Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 7, 2012
Many of you have now read the fine article by Amos Kamil in the New York Times Magazine. It was published on line yesterday and will appear in print this Sunday, June 10th. I thank Amos for his extensive work on this and for his kindness and compassion to me. I have always felt that the speaking of the truth is a healing thing. The awful behavior of Somary was shrouded in secrecy for far too many years. I can't really say that the publication of the article made me happy. In fact, the whole story really makes me sad.
The Horace Mann School sent out a notice to its alumni. I found it to be a sad little attempt to pretend that the school has no responsibility for its outrageous negligence back then. It staggers my mind that Somary was allowed to keep teaching for 10 years after the school was formally notified of his sexual advances on students. The notice had no hint of apology, no trace of caring about the students whose lives were so terribly damaged.


  1. Dear Samuel Survivor:

    My heart goes out to you. All the pain and anguish that you have experienced over the decades saddens me deeply. I sincerely hope that you will find peace soon and will be able to bury your demons once and for all. You are suffering from post traumatic stress syndrom and I urge you to seek out treatment from a professional who is experienced in TSS cases. Also, please investigate the "forgetting pill" PKMzeta inhibitors which helps break the hold that these traumatic memories have on TSS survivors. Here is a link explaining it:

    1. I admire your courage, Sam. Unforgivable blame rests on the administration. By not reacting decisively and unequivocally, they tacitly encouraged Somary, a double injustice. I knew Somary at HM in the 60's and our paths intersected again around 2007. It would be naive not to recognize that human depravity will grow where allowed, but what's administration for if not to curb those inclinations, set the standard of institutional expectations, encourage a culture based on those expectations and give a clear message on those expectations and the consequences of failing to meet them?
      Stay strong,
      --rob h

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  3. I just found this blog after reading the NYT piece... It's all too familiar. I too am a survivor and now a survivor's advocate.

    Thank all of you who speak out... it takes a lot of courage. Know that you are not alone, we number in the tens of thousands and our voices WILL be heard!

    Some of my story is here:

    Thank you Sam for this public forum.

  4. I read the NYTimes article and looked up your blog. Thank you for speaking out. My brother was a victim of sexual abuse in elementary school. He took his own life some years later. I miss him terribly.

    The teacher was eventually arrested, many years after my brother had left the school, and spent time in a penitentiary. But then he was released, went back to working with kids--I believe something to do with leading camping expeditions--was arrested again, and is now a registered sex offender living in California. Recently I found a facebook group for the elementary school, and learned that many people had told the school administration about this teacher, but nothing had been done. What if, what if? But nothing will bring my brother back now.

  5. I was one of the early ones - it started on a trip to Wshington, DC, with Mr. Harry Allison (I've nothing negative to say about him), and Stanley Kops - who - long-story short - for doing a 'favor' for me (not having me sent back to NYC, because I was in a girl's room, at night...smoking cigarettes), wanted to be 'paid back.'

    It went on - from him, through Wright, Clark, Somary, et al. I had ONE teacher, who I told all this shit to - who was nice. He was the gym teacher from the lower school Mr. Forcelli (sp), and, he wanted to 'go kill' these pieces of shit for me. I was leaving, that year, and said, 'no.'

    While I was never traumatised (and, I really find people who INSIST otherwise), I knew, that, like potato chips, 'one is NEVER enough,' and,what was done to me WAN'T a fluke.

    I left to Columbia Prep - having told no one, yet, the FIRST HOUR I was at Columbia, kids were whispering about 'what happened' to me.

    TO this day, I don't know how, and, I never had a problem discussing this - why should I keep it hidden? I didn't do ANYTHING WRONG!!!

    I'm really happy that this article, by Amos Kamil has sort of blown the lid' (pun?) off of this, as ti now - while I KNEW there were (MANY) others, I never had ANY PLACE to find, talk to ANYONE about this.

    I know our legal options are somewhat diminished, but, I REALLY want them to PAY for what they did to ME - and, the rest.

    I WISH I could've put the gun in that fish-faced Stanley Kops' mouth. Woulda loved it.

  6. thank you for being brave and sharing your story. the truth will out.

  7. I was so saddened to read of the abuse in the NYT article and looked up your blog. What happened to you and many others at HM is a disgrace and I can not even begin to imagine all the pain it has caused you.

    Please know that you are very brave in writing this blog and sharing your story with others.

  8. God Bless you all, sadly I know all too well the conflicted emotions, confusion and disgust you deal with on a daily basis! I hope that by sharing your story you are able to begin to heal as well as gaining some semblance of closure!

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. Every time a survivor tells their story, it gives permission for another victim to share theirs.

    We didn't have a voice as children, but we do have a voice now. And together we can raise our voices in unison to help combat child sexual abuse.

    We are putting together a book of letters of support for the 8 brave young men taking the stand next week in Bellafonte, PA. If you would like to contribute, please check out

    Also, I had the privilege of sitting in jury selection for Jerry Sandusky last week - you can read my account here

    Finally, we have a non-profit for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation. You may find some good resources here and we would love for you to join us

    I understand if you don't publish this comment - it's really for you and not to promote our charity. If you want to contact me directly, you may reach me at

    Thank you,
    Roxine Behrens
    President, Tree Climbers, Inc.

    1. FYI - The Girl Who Climbed Trees is Rebecca Berry, my co-founder of TREE Climbers. TREE Stands for Tell, Recover, Educate and Empower.

      I just didn't have a google account, so I used hers :)


  10. I found this blog via the NY Times Magazine. I was not abused by a teacher, instead I was abused by a close relative. Because I spoke out at the age of 13 (which produced the desired result of stopping the abuse) I became a family anathema and pariah.

    I also went to a private New England School from which I graduated in the mid-70's where several teachers carried on open affairs with female students.

  11. The story in the NYT magazine is so timely and important. Shining the light of truth on the issue of child sexual abuse is critical. Giving survivors a place like your blog to find each other and support each other does just that.

    I am the Houston leader for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (and other clergy). This story resonates with me as an advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse and as a whistle blower to the child sexual abuse that has occurred at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas by my former youth music minister John Langworthy who is awaiting a criminal trial in Mississippi for felony child sexual abuse of 5 victims there. After my interview on WFAA aired in Dallas, news stations in Jackson, MS covered the story and the victims, now adults, came forward who were molested by Langworthy from 1980-84, boys between the ages of 8-12.

    I have also heard from and about victims of 2 other former Prestonwood ministers and one adult volunteer. To my knowledge, none of these incidents of child sexual abuse has been reported by Prestonwood to law enforcement as required by law, though they have heard directly from victims.

    Like at Horace Mann, the leadership of Prestonwood, headed by Dr. Jack Graham, has never said anything- not to the congregation, not to parents of kids in the church, not to the police, not to subsequent unsuspecting churches and communities of these credibly accused ministers, thus endangering more kids and enabling these predators. Silence.

    I posted about the Horace Mann story on my blog here.

    The light of knowledge and truth is our greatest tool to protect kids.

    Amy Smith

  12. Thank you for sharing your story.