Steve Forbes Possibly Maybe Covered Up a Prep School Sex Scandal
The Brooks School in Andover, Massachusetts is the latest school to be engulfed by a sex scandal and a cover-up. Allegedly, the former headmaster of the school, Lawrence W. Becker, was involved in an “objectionable, manipulative” and potentially abusive relationship with a student. He also enjoyed the company of male escorts, which he allegedly hired while traveling alone on school business. Allegedly.
Steve Forbes of the I’m Rich as Hell And You’re Not Forbeses, who is a Brooks alumnus and served as chairman of the board during the time period that these shenanigans were going on, probably covered it all up to protect either his or Becker’s ass. Sure, Forbes claims that he investigated the relationship when he was made aware of it at the time, but he didn’t tell the school, parents, the coimmunity, or even any of the other board members, and that seems like something that any reasonable person would have done. Then again, the super rich and powerful aren’t exactly reasonable people. I know. I watch Revenge.
The Rich, Powerful, and/or Unreasonable are usually reluctant to cast out abusers, assholes, and creeps, and it’s often children who pay the price. We’ve seen this time and time again. Just this summer, horrifying allegations of sexual abuse at The Horace Mann School, a super-elite private school in New York, surfaced. Over the course of decades, multiple teachers were allowed to prey on young, mostly male, students. Also recently, abuse allegations at the Arthur G Dozier School for Boys in Florida led to discovery of all sorts of horrors, including rape, murder, and nearly 50 graves found on school grounds. Some of these crimes dated back one hundred years. And of course there’s Penn State, The Boy Scouts, ad the granddaddy of them all — The Catholic Church.
The Forbes Media PR machine is already at work, of course, and released this statement yesterday:
“A matter that came to the attention of the school was referred to the school’s legal counsel and was properly investigated and appropriate action was taken. Every step was undertaken with the advice and direction of the school’s outside counsel. The matter did not involve sexual abuse.”
Oh well, that’s good, then. As long as you say so.
Here’s the letter that went out to the community yesterday, via Barstool Sports Boston:
January 3, 2013
Dear Brooks Alumni, Parents and Friends,
We write to you today about a troubling matter. It involves Lawrence W. Becker, who served as headmaster of Brooks School from 1986 to 2008. After long deliberations, the school’s Board of Trustees has authorized this outreach because we have genuine concerns that cause us to carefully review Mr. Becker’s tenure at the school.
Last July and continuing throughout the summer, the school received a number of disturbing e-mails about Mr. Becker from an anonymous writer. After denying any knowledge regarding the emails, Mr. Becker eventually acknowledged in early September that he was being threatened by someone who, we later learned, was an escort whom Mr. Becker had hired in the fall of 2011.
Although these events took place after Mr. Becker retired as headmaster, his lack of candor with the school during this episode compelled us to look back at his tenure at the school. In so doing, we reviewed an incident in 2004, when several school employees received calls claiming that Mr. Becker had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior while traveling alone on school business. Mr. Becker denied the allegations at the time and provided an account of his activities which, we now know, was untrue.
Unfortunately, we must also report one additional, disturbing situation. We have grave concerns about Mr. Becker’s relationship with a student while serving as headmaster. In our judgment, his conduct in this relationship was objectionable, manipulative, and an abuse of his position.
Each of these situations is completely inconsistent with the values of the school and, taken together, cause us to be profoundly concerned. In an effort to assess how best to handle this information, we consulted with a highly regarded psychologist with experience in relevant matters. He concurs that this letter is an advisable and prudent step. Thus, we are writing to ask if you have personal knowledge that calls into question Mr. Becker’s conduct and/or oversight during his tenure. A small group of trustees will join the two of us in considering anything you would like to share.
We do not take this step lightly. Brooks School grew and prospered during Mr. Becker’s tenure, and our alumni from that era have gone on to achieve great personal and professional success. We act now in the belief that this inquiry is compelled by our highest priority, which is the well-being of the students who have been entrusted to our care.
These sorts of situations could probably be avoided if we required teachers to carry guns.
Imani Gandy (ABL)
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