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Past McDonogh leaders did not act on sexual misconduct allegations, external review finds

Posted at 1:00 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 13:00:12-04

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — McDonogh School officials failed to take appropriate actions when they learned of accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct perpetrated by five former faculty members between the 1940s and 1980s, a recent external investigation of the school revealed.

After a Nov. 7, 2016 letter to the McDonogh community revealed accusations by a former student that he was sexually assaulted by former faculty members Alvin J. Levy and Robert E. Creed, the school reported the allegations to local law enforcement and retained the New York City law firm T&M Protections Resources to conduct a thorough investigation of these and any other allegations. Upon the completion of the investigation, school officials promised to update the McDonogh community on the findings and subsequent actions taken.

After interviewing 68 individuals including former faculty, staff, students, administrators, and members of the Board of Trustees, as well as a review of copious documents, T&M reported no claims of sexual misconduct involving any current McDonogh faculty member or student, according to a letter sent to the McDonogh community by Head of School David J. Farace, a 1987 alumna. The firm was able to corroborate the allegations against Levy and Creed, as well as discovering allegations against three additional male faculty members. The claims against Levy and Creed involved sexual misconduct with 19 male students. Levy was said to have participated in such behavior from the 1940s through the 1980s, whereas Creed’s misconduct was said to have occurred from the late 1970s through mid-1980s. The three additional former staff members were accused of sexual misconduct with five female students between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. The names of the faculty have been withheld to protect the identities of the alumni who participated and made or corroborated the accusations.

All of these claims were recently reported to local law enforcement, Farace’s letter said. T&M also found the school was made aware of some of these accusations at the time, but that the school’s administration and Board of Trustees failed to take appropriate actions then.

“These findings are difficult and heartbreaking, and we are deeply sorry for what the survivors have endured,” Farace’s letter said.

Though this particular investigation has concluded, Farace encouraged members of the McDonogh community with additional information or accusations to contact T&M at 212-916-8852 or at All who reach out will remain anonymous.

Farace then reiterated steps already in place at McDonogh to prevent such misconduct, vowing to enhance these strictures to ensure student safety.

Employees are thoroughly vetted by the school before hiring, utilizing federal and state criminal record checks, reviews of the National Sex Offender Registry, fingerprinting, and direct contact with references. In 2016, the school hired its first Human Resources Manager who is responsible for overseeing enforcement of school personnel policies, making sure all policy is up to date and inline with best practices. Staff at the school must undergo training on policies and procedures about appropriate interactions with students, recognizing the signs of abuse, sexual harassment training, and mandatory reporting of inappropriate or potentially criminal behavior.

Students receive a copy of McDonogh’s Harassment Policy in each student handbook, specifying resources available to students and parents in how to handle complaints of inappropriate conduct. Licensed counselors are also available to students, employees, and parents. The school also recently established a Risk Oversight Committee of the Board of Trustees that is charged with monitoring the Enterprise Risk Management Program.

“On behalf of the current School Administration and members of the Board of Trustees, we want to reaffirm that we are deeply sorry for what our alumni survivors have experienced. We are unequivocally committed to learning from past failings, helping those who have been affected, and protecting the safety and health of all our students—former, present, and future,” Farace said in his letter. “The current School Administration and Board of Trustees have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and inappropriate adult-student relationships of any kind. We are committed to having well-defined measures in place that enable each student entrusted to our care to learn and grow in a safe and healthy environment.”