The Master: Sexual Abuse at Horace Mann High School

Marc Fisher, The Master. The New Yorker. 1 April 2013. “A charismatic teacher [Robert Berman at Horace Mann in the Bronx] enthralled his students. Was he abusing them?”

Excerpt from story:

Last June [2012], the Times Magazine published a wrenching story detailing allegations of sexual abuse by two beloved Horace Mann teachers of my era. The article, written by Amos Kamil, a 1982 graduate of the school, also reported on inappropriate behavior by a third teacher, and pointed out that, even though complaints had persisted from the nineteen-sixties into the nineties, the headmaster for much of that time, R. Inslee Clark, Jr., and the school’s board of trustees had largely failed to address them. The Times story, along with a subsequent front-page article, in which one of my favorite teachers, Tek Young Lin, admitted having sex with several students, broke decades of silence. “Everything I did was in warmth and affection and not a power play,” Lin told the Times. “In those days, it was very spontaneous and casual, and it did not seem really wrong.” It seemed profoundly wrong to many alumni, however; graduates filled Facebook group pages and message boards with thousands of comments, struggling to understand what had happened. By this January [2013], according to alumni who are serving as counsellors and advocates for victims, eighteen teachers had been accused of abusing more than thirty-five students over four decades. On March 11th, many of those students gathered with their lawyers, insurers for the school, and five trustees, appointed by Horace Mann as a settlement committee, for a two-week mediation. The alumni hoped that the school would agree to compensate those who had been abused, and perhaps to commission an independent investigation of abuse at Horace Mann….