HOUSTON – Four former Kinkaid faculty members are under investigation for sexual misconduct that took place at the school "decades ago," according to a letter sent home to parents.
The letter says the ongoing investigation began with a report about a former faculty member and is now focused on three other former faculty members who were dismissed by the school "when they were discovered to have engaged in sexual misconduct," the letter says.
The fourth former faculty member was dismissed by the school for unrelated reasons, but school officials now believe allegations of sexual misconduct may be true.
The employment of the former faculty members covered the period from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.
The school also said another part-time faculty member resigned after being accused of a 2005 incident of sexual misconduct with a minor who was not affiliated with the school.
Here is the letter that was sent to the Kinkaid community:
"Our highest priority is to protect all Kinkaid students — past, present and future. In honor of this commitment, we write to you today about our efforts to address a serious issue that occurred in Kinkaid’s past.
"Over the course of the last several months, we were made aware of a concern regarding sexual misconduct by a teacher toward students that took place several decades ago. Once the School became aware of this issue, the School began reviewing the factual background of these reports and how the School had handled allegations of teacher-student sexual misconduct in the past. Recognizing the need for the utmost integrity, confidentiality and adherence to leading standards, the Board of Trustees created a special committee — composed of Linda Andrews, Ed Frank ’68, Greg Looser, Bill Montgomery and Mary Eliza Shaper ‘88 — to oversee this matter.
"The special committee engaged the law firm Ropes & Gray, which has deep experience on these issues, to advise on the process. So that these issues are treated with an appropriate level of thoroughness, sensitivity and independence, the special committee also retained T&M Protection Resources, a third-party investigator with extensive experience assisting independent schools in similarly sensitive matters, to listen to and examine student or alumni concerns.
"We are confident the environment at the School is a safe one, and we remain vigilant in our protection of children. Our current policies concerning appropriate relationships with students and the reporting of improper behavior have been reviewed by T&M Protection Resources. With their assistance, we are ensuring that our policies continue to reflect best practices in this area.
"However, Kinkaid has responsibilities not just to its current students, but to Kinkaid alumni as well. These responsibilities include addressing any improper sexual conduct that may have occurred and reaffirming our moral, ethical and legal obligations.
"The ongoing investigative process began with a report about one former faculty member and is now focused on three other former faculty members as well. We understand that these three former faculty members were dismissed by the School when they were discovered to have engaged in sexual misconduct. The fourth was dismissed for unrelated reasons; however, we are now aware of consistent and we believe credible allegations of sexual misconduct by this individual during his time at the School. Together, the employment of these four former faculty members covered the period from the late 1960’s to the early 1990’s. Lastly, one part-time faculty member resigned after being accused of a 2005 incident of sexual misconduct with a minor who was unaffiliated with Kinkaid.
"Words are not adequate to express how deeply sorry we are that alumni have experienced this abuse, and we are committed to facing these past misdeeds honestly and openly. Regardless of how long ago these abuses may have occurred, we must act in a way that protects and honors our students, present and past.
"We are continuing our efforts to learn as much as we can about what occurred. Also, rest assured that the appropriate law enforcement authorities have been made aware of what we have learned thus far and will continue to receive our cooperation.
"We encourage any member of the Kinkaid community who experienced or observed sexual misconduct during their time at Kinkaid to contact the School’s investigators. The investigators, Laura Kirschstein and Julie Freudenheim at T&M Protection Resources, may be contacted directly at KinkaidSchool@tmprotection.com or (646) 445-7544, and they will hear any individual’s concerns with the utmost respect and discretion.
"Although we cannot change the past, we can offer our commitment of assistance to anyone who has been the victim of sexual misconduct during their time at Kinkaid. We can assure you that we will always keep Kinkaid’s mission and core values of honesty, respect, responsibility and kindness at the forefront of this examination. This letter does not reflect the end of this process; at the conclusion of this investigation, we will update you on its outcome in a manner that respects the privacy interests of those involved.
"We will continue to move forward with our commitment to students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff to promote educational excellence, personal responsibility and a safe and respectful learning environment."