Sexual abuse by teacher protested
CAMBRIDGE - While some of his fellow Buckingham, Brown & Nichols alumni gathered at the school for their annual weekend of festivities, Daniel Weinreb staged a one-man protest at the school's front entrance.
Weinreb said he wants school administrators to openly acknowledge the sexual abuse he and others endured more than a decade ago at the hand of former teacher Edward "Ted" Washburn.
"The administration is stuck in the middle ages in terms of how they're responding to this . . . they're being driven by fear and shame," said Weinreb, 37, a consultant living in Vermont. "When the school doesn't accept responsibility, that fear and shame lands on the survivor. We were 13 years old at the time and have been bearing that burden for 20 to 30 years. That's just cruel."
School head Rebecca T. Upham issued a statement yesterday calling Weinreb "a valued alumnus." The statement added, "We are all united in our hope that he will continue to heal."
The statement said school officials have "sought to respond in a way that most appropriately balances the school's past, present, and future responsibilities and its obligations to all members of our community."
The statement does not specify what steps, if any, the school plans to take to address Weinreb's concerns.
Washburn, whose father was the late Bradford Washburn, well-known explorer and director emeritus of the Boston Museum of Science, pleaded guilty to raping his nephew in 1987. The case was the biggest scandal in the 100-plus-year history of the school, a staid New England institution catering mostly to the wealthy. Middlesex Judge J. Harold Flannery gave Washburn a suspended sentence, ordered him to continue psychotherapy, do 1,000 hours of community service, and stay away from boys age 16 and under.
Weinreb, a Princeton University graduate who plans to attend rabbinical school, said he testified at Washburn's trial that Washburn asked him to perform a sexual act as he watched when he was 13 years old.
Weinreb wants school officials to improve efforts to find out if other students were victimized by Washburn, communicate with alumni about those efforts, and offer possible victims a weekend retreat with counseling. School officials should not fear lawsuits from victims, because any abuse would have occurred so long ago the statute of limitations has run out, Weinreb said.
He is represented by Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston lawyer who represented more than 100 victims of Catholic clergy in a scandal that has scarred one of the world's largest denominations. Garabedian could not be reached yesterday.
Yesterday, Weinreb carried 30 letters and e-mails from alumni who support his efforts, which he planned to give to Upham, who has led the school since 2001. Weinreb said Upham met with him privately yesterday for 90 minutes.