Seacrest etc. Maybe that is what it is going to take to get the word out to make a wrong a right. Maybe people have to read about how these purps used the tunnel systems built under the school to rape their prey. If that happens, this school is toast and it will be the Boards fault. This is my focus now. I’m a Green Beret fighting the injustice bestowed upon Fessenden’s victims. It did not need to come to this, but there you have it.


    John Sweeney

    • Any updates on the book / movie about life at Fessenden? Looking forward to this. Thanks

  68. Boy the bad memories this brings back. After everyone’s recollections and the people who defend this school. Sending kids away to an all boys boarding school in 6 th grade is a bad idea. It’s unhealthy and it leads to abuse both physical and sexual. However all of the blame here is directed at the school and not the parents like mine who had kids and didn’t want to take the time to raise them. Finally I would like to mention Mr Jacques another amazing teacher at Fessenden who was a wonderful teacher yet paradoxically a terrible French teacher, you could get him to go off on how crazy Americans were for hours thus avoiding our French lessons. He was on the other hand a perceptive well educated and travelled man who did not judge me on all those endless hours of detention picking up trash on the grounds.

  69. I recollect Fessendon as being more like an undisciplined zoo. I was there from 80′ to 85′ before being suspended In Dec. of 85′. I subsequently moved over seas to live with my mother. I started as a day student in second grade, but when my parents divorced whilst in 3rd grade my mother moved away and my father made me a 5 day boarder, then a 7 day border. The climate was definitely like lord of the flies. I was a smart kid (terrible student) very good athlete, and popular amongst everyone I knew , including the upper class boys . This means that I wasn’t one of the unfortunate kids that were bullied or abused. I was in trouble a lot, but all but a few of the teachers seemed to like me, and truly wanted to see me succeed. Especially Mrs. Dooling. Sure there was some pretty serious horsing around that by enlarge went unchecked by the teachers mostly because it was such an unsupervised environment. It really seemed like we could do what we want. I am not surprised at all by the allegations of physical and sexual abuse. I witnessed many assaults by teachers . At the age of 10 you don’t realize that just because it isn’t you that is getting abused that it’s okay. I discovered this blog because I just googled a teacher whom I’ve thought about many times over the years. His name is Dan Senecal. I loved Mr. Senecal, his wife, and his daughter Nichole. I even went to his camp 5 years in a row. It was at Explorers East that I was raped by an older boy that was in 8th grade when I was in 3rd. I remember seeing him in the halls the next fall wanting to kill him. Anyway, back to Senecal. If he liked you, he was the best. If he didn’t, you’d have your hair pulled, ear pulled until it would almost ripped off, wedgied etc. As described above, his anger would lash out briefly, then he’d be all fun and good after. I am just remembering this , reading the above entries. Another was Brick Fischer. I never had a problem with him. Actually liked him. His wife tutored me for a little while When I was living in Hyde II and I loved her. If Fischer didn’t like you, he would humiliate you and slam you against the wall. Again he never did this to me but I saw him do it to kids that you could tell irritated him. Mr. Lyons was a narcissistic asshole on a power trip. He had it out for me for years and finally after the new headmaster Mr. Plummer came with the probation/ final probation rule, he was finally able to get rid of me. It was actually a blessing in disguise because when I left Fessenden I went to a prestigious private school overseas that put Fessy to shame.

    Too many good teachers to name. Scheideggar, Stone, The Maynards, McCintyre, Carey, Olsen, Nolan, Fessenden, Bradley, Roberts, Mr C and many others.

    Nate , If you’re reading this, I remember you fondly. You were a little older but we were on the wrestling team together, and I always liked you and your mother.

    Not sure if anybody else remembers Ms. Heitmiller allowing upper classmen to come into her classroom after school, only wearing a towel. Abnormal?

  70. After all the hype surrounding the Globe article in May 2016- things have gone notably quiet… is there a lawsuit against Fessenden still? Did they settle? What about charges against any individuals? And what of this documentary ? To me it just seems like it’s being swept under the rug once more….

    • hey Stevie
      Well, waddya know..somehow not surprised. are you? I graduated the year after you. In fact, Someone in the media contacted me about him awhile back. and Michael? you remember his brother? circle is almost complete I think

      • Hey Steven- I read about your past experiences at Fessy- and I am sorry that you were exposed to that madness. That you are a success in your chosen field shows that you have been able to transcend the abuse- as well as your abusers. You should feel good about yourself. The news about Mr. Dunham comes as quite a shock. I always thought that he was one of the few stalwarts at the school. What a drag! I remember Parker, too. Had absolutely no idea. You were a good kid- and I remember when we did “Oklahoma”. All the very best to you!

        • Yeah Stu I graduated the year after. I remember
          Oklahoma lol. Great production. The Dunham is kind of problematic isn’t it? He was one of those who would be the foundation of the school as the older guys. I think he was there at the time of the ckarridge arest and may have been acting headmaster. Gear teacher and great coach. We don’t know the frequency of this or the context. But as I told John, for some reason it didn’t surprise me-don’t know was a vibe I had at the time I dunno. I remember you and your posts reflect my good memories of the place. I didn’t realize what was or had gone on.

          • Cab-
            This blog is so bittersweet in that it re-connects us with some of our classmates, albeit under some of the most disturbing and reprehensible circumstances imaginable.
            This culture of predatory and sadistic behavior on the part of faculty members who were charged with our safety and well being- most certainly pre-dates the aforementioned examples of abuse that have been described above. It must have been an open secret for generations.
            I have read every single entry on this blog- and, knowing many of the victims and most of the teachers involved, the scope and magnitude of this vile behavior is as shocking as it is revolting.
            I applaud the courage and tenacity of my fellow classmates. Their determination to bring this dark chapter in Fessenden’s history to light- will yield the dividends of healing and grace that they all deserve. Thanks for your posts as well- Cab.

  71. I graduated in 1979.
    I jusr received a letter in the mail dated June 20th,2017.
    So how much longer will the school continue to have “qualified educators raping students”
    What has this world coming too???
    Artie Clarligde was complete scum .
    What exactly is happening with the interview process???
    The board of directors and head master should be held responsible.
    Forget about the lore and tradition of the school , it’s time to look in the mirror

    • Jeffrey, thank you for your support.What we need is more alumni like you who know what went on, and hold the school accountable.It will not do anything for victims to come forward. They dont care aboutbus for financial reasons. But if alumni and current parents get on board with the victims, then the boards attitude will change.

      John Sweeney
      Raped 1969

      • John
        Whatever happened to Doug Parker? Didn’t he have accident or something. Can’t exactly remember. Jus wondering

        • Doug died in a mountain climbing accident in his later teen years. He was briefly my roommate in Cottage dorm during our senior year at Fessy, he was a really good guy, I was so sorry to hear about the tragedy.

    • Jeff thanks for asking the question about when fesdenden will stop covering up the abuse. Answer is when I sit the school this fall surrounded by victims. Carmen Durso is my lawyer.it is going to take the alumni like you to call the school up and demand answers and stop donating money to the school.

    • Some of the victims settled. At least one refused, and I think there are many more victims who never joined the suit. There was never any independent investigation, and many of the accused were never referred to authorities before the statute of limitations ran out — just like the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

      Fessenden didn’t do enough back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s to protect children, did everything it could to ignore or sweep accusations under the rug, and didn’t warn other schools that hired some of these teachers after they left Fessenden. Nobody was ever prosecuted or convicted for abusing children or negligence associated with the abuse.

      That’s where things stand.

  72. Class of 71 – John – Reading these comments Just rekindles memories of that crazy place – was a 5 day boarder and could not wait till Friday after sports to go home – I would at times have some of the 7 day boarders spend weekends at my house since I lived in Brookline – Chris Maytag I had over a few times – Great friend – RIP – stu perry – I think CrimmIns – and others – if of you guys are out here lets reconnect – John I Support you a 1000% – If you need anything just let me know – We all knew they were fruit cakes and the others were crazy bastards – Hasbrouck I didn’t think had it in him – Just thought he was a crazy bastard and loved to torment him in study hall – had limited contact with him because i couldn’t sing – Had no idea these assh-les acted on there impulses – they didn’t seem interested in me – thank god – There were some good ones – and they have been mentioned – I wasn’t really interested in school just sports and we had some great teams – if anything good came out of that place it was on the field – never got any of the letters that were sent out by the school – would of known it was BS anyway – In my opinion at that time everything was pushed under the rug because it was so extreme – parents would have a hard time believing it could happen at such a prestigious institution – where parents thought we would be safe – I’m sure this culture has been breading for many years before this and was business as usual – John I still live in the area – again you need anything – let me know –

    • John
      I remember you guys giving hssbrouk a hard time I was in men hall a year later. I agree and said already it seemed being hasbrouck. You remember the stories ? It seems he wouldn’t have been capable. Kind of a dictator yelled and then went back into his apartment. Just never saw it in him. And he Was shorter than everyone. Seemed to have a crush on that young female piano teacher lol. All and all I had a good time there. Though the thing in news about Dunham doesn’t surprise me. Some vibe I had even then.

    • Louie-
      My good buddy. I guess we (Me, you, Eddie G., and Andy H.)- were some of the lucky ones. We raised more hell than we caught- and we raised plenty of hell. In retrospect, and in light of what happened to some of our classmates, I’m glad we put it to those psychos. Looking back- I think that we actually traumatized some teachers, whose names I will not mention- because they are either dead or not worth mentioning. Also- we were fortunate in that we went home on the week-ends. So sad that some of our friends and classmates had to deal with those warped degenerates. We all heard the rumors about certain teachers, but we never knew the truth until it came out in ’77. From what John and Stephen Starr have posted more recently- I am even more surprised to find out some of the other teachers who were involved. Teachers we never would have suspected. Our friendship and the good times that we had with our classmates- was what kept us strong. You were also one of the best childhood athletes that I ever knew. I know that sports helped keep your head on straight, along with some of our childhood skullduggery. Hope all is well with you and yours. God Bless You My Friend.

  73. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36053950-the-devil-s-playground

    FYI, My book has been published and it’s the true story of Fessenden’s past.
    As many of you know, I recently started sending out emails to Alumni for my investigation. Dozens of witnesses and additional victims have come forward. The witnesses are now Doctors, Lawyers etc. Not light weights. Here is one very disturbing account from a man who told me about ONE of his experiences.
    The student was hanging out with the janitor sweeping floors. When the janitor unlocked the door to Serial Pedophile James Dallman’s Dark Room to clean it, Dallman was found with his pants down to his ankles abusing another student. Dallman then Screamed ” Shut the Fucking Door” which the janitor did, then went about doing his chores with this student at his side, as if nothing had happened.

  74. John – read your book cover to cover – I like that you gave it to Fessenden with both barrels – I’m guessing that you never ran into Bob Bowler – Sadistic and brutal he was every bit as psychotic as Hasbrouck – He left in ’70. Clarridge used to call me at my house on the weekend to join him in some bs car rally – I always refused (I was a 5 day border) He took me off campus and drove me into Boston to see a play (just the two of us) where he made his move on me – He seemed surprised when I removed his had from my crotch during the play. I was 10 or 11 at the time. Two years later I had him as my math teacher – Keep up the good work!

  75. I was at Fessenden in the fifties Isaw everything your talking about Look up mr Crabtree

  76. Wow. I grew up on Warwick Rd (1975-2005), which is the street that hugs Fessenden’s property in WN. Fessenden played a HUGE role in my childhood. I attended their summer camps, played in their fields, climbed their trees, and stole wood from their barn storage to build Tree Houses in those very trees. I napped on their baseball cages, and searched their tennis courts for neglected tennis balls as a kid, and as a pre-teen attended FA Day, I smoked cigarettes and skipped classes on Albermarle Hill, as was the practice of the locals at the time. I remember so many details about Fessy. The medical building with the 1950’s motif, the classicism of the main building, the hallways, and even the secret 1920’s BOWLING ALLEY in the tunnels of the boiler room! The tennis courts, the Hockey Rink, the original gym with it’s stage, and the massive Moose head in the boys dormitory, even the smell of the place I can recall. We watched countless boys in ties play soccer, baseball, and generally run amuck during recess, year after year, from our yard over the fence. It TRULY breaks my heart to know this bully/power struggle /sexual abuse was the culture of the school, and such injustices were taking place there, systematically. Condolences, sympathy, and strength to you all.

  77. I attended Fessenden from ’65 through ’68. I have thought many times during the years of writing down my experiences there. Thank you to all you guys who were abused for your courageous determination in keeping this under the spotlight. I’m so sorry that you were the random victims of these predators. It could have been any of us. I guess I was somewhat lucky, in that I was not sexually abused by any teachers. However, I was forced into a couple of homosexual encounters by older students, most likely vicitms themselves. It was all everyone has said, vicious, mean, and arbitrary. The crazy thing was, you could admire and look up to teachers, think you had a good rapport with them, and then they would turn on you. I’m sure I wasn’t the easiest kid to deal with, definitely ADHD. But Bowler and Dunham in particular, I felt especially betrayed by. I really admired what I learned from them in class, but they were clearly angry frustrated men.
    In Black List study hall, where I spent a good deal of my time, Dunham once became so pissed at me that he told me to stand up and run as fast as I could out of the room. He had been drumming a baseball on the desk, and as I ran, he wound up and delivered a fast ball. I stopped short and it whizzed by my nose, hitting a set of colored pencils on a kid’s desk behind me, which exploded across the room. Bowler, one time was watching my football practice with some older jocks, and took the time to yell out in front of everyone ” Hey Hanna, you suck ! ” No doubt that was true in football terms, but it really stung. Claude ” Chinny ” Hasbrouck was truly a sadist. He had me hold a penny against the wall with my nose, while standing with my hands behind my back, for an entire two hour study hall. Who thinks up things like that ? A Nazi I guess…
    A guy on our football team, who was built like a full grown man, told me this story a few years after we left the school. He was invited into Clarrige’s apartment, offered some beer, and then Clarrige made a pass at him. The kid reacted and knocked Clarrige out, breaking his jaw. Later, he and his father had to meet with Hart Fessenden, and Clarrige ( who had his jaw wired shut ). Fessenden essentially said to the the father, “Here’s the deal, if you don’t say anything about this, we won’t kick your kid out of school”. The father wanted to strangle Clarrige, but he had to let it go. Again, this was related to me by someone else, but it seems to fit. And at all costs, sweep it under the rug…
    The everyday bullying, belittling, and general craziness seemed normal after a while. There was an enormous amount of anti-semitism and rascism in the student body at the time, which didn’t come from nowhere. I can remember getting sucked into some bullying myself. We once filled up a kid’s cubicle with crumpled up newspapers, all the way to the top. I just remember his despairing look when he discovered what his dorm-mates had done. I felt like a shit. I once puched a kid out for calling my friend a kike in the locker room, but I really think I was motivated more by wanting to hit someone than any noble purpose.
    Slocum : shrapnel in his neck from WW1, which caused him to stretch his neck and jaw to one side in a very exaggerated way. We called him “reeeek”. Boyajian: he patted you on the ass, but I think that was just an old school thing, he really was a good guy. Wheldon, Cook, Maynard I had no problems with. But really just a strange crew taken all together. What a bizzare human experiment.

    • Thanks Doug, for sharing your story. Fessenden wasn’t just about child predators abusing students, it was a rotten culture with dynamics of violence, racism, and antisemitism enabled by people running the school. No one was ever charged with crimes for abusing children at Fessenden or covering up those crimes.

  78. FYI,

    Four nights ago on the news in Boston the Fessenden school said that the Howie Leung case is a isolated incident. What the School declined to say was that Howie Leung is a former student from the class of 1998, lived for a time with Ken Howe at Fessenden, and who came back to Fessenden after he graduated and worked directly for Ken Howe.
    There is more. Ken Howe is the guy that was investigated by Middlesex County DA 2 years ago and after a year-long investigation the district attorney determined that the Howe case in which he was accused of raping another student from the Fessenden school. I believe that the school will soon have to come clean on this information because my attorneys already have and what I have found extremely interesting is that when I informed the Press of this information they have declined to Circle back to the Fessenden school and inquire about these facts. I call on the district attorney of Middlesex County to reopen the Howe investigation because it is the belief of many in the Fessenden school including former faculty that this man Howie could very likely have been abused by faculty while he attended Fessenden.

    • John,
      I was a boarding student at Fessenden from 1998 to 2001 with Ken Howe heading the dean of student life (or whatever the exact title was almost 20 years ago). I had to deal with Mr Howe a good amount given I was a bit of a challenge at times, and got to go see him as a result. The worst I can say about the guy is that his announcements at mealtimes were incredibly boring and long winded, and his voice was a bit too nasally for a 12 year old boy to not snicker at.

      I saw the accusations against him and immediately doubted any validity to them because 1. He typically gave 1 on 1 interactions to his sister Judy Gobbi when out of school hours interactions with boarders were required & 2. Howe didn’t have interactions with kids that would even give credence to the accusations against him.

      Personally, I think he was unjustly targeted for reasons I am not aware of.

  79. I still wonder why it took so long for all of this to come out now when the case that involved Clarridge and dahlman was front page NYT news back when it happened. Nat Coffin? Was this true Or just rumour? Did he go to jail over this? There are a lot. Of names being named here. Jus saying maybe better I wasn’t aware. But I’m surprised that it never came to light.

    • No one was ever arrested, prosecuted, or sent to jail for any of the abuse that happened at Fessenden before the year 2000. The teachers who were charged in the 70s were arrested for crimes committed elsewhere, and the victims in those cases were not Fessenden students. Headmaster Coffin claimed to the media and authorities that nothing happened at Fessenden — a complete and utter lie and cover-up that allowed these predators to continue their abuse and escape punishment for their crimes.

      In April 2019, Howie Leung, an instructor at one of the Fessenden summer programs, was charged with raping a young teen girl who was an unpaid helper at the camp. It’s the first time any employee of Fessenden has EVER been charged with abuse of children and appeared in a local court. The charges didn’t come about because of any investigations that Fessenden initiated — it took a notification from a school in New Hampshire where Leung also worked to get the ball rolling.

      • I believe he worked on campus before he started working in Concord NH. Regardless, he has a long history with the school. A product of it’s culture?

  80. Ian
    I understand that. I m just surprised
    that this was able to stay under the radar ESPECIALLY
    after 1977-78 when Clarridge and dahlman were indicted.
    Maybe there were settlements then that no one knew about. I m amazed about the Coffin situation. None of that seems to ever have gone to court. I assume.

    • I wonder about that, too. Possibilities include the investigators were incompetent or unmotivated, but that seems unlikely considering the FBI actually showed up on campus to arrest them and presumably shake Fessenden’s tree. Other possibilities: they knew but didn’t have enough evidence to charge; they were lied to by Coffin, Fessenden’s lawyers, and other senior administrators; or the Fessenden School outright refused to cooperate.

  81. FYI,
    Bill Greaves II and I recently went to mediation with Fessenden for our cases. Bill decided to settle his case for the rapes he endured involving the perps Teaches Boyadjian, the Nazi Claude Hasbrouck and the school psychiatrist Dr. Young according to my Lawyer Carmen Durso.
    Yours truly declined the schools offer and I informed my attorney to notify Fessendens council that I’m done with mediation.
    My wife and I were appalled at the mediator, who told us to call him ” Uncle Paulie” (perps frequently tell thier victims to call them Uncle).
    Uncle Paulie called me “childish over the letter I wrote to the Board of Directors because the ending says ” now the BOD gets to see what it feels like to have their PJ’s pulled down”. And Unlce Paulie HIT ON MY WIFE THE WHOLE Time. She is a hairdresser and Unlce Paulie is bald. He told her he wished he still had hair so he could drive to Ct to have her cut his hair. And that’s not the Half of It!!!!
    I have Hired another law firm Synodi and Videll. Gordons wife Christine, a Yalie, specialty is Federal Law. According to a person I spoke with affiliated with the Ma Attorney Generals Office, who looked at all my evidence from my investigation over the last 10 years, told my wife and I that the only way in the Commonwealth to go after the school was to get the Fed’s involved. Funny, that is what Former Mayor Kevin Whites son told me to do several years ago. He is the only one to date that brought the school to court Federally, and as soon as the Jury was seated the school settled.

    I want the alumni to know that my non profit Safe Haven has been approved by the IRS for 5013c status. My wife is donating 14 acres in the Berkshires for Safe Haven Trauma Center (safehaventrauma.com). Several of you wanted me to let you know when I got the approval so you could donate money. At least something positive has come out of this mess. My website is being updated to accept donations via Pay Pal.

    • Thank you for fighting this fight. My father was the victim of multiple rapes at the CT Cheshire Academy in the early 1950s and although he told his parents about it, and supposedly it was reported to the school, his parents also sent him back to CA where the abuse continued.
      I know this experience colored his entire life until his death in 2012. Thank you for creating a safe space for victims of these institutions to heal, the scars of unaddressed abuse truly last a lifetime.

  82. Class of 1960
    I attended Fessenden from @ 1954 until maybe 1957 as a day student. My teacher and staff names were Whelden-they met at Fessy. She was Ms. Call-second or third form;
    The Plummers -he met Ms. Hovendon-fourth form and they married. He was a SOB. He and Mr. Fay were the big disciplinarians and I believe they were the ones that initiated the ‘chinies’. Damn they hurt. Other staff was the Robinsons, Goodhues, Haggenburger, Love, Mr. Gus (Minnie goo) we all called him, Mr. Moore, Mr. Cook and Mr. Gibson who both taught music at that time plus ran glee club and all the musical plays. I was in all the carol services at Christmas. We had a great geography teacher -I think Mr. Gordon. Younger guy and had a nice boxer named ‘lady’. I do remember a janitor-nice guy-but all I can recall was they all called him ‘Mac’.
    We did have some heavy duty kids there. The Bacardi twins, the 2 Trujillo brothers from the Dominican Republic.
    I believe it was their uncle that was assasinated in 1961.
    As a day student I was not totally exposed to the abuses that occurred however the bullying and harassment of quite a few ‘different’ students was rampanta. I can still remember their names and the abuse they endured. My only true hope is they were able to survive it all and rise above it as they matured and came out ‘OK’.
    I hated that place. I do remember Mrs. Robinson (Mrs. R)
    Making life easier as well as Mrs. Goodhue and Mrs. Welden. It appears that the present regime at Fessenden has led the school into a better place, but it was,a,hellhole in many ways for me from Mr, Hart on down. I was glad to get out of there.

    • Hey I met a girl named jema Robinson at one of those dances we d go to in Waban. She said she lived in what later became Mr.Gibson”s house. This was 71-73. Same family maybe?

  83. John-

    I see that you mentioned Mr. Boyadjian as one of the abusers. Of all of the people that have been mentioned previously- I am really surprised to hear Mr. Boyadjian’s name mentioned within that context. He was my geography teacher. He was also one of the older teachers at Fessy, and he was married. While he could display a mean streak when he was angry, I never saw him as an abuser. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know what those degenerates were up to in the first place. I just heard rumors. Best wishes to you.

      • Boyadijan? John WTF? I had him as teacher in 71-72. Where did that come from? Physical abuse? I get that with hasbrouk I was in his dorm. Senior year with Nick Terry to name a few. Was he in lower school back then? 80 of Memorial could and would ve tossed him out the window. I think Tom C and Louis almost did the year before.

  84. Last week we lost Fessenden victim Adrian Hooper to lung cancer. I promised Adrian that I would keep fighting for Fessenden Victims and I will be naming a building in honor of Him. Adrian was abused by rhe Nazi Hasbrouck and was the first victim to come forward thru my website http://www.fessendenchildsexabuse.com.
    I also have recieved IRS 5013C aporoval for our non profit Safe Haven Trauma Center.(safehaventrauma.com). My wife and I have donated ourc14 acres in the Berkshires and donations can be made online via our above website.
    God Bless you Adrian Hooper. Rest in piece my friend.

  85. Just like to add one more thing here.
    its increasingly obvious as I read these that there was a good deal of drugs involved in this which I think Clarridge certainly took advantage of. While I was not around drugs while there and was not aware of them or used them, in retrospect there were a number of kids who for lack of better words were probably pretty much stoned and users. Now how many of these were wrapped up with Clarridge its hard to say. My inclination is to think a lot of this stuff may ve gone on during the weekends or summers or vacations as I know he apparently lived in the area. Some of the stories I can relate to bc I lived on the North Shore. and there WAS some iffy stuff going on among and BY certain students; it may NOT have been what it seemed(and that was only on reflection years ;later)
    Mr Dunham comes to mind when I think of a unease I felt at the time but couldn’t put my finger on it. It stayed with me enough that when I mentioned to John years ago that there were some other things I wondered about- I was contracted by the Boston Globe relating to him.

  86. I attended Fessenden 1986-1988, I must say “Honesty, Compassion and Respect” was not the “honor code” that was drilled onto us, i do have fond memories of Mr. Carey and his President’s Day weekend Killington ski trips as a matter of fact I was a procter in his dorm along with his wife and daughter. I witnessed hazing eveywhere and they tried me at first until I ultimately had to defend myself in order to be respected and then fell into the outcast category because I DID NOT click with the “in crowd”. I do recall hearing about the “lacrosse stick incident” I never witnessed any sexual activity, I do suspect some of these claims are true and I do recall the author of this letter. Most of his claims are true, he was picked on. I may have defended him in the locker room behind Mr. Burks classroom. He was on the ski team during winter sports and so was I, Mr. Carey and Mrs. Hansen were our coaches. I was ultimately expelled accused of stealing from the bookstore the week before graduation. The claims were made by that “in crowd”, the same crowd that respected me and hazed the author of this letter.

  87. Mr. Carey and Mrs. Hansen were our coaches. I was ultimately expelled accused of stealing from the bookstore the week before graduation. The claims were made by that “in crowd”, the same crowd that respected me and hazed the author of this letter.

  88. I understand John Sweeney ended up settling his case with an NDA. You can however find his archived website by searching for it on the wayback machine (google it).

    John is a brave leader in the fight and should be an example for all that you need not be silent – just pass the baton and keep telling the story! John and Adrian Hopper will be included on a podcast featuring Clarridge and the Revere case (among others). This was organized pedophilia across institutions. Thank you to John and all the survivors. And May Adrian Rest In Peace.

  89. I was a student from 73-78 and remember quite well the police at the school in December of 77 when the scandal broke right before winter break. I had zero idea what a sex ring was! I thought it was people sitting in a circle! Fessenden was a very academically challenging school. It was a privilege that my family sent me there, though I was badly bullied. I lived nearby, so did not have to board. Jim Dallmann as a teacher, I thought was excellent. I remember reading The Hobbit in his class. I can’t remember him yelling at kids- I generally enjoyed his class. He did reek of cigarettes and was generally unkempt. I remember him taking students to Mass at our Catholic Church and seeing him there. He was a brilliant magna cum laude Harvard graduate but unfortunately made some very bad choices. The sexual abuse of Steve Starr is most disturbing. Why did he choose to do this? Dallmann came from a small town in Minnesota and unfortunately threw away all of what he accomplished, damaging the lives of a few innocent kids in the process. I’ll never forget the Erk, Erk for candy after class—or the dolphin like thing he would put at the top of your graded paper if he liked it. I had Clairidge for anthropology. His class was ok and he wrote that I was one of the top students in his class on my report card- I received an E. I don’t remember his class as particularly remarkable, though I remember it was tough. I was an innocent kid and had no idea about sexuality at the ages I attended Fessenden . What kind of person could do these things to young, innocent boys? I hope the school is on a better path today and maintains the academic excellence which it is known for. Shout out to Miss Round—great 3rd grade teacher! I remember going on a class trip to Old Sturbridge Village; after, we went to your folks house, I believe, and looked for salamanders in the creek behind their house. I also remember you and Betsy Fessenden sledding on Albermarle hill. Mr Putnam- was in a play you directed- A Christmas Carol, and you allowed me to be a boy, though the part was for a girl! Your wife was really nice and I enjoyed her art class. I remember making cut outs from rug remnants and I gave ones that I made to my grandparents!

  90. I remember many terrible things that happened at that school and even more that I heard about from others.

    I remember watching the door open to Don Bradley’s room in the Memorial dorm. Don was a muscle blind wrestling coach that had a pension for hazing smaller kids. This incident I witnessed first hand. The door opened to find Don holding a small student by his underwear. This student was wearing nothing else and Don was controlling him by holding the back of his underwear and picking him up. At the same time he was spraying a can of whipped cream into the back of his underwear and this boys butt crack. He did this in front of other students. The boy was trying to get away , but Don would just lift him up by his underwear and mocked him trying to escape. He was hurting the boy by ripping his underwear violently into this boys backside. A very violent “wedgie”. I had told other faculty about what I saw, but nothing was done about it.

    I too had a personal experience with a teacher by the name of Ken Howe. I had just stepped out of the big shower room into the smaller outer room where they had the towels. Peter Bradley was the other faculty member there handing out towels. Not really sure why we had to be supervised while we showered, either. I was given a towel, dried off and tossed the towel at the big grey laundry bin. I missed the bin and the total landed behind the bin. I asked Ken Howe if he could toss is in the bin for me. He then rushed at me and got in my face. I am a young boy, naked and terrified at this point. He put his face right up in mine and yelled at me about being a spoiled faculty brat and who did I think I was. Then ordered me to pick up my towel and get out. I proceeded to go get the towel behind the bin. There was a locker door laying behind the bin, flat on the floor. I didn’t see it there until I had already stepped on it. It cut my foot open pretty badly. Nothing ever came of that.

    I remember being assaulted in the hall one day by two 8th graders, much bigger than me. The came up behind me and put a huge elastic band over my mouth and tossed me to the ground before walking off laughing.

    I remember Dan Senical having extremely inappropriate gatherings in his masters quarters in the dorms. Many students saying he used to let them have alcohol while they watched R rated movies.

    There were many and more abuses in that school. Thankfully my experiences were no where near as terrible as some, but I’ll never forget. I’m sure the school wish we would all forget and move on.

    I am willing to formally recount my experiences or help in whatever way I can.

    • Thanks for sharing, Dave. As we’ve seen over and over again in the comments, Fessenden’s culture was very broken over many decades.

  91. Class of 62 and Mr Clarridge was my dorm Master. His quarters were at the other end of hall so I was never part of the group that was ” invited in for TV Night”. But I do distinctly remember being picked up and partially inserted head first into the laundry chute on the 3rd floor and being threatened to be dropped. I was one of the smallest kids on the floor and was harassed until I sucker punched and flattened one of ring leaders the next day. Lots of Saturday Study Hall hours but the harassment stopped. It was common knowledge what was going on, but it was not talked about. It was a different time and we were powerless then. Also attended St Georges and escaped relatively unhamred from that place as well.

    Did you know that John Kerry, Ted and Bobby Kenedy were Fessenden students as well? Explains a lot.

  92. Thank you, John, and RIP, Adrian. While I preferred to stay in the background throughout (w/the exception of Spotlight), John and I worked closely together, and though he’s now signed an NDA, I have no doubt that whatever quid pro quo drove that outcome will help support the healing center John’s had his heart set on for a long time, and I acknowledge what a force of nature he’s been throughout. The two of us actually tried to hold a press conference in 2014 or 2015 — I flew out from LA to go public with him, and still have unpublished footage from the local CBS station. But the press turnout was far too low-interest/very light; we were both quite dispirited by that. But things improved, I’d kept the Fessenden Alumni directory, entirely key to outreach as the campaign started to take flight. And I had the great privilege of leveraging a Spiritual Psychology Master’s Degree in service to counseling to a number of my former classmates — and other men– who came forward as the Spotlight story broke. With my former classmates, I was able to help several unpack their stories, helped some join the Garabedian lawsuit, and in one case, helped a former classmate take their story public. As for me, I ended up settling with Fessenden to put to an end to the retraumatization, but a few major highlights came out of it — 1) after keeping secrets from my family and friend for a lifetime, the act of letting go and going public was at first terrifying, then incredibly liberating, 2) I revised our settlement agreement and forced the school to strip out all of the subtle, school-protective language designed to compromise future survivor disclosures by myself and the other settlers, and 3), I forced Fessenden to remove their no-fault language that would’ve allowed them to assert that a financial settlement wasn’t an admission of guilt. All of this in service to fostering a better chance of long-term healing for all involved. Simply put, the revisions made it possible for any survivors who want to tell their stories in the future to be free to do so. My memories of all that happened were never lost to me, they remain quite vivid and I’ve been writing, so perhaps one day I’ll tell my version of these events, as they’ve certainly had a massive impact on my life. I’ll also share that I now view all of it as a gift, that it’s made me the man I am today, and I continue to do a lot of useful, pro-social work in the world that can only have emanated from the compassion, empathy, and loving-kindness I was forced to find for myself over the many years of being silenced, and I count myself as lucky to be able to say that. Ok, enough out of me, my email is steven.starr@gmail.com if anyone would like to say hi– and i wish all of you all good things.

    • Thank you Steven for sharing your story and fighting the good fight. Your insistence to force Fessenden to remove protective language is a great service to every victim.

      – Ian

Comments are closed.