Report of Independent Investigator Martin F. Murphy, Foley Hoag LLP

Sexual Abuse at St. George’s School and the School’s Response: 1970 to 2015

The  report resulting from our investigation of abuse at St. George’s School from 1970 to 2015 is now complete. A full version of the report can be viewed and downloaded HERE (click HERE for a copy without exhibits).

Report can also be downloaded here.

The report results from more than six months’ work, interviews of more than 150 witnesses, and the review of thousands of pages of documents.

Our investigation could not have been done without the willingness of so many alumni—children who came to St. George’s when they were as young as 13 or 14; now adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s—who displayed the courage to speak to total strangers about some of the darkest and most painful moments of their lives. St. George’s School also cooperated fully with our work; we thank the school as well.

We hope this report helps the St. George’s community, and the public, understand what happened at St. George’s, and why.

Update Concerning Records of William Hannum III, Esq.

From the outset of our investigation, we have sought to obtain the reports and other documents prepared or collected by William Hannum III, Esq.  in connection with the investigation of sexual abuse at St. George’s School he conducted at 2015.  Counsel for the school has also urged Mr. Hannum to turn over his files to us for use in our investigation.

Mr. Hannum has now agreed to give us access to his files, solely for the purpose of our investigation and not for dissemination, if the individuals he interview sign a form (linked here) that permits us to have access to the material for our investigation. This will permit us to make use of this information for our investigation, but will not permit us to provide copies to anyone.

If individuals sign the form, and send it to us at SGSInvestigation@foleyhoag.com, we will in turn send that form to Mr. Hannum so that Mr. Hannum can release to us for the purpose of our investigation a copy of reports he prepared of witness interviews, and any documents he received from witnesses.

We would use any information we receive from Mr. Hannum solely for the purpose of this investigation, consistent with the statement concerning confidentiality and it limit which we have previously issued:

Confidentiality and its Limits in the Investigation

Because we have been engaged as independent investigators, we do not serve as legal counsel to any individual who contacts us—or as counsel to St. George’s School. Therefore, any communications with us will not be protected by the attorney-client privilege. St. George’s School and SGS for Healing have agreed that they will not seek to learn the identity of anyone who contacts us and wishes to speak confidentially. We will take appropriate steps to protect the identities of any individual who wishes to provide information confidentially, but we cannot guarantee that information will remain completely confidential if, for example, law enforcement seeks to obtain our records or there is subsequent litigation and the records are required to be produced in that litigation.

We believe it would be helpful for us to have the information Mr. Hannum has collected and prepared.  However, the question whether witnesses should sign the attached form, permitting us access to that information for use in our investigation (and not for further dissemination)–is a question that, ultimately, is a matter for individual witnesses to decide for themselves.

Independent Investigation of Sexual Abuse at St. George’s School

STATEMENT OF MARTIN F. MURPHY, INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR

Background

On January 20, 2016, the Board of Trustees of St. George’s School and SGS for Healing (an unincorporated association) jointly retained me and my firm, Foley Hoag LLP, in Boston, to conduct an independent investigation concerning sexual abuse at St. George’s School.  Since being retained, I have formed a team to assist me in my investigation, and we have begun the process of gathering information relevant to the investigation. In the interest of transparency and to facilitate the process, we would like to share the following information.

Scope of the Investigation

The investigation will examine all matters relating to sexual abuse by faculty, staff, or students at St. George’s School and review the School’s responses to reports of alleged abuse from 1960 to the present.

Communications with Victims, Witnesses and Others

We encourage any victims of sexual abuse, any witnesses to an incident of sexual abuse, and other members of the St. George’s community (whether alumni, current employees, former employees, or others) who believe they have information relevant to the investigation to contact us. Anyone wishing to provide information, either directly or through legal counsel, should send an email to SGSInvestigation@foleyhoag.com or leave a message at 617-521-5000. If you have a preference as to whether you would like to be contacted by a male or female member of our team, or if there is other information that you believe we should know before contacting you, please let us know in your email or message.

Expense Associated with Travel for Interviews

We will interview in person every victim of sexual assault who wishes to be interviewed in person. St. George’s School has agreed to pay the reasonable travel expenses of any victim who wishes to come to Boston to be interviewed.  We will handle the payment process; neither St. George’s School nor SGS for Healing will know that an individual has traveled to Boston unless that individual chooses to make that information known. If victims would prefer not to travel, we are prepared to conduct telephone interviews. In the cases of witnesses to assaults, or others who wish to provide information, we will do our best to exercise good judgment about when it is necessary to conduct interviews in person rather than by telephone.

Confidentiality and its Limits in the Investigation

Because we have been engaged as independent investigators, we do not serve as legal counsel to any individual who contacts us—or as counsel to St. George’s School. Therefore, any communications with us will not be protected by the attorney-client privilege. St. George’s School and SGS for Healing have agreed that they will not seek to learn the identity of anyone who contacts us and wishes to speak confidentially. We will take appropriate steps to protect the identities of any individual who wishes to provide information confidentially, but we cannot guarantee that information will remain completely confidential if, for example, law enforcement seeks to obtain our records or there is subsequent litigation and the records are required to be produced in that litigation.

Individuals with Confidentiality Agreements

We understand that certain individuals—whether victims of sexual assault who have settled claims against St. George’s School or former employees whose separation agreements contain confidentiality agreements—may be concerned that speaking with us would constitute a violation of their agreements. We have been assured by counsel for St. George’s that any individual may communicate to us on any matter relevant to our investigation (or to law enforcement) regardless of any confidentiality agreement they may have with St. George’s School without fear that the School will contend that they have violated their agreements. To the extent that those individuals who have entered separation agreements and have engaged counsel to assist in communicating with us (or to law enforcement) about allegations of sexual abuse, they may also speak to their counsel.  Likewise, as their representative, their counsel may speak to us or to law enforcement on such topics without violation of any confidentially agreements that the individual may have with St. George’s School.  A letter confirming St. George’s School’s position on this issue is linked here.

Report

At the conclusion of the investigation, we will issue a report with factual findings and, at our discretion, recommendations about steps St. George’s School should take going forward.  We will exercise our independent, professional judgment in determining whether interim reports should be issued.