A former teacher at Episcopal Academy molested at least 11 students in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, according to a letter sent Friday to the school’s alumni.
Richard Smith, 67, who taught at the tony suburban Philadelphia private school from 1970 to 1990, was arrested in on child sex abuse charges in April 2013 in Massachusetts.
The school says in its letter to alumni that it contacted Smith’s former students after his arrest in Massachusetts, using former prosecutors who are experts on child abuse to conduct its investigation. They have turned over the results to authorities in Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, as well as those in Massachusetts.
The school’s investigation also led to the discovery of one student who claimed to have been abused in the 1960’s. The staff member involved is dead, the school said.
“On behalf of Episcopal Academy and the Board of Trustees, we extend our deepest apologies to the students and families who were harmed,” Episcopal’s head of school, T.J. Locke and Edward H. Vick say in the letter.
In October 2013, Smith was arrested in Pennsylvania on child pornography charges. Those charges are still pending.
Though he stopped teaching in 1990, Smith continued to work as a part-time development associate through 1998.
The Cape and Islands District Attorney in Massachusetts charged Smith with the rape of a child and related offenses involving four children, which allegedly occurred at Camp Good News, located on Cape Cod in 1981.
Smith attempted to plead guilty to those charges on Thursday, but judge in the case declined to accept terms of the plea deal.
Smith was arrested in Massachusetts as part of a long running investigation into allegations of sex abuse involving up to nine perpetrators at the camp.. Smith was the only person charged in that investigation, though one person under suspicion killed themselves in 2011. Other suspects were deceased.
The district attorney’s office said that allegations involving other suspects were unprosecutable because the statute of limitations expired, because of a lack of corroborating evidence, or willingness of victims to testify.
Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown disclosed in his autobiography “Against All Odds” that he was abused by a camp counselor. He did not name the camp at which he was abused. Camp Good News has acknowledged that Brown attended, Reuters reported.