Man seeks $1M from Cambridge private school after alleged sexual abuse
A Buckingham Browne & Nichols alumnus is demanding $1 million for the sexual abuse he says he suffered in the 1980s.
Daniel Weinreb, a 1989 graduate of the exclusive Cambridge private school, says he wants restitution for personal damages and stress he suffered after his former English teacher Edward Washburn, a convicted pedophile, allegedly sexually abused him from 1983 to 1985.
Following a public apology issued by Head of School Rebecca Upham in October claiming that the school did not act appropriately upon Washburn’s actions, Weinreb said he has been dissatisfied with the school’s lack of efforts to implement programs and other preventative measures to prevent future abuse.
“There was a lot of concern for what happened, but no follow-up,” Weinreb said. “I am looking for compensation for what I went through that could have been avoided.”
Weinreb claims that most of BB&N’s pledges — including creating a faculty advisory process, soliciting student recommendations, creating a confidential hot line and organizing a cross-disciplinary symposium — have been unfulfilled.
But BB&N spokesman Joe Clifford said that since October the school has established a referral system for anonymous counseling and treatment, designed to help address emotional injuries from the Washburn era. They have also hosted two sessions with child abuse experts.
“Our commitment to these resources remains unwavering,” he said in a statement.
In a letter sent on April 24 to the BB&N community, Upham said other initiatives to create a safer school environment are “works in progress.” These included finding a suitable hot line service for abuse and neglect concerns, and how to best foster communication between the school staff and its students.
Weinreb said those steps are critical in making sure sexual abuse doesn’t happen again at the school and should be prioritized.
Weinreb’s attorney Mitchell Garabedian said he is investigating pursuing a lawsuit.
“Daniel feels re-victimized because the school is not following up with what said they would do,” said Garabedian. “Programs must be presented, education must be given, and people such as Daniel who are victims must participate in those programs.”
In April 2008, Weinreb launched a Web site, www.openingbbnminds.com, as a virtual support group after he ran into dead ends trying to convince school administrators to help connect alumni and potential sexual abuse victims of Washburn.
Washburn admitted to “sexually inappropriate behavior” with children in 1987. He pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence for the molestation of two boys.
BB&N was prosecuted for breaking the law by not immediately reporting the continued abuse to authorities. The school later paid $70,000 to settle a civil lawsuit for breaking the law, according to past reports. A judge gave Washburn community service for the crimes in 1987.
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