April 8, 2015
Dear ASIJ Community:
We are thirteen ASIJ alumni, just like you. We are thirteen women who are your friends, family members, former classmates, acquaintances, colleagues, sisters, wives, and daughters. We write to you today because we are also thirteen victims of Jack Moyer’s abuse – and ASIJ’s complicity in that abuse – who are deeply hurt and saddened by ASIJ’s April 2, 2015 “update” to the alumni community.
Last June, in response to the outrage which swept through the ASIJ community following ASIJ’s “recent” realization of Moyer’s decades-long history of abuse, ASIJ was shamed into announcing an independent, “thorough, fair and appropriate” investigation into this dark chapter of the school’s history. This investigation was to have been released in the fall of 2014. Now, community uproar has again pressured ASIJ to provide an explanation as to why, a year later, no report has surfaced.
According to ASIJ’s most recent “update,” the reason for this delay is, apparently, the victims’ fault – our fault – because we retained counsel to ensure we had a voice in this process after being ignored for decades. This deeply hurts and offends us.
In June of 2014, our lawyers wrote a demand letter to ASIJ in which they conveyed our requests for transparency, a full and complete investigation, changes in policy, fair compensation for what we suffered, and an apology for the role the school played in our abuse. These requests – that the school take steps to honor its purported commitment to community, integrity, honesty, and accountability – are ostensibly what the Board’s recent “update” refers to as “significant financial and other demands on the school.”
Every step of the way, we and our lawyers have fully cooperated with Ropes & Gray (the law firm ASIJ hired to conduct an independent investigation into Moyer’s abuse). Many former ASIJ faculty, staff and alumni have reached out to our lawyers and provided them with information, which – with consent from the individual – our lawyers have dutifully provided to both ASIJ and to Ropes & Gray to aid in their investigation. We participated in the Ropes & Gray interviews, revealed and relived our abuse before complete strangers, and shared our personal and painful stories. We did this because we, too, want the report to be as thorough and complete as possible. ASIJ’s implication that we or our lawyers somehow caused the delay in completion of the report is simply not true.
Over the past year, we and our advocates – the law firm of O’Donnell Clark & Crew, in Portland, Oregon – have been conducting our own investigation into this dark chapter of the school’s history. During the course of our investigation, we have uncovered concrete evidence (and provided this evidence to ASIJ and Ropes & Gray) of the following:
- ASIJ learned of Moyer’s inappropriate behavior with young female students by at least 1968 and yet denied any knowledge of such for decades, extending as recently as its March 17, 2014 community announcement.
- In the years that followed, ASIJ leaders – including but not limited to former Headmasters William Ricketson, Ray Downs, Peter Cooper, and Tim Carr, as well as former Principals Jack Collins, James Juergensen, and Robert Winer – received more than four dozen reports of Moyer’s ongoing sexual misconduct and abuse of ASIJ students.
- Moyer confessed in writing to sexually abusing ASIJ students and specifically identified seven of us by name among the ranks of his victims.
- ASIJ leaders concealed Moyer’s sexual abuse for more than forty years, and even after repeated warnings, did not take steps to remove Moyer or safeguard ASIJ students.
Please understand that this is not an exhaustive list. Leaders at the school had knowledge of Jack Moyer’s sexual abuse of ASIJ students for decades. We know this because many of us (and our parents, friends and family members) summoned up the courage to go tell ASIJ administrators and faculty about Jack Moyer’s sexual abuse during the time he was abusing us, in the 1970s and 1980s. We believed the school when they told us they would do something, and that it would never happen again. Each of us believed we were the only one, for we thought that had our beloved school known – and certainly, once it knew – of Moyer’s sexual abuse of ASIJ students, it would have taken steps to ensure there would be no others. We shared our pain and humiliation because we wanted to protect then-current and future students from suffering as we suffered.
Imagine how we felt when, in March of 2014, the school announced that it only “recently” learned of Moyer’s decades-long abuse. Imagine how we felt when we learned that our school knew of Jack Moyer’s misconduct as early as 1968 – long before any of us were ever abused – and that many more children were made to suffer needlessly, all because the school failed to live up to its promises and did not do anything to protect future victims – including many of us.
The abuse Jack Moyer committed against us included forcible rape, sodomy, and extensive, repeated sexual abuse. In some cases, the abuse began when we were 11- and 12-year old children; in others, it spanned across years of our lives. Decades later, we still feel that pain. But Jack Moyer was not the only one who hurt us and betrayed our trust – ASIJ did, too. High level ASIJ personnel have even admitted to the role they played in failing to stop the abuse.
For example, in an April 4, 2014 email exchange between former ASIJ High School Principal Dr. James Juergensen and one victim’s family member, Dr. J spoke of the actions he took in the late 1970s after receiving detailed, formal reports of Jack Moyer’s abuse of two of us in 1977 and again in 1979. In that April 2014 email, Dr. J stated:
“[I] went to Bill Ricketson [Headmaster, 1970 – 1977] and then Ray Downs [Headmaster, 1977 – 1991], who told me they were going to investigate further, and take action. … I thought those two Head guys would follow up, I was too naïve. They must have thought that ASIJ’s reputation was a higher calling somehow. Boy did that backfire on all of us!!!”
When we, the victims, reached out to ASIJ one year ago, we made our goals very clear: truth about the past, justice for the victims, and changes to ensure the safety of all current and future students. ASIJ says it has “great sympathy” for us. But actions speak louder than words. For the last year, ASIJ has not focused on what happened to us, nor worked with us to develop a process to encourage a fair and reasonable resolution to this terrible chapter of our collective history.
Despite all of this, however, we remain hopeful that ASIJ will rise to meet our demands. But, to achieve that, ASIJ needs to show us, not just tell us, that it will honor its core values: community, honesty, integrity, respect and accountability. ASIJ needs to take responsibility, release the full and complete Ropes & Gray report, and put an end to the victim blaming. Put simply, ASIJ needs to do the right thing. The truth must come out, for only then can we – the entire ASIJ community – begin to heal.
We are thirteen of the untold number of survivors of Jack Moyer’s sexual abuse, and of ASIJ’s role in that abuse. We are thirteen alumni who are deeply and endlessly grateful for the ASIJ Community’s continued support, and who hope that our school will live up to the honorable goals it promised to embody. Together, we are ASIJ.
Thirteen ASIJ Sisters
70 thoughts on “Our Response to the ASIJ Board”
Thank you for your clear and well-wrItten letter. It takes so much courage to come forward as child victims of sexual abuse.
If you have the legal authority to release the Ropes & Gray report, can you please put a link on your site? Thank you again for coming forward.
Thank you so much for writing this response to the inexcusably insensitive “update” that ASIJ Admin sent out last week. As an ASIJ alumna, I’m ashamed by the way our school threw the blame on you for making completely reasonable demands to their investigation process. It’s especially sickening that they should complain about your “financial demands” while posting pictures of high-profile construction projects on their social media pages.
I am sorry that ASIJ has continued to let you down. Though I greatly appreciate the 14 years I spent on ASIJ campuses and credit it to much of my good character, ASIJ has always struck me as an “image first” organization at heart–but I’m shocked to hear the extent to which this is true. It’s clear that though ASIJ’s mission statement purports to instill compassion and responsibility in its students, they have a very, very long way to go in those fields as an administrative organization.
If there is anyway that we as alumni can help you outside of ASIJ, please let us know. Thank you again for sharing your message, and please stay strong in the belief that you never, at any point, did anything to deserve any of this treatment.
Jeannie Harrell, class of 2007
The courage it has taken you ladies to have come forward when the abuse was happening and now is commendable.
I pray the administration of AsiJ will quit sweeping this ugly dirt under the carpet. No amount of money will ever take away your abuse, however I believe you need to sue those who are culpable as well as the school and make sure there are policies in place today so that this never happens again.
This is truly horrible and its seems like the administration of ASIJ is acting really reprehensibly.
Thank you for this blog. I will surely refer my non-FB family and friends here. God bless you all and lots of love.
Point of information: Has the Ropes & Gray report been completed? Has ASIJ cited any further investigation or other task that must be performed in order for Ropes & Gray to complete its report?
Not to excuse either the law firm or the school for the missed deadline, but, having had some experience with “independent investigations,” I know that there can be many reasons for such a missed deadline, some legitimate and some less so. ASIJ should be asked to identify more specifically its reasons for delay in the release of the report.
In other words, financial claims may be complicated enough to require more time to fully resolve, but difficulty in resolving the claims does not justify delaying the release of what is supposed to be a fully independent report.
If the report is really not complete, and the reasons for the incompleteness are legitimate, the ASIJ should explain those reasons. Failure to offer any explanation would suggest that the report is not really independent, and that retaining leverage in the claims resolution process has a higher priority than transparency .
This is such a horrific crime….This isnt a business where adults were RAPED and SODOMIZED…this is a SCHOOL for CHILDREN…CHILDREN…while one cant hardly put a price on lost/destroyed childhoods and all the PTS and therapy these victims should be entitled to….its SOO much more than just about money. This isnt any different than the Catholic Schools with the First Nations CHILDREN…again I say CHILDREN….Who out there would like to offer their children up to be SO horrifically abused…and just “deal with it in SILENCE” No one….and thats what this school did…they KNEW…and they did nothing…nothing !!! In the past people were so shocked…they stayed in shock…and lived in shock ALL their lives…this is a day and age where all those past crimes need to come out of the closet and be dealt with ASAP. Of COURSE these women deserve financial restitution…their childhoods were not just stolen…they were brutally attacked…RAPE and SODOMY are BRUTAL ATTACKS on anyone…never mind children. I am so proud of these sisters for finally coming forward and no longer keeping these BLACK FILTHY ATTACKS on them quiet. More times than not it takes until children grow up and become adults before they are even able too look at the brutality done to them by adults in a high place of AUTHORITY, and POWER over them and realize…that wasnt right….and in fact it was a heinous CRIME. I hope this goes ALL THE WAY to what ever lengths it takes for these BRAVE WOMEN to get this school that was known by MANY on the BOARD to be a hunting ground for pedophiles, to make financial restitution to them. Because they just swept it under the carpet for the MONEY. The only reason they are so elusive still, is because of the MONEY. Money is a big deal to the School…why shouldnt it count for these 13 BRAVE SISTERS…they had their childhoods stolen, at the hands of a so called Prestigious School…their parents sent them there to be WELL EDUCATED…not RAPED and SODOMIZED…so those kids could possibly go forward and make a difference in this world. This was an elite school, that let everyone down just to keep the MONEY rolling in .
YOU GO SISTERS !!! Dont stop believing…JUSTICE will prevail …evil always fails…sometimes it just takes a long while for it to crash..but it always does !!!!
I just received this and went to ASIJ in the 70’s and went to that island with a young
teen who lived across the street in the hostel near school. I knew something was
off I just wasn’t old enough to understand but I so remember thinking how strange it
was that we were so unsupervised while at the same time feeling like it was a privilege to go out there. I feel for you my sisters who have suffered this abuse and the families who
cannot help but be affected. You are strong, brave and courageous women and I hope
my friend from those years are among you. Catherine
Thank you for sharing this message. I remember you well as Cathy and that young teen was me. Thank you for seeing us as strong brave and courageous.
Enough victim blaming!! Asij take responsibility!!
This is so sad that the school covered it up for so long and never did anything. A school is there to help children learn and grow, and it’s the school responsibility to protect them. These women will never forget what happened but coming together shows how strong they are by taking action. You all are brave!
there are no words, sisters. please know that we’re supporting you every step of the way. to echo everyone else, your strength is truly humbling! i’ll be sharing this website with my family and friends. best wishes.
I am so glad you sisters had the courage to do what you are doing. This tragedy should never have happened, and then for the school to consciously continue to try to hide it is unconscionable conduct. Gambatte
I was shocked and horrified to hear about what was actually going on. Thank goodness I was in Mrs. Spooner’s class in the 5th grade (I have a terrible memory but I believe Jack Moyer was teaching the other 5th grade). If it was the 6th, I was in Mrs. Storey’s class. In any case, all this must have been going on while I was there and perhaps to children in my very grade. I can’t imagine.
Bravo to the 13 of you brave souls for standing up. It must have been very hard.
I too hope that ASIJ will do what is right now regardless of what was not done in the past.
I did not come to ASIJ until HS. Those times and my time in Japan have always been some of my best memories. As these incidents have come to light I have been shocked. ASIJ is shamefully bashing these victims. It is time to stop laying blame and take responsibility. It is a crime to know that a crime has been or is being committed. So ASIJ’s systematic turning a blind eye is just as horrible as the acts that were committed. There is nothing I can say or do to any of the woman that have endured the abuse not only by a trusted faculty member but repeatedly by the school that they sought help from, other than to offer my support.
Protection of an institutional image by its leaders leads to hypocrisy and psychological and physical damage to the individuals that institution claims to nurture!
Dear sisters and survivors,
Thank you so much for sharing your hurt, your pain, your anger, and your resolve with the rest of us. May we prove worthy of your courage and your trust, and move to support you concretely in the months to come.
It has been very difficult to ponder this terrible, long term tragedy. All I can say at the moment is to wish the best caring, comfort, respect, and support to you all, and to all those who have suffered so terribly.
My heart goes out to you. My own experience as a former special ed teacher, and as the parent of a brutally abused and traumatized son (who remains seriously disabled at age 39), may help illuminate your situation.
The reflections on the school’s culture are important, and I hope we see some detailed forensic digging into that culture and its history. I attended the high school for two years, 1961 to ’63. In those days the school was fairly tolerant of physical intimidation amongst its students, with a culture that made seniors a privileged class. (I was a freshman and sophomore.) More important perhaps was the almost slavish attention and adoration given its prodigies – in those days, Jim Bickell (math) and Pearl Mok (art) – while everyone else, including borderline dyslexics such as myself, were basically left to fend and cope alone. Then, too, there was (is?) the pervasive ecosystem of Japanese culture itself, with its dispositions towards keeping up a good front, towards silence, denial, enforced “consent,” and control – not to mention ostracism of the marginal and the disturbed. Is it any surprise that Mr. Moyer’s hideous behavior flourished for so long?
Thank you again for your great courage, and your great trust. May it redound to the healing transformation of all who have suffered, and of the school itself.
GAMBATTE, sisters –
1961 – 1963
Metro Washington, DC
Let’s all refuse to donate any more money to the school and contact all the corporate sponsors that pay for their employees children to go there and encourage them to do the same. Hit them where it hurts until they do what’s right. Sad that the school didn’t do what is right in a timely manner. I will never donate to them again.
We have to start a letter campaign to the corporate donors!
It’s an honor to have known those of you so brave as to continue and persevere through this terrible experience. Having attended this school and suspected oddities in a teacher student relationship during this era, I can only also apologize for bring naive to what was happening. I hope the board will finally realize what is right and just for all of you. But please know we are so very proud of your courage! Thank you.
Dears, I am deeply sorry for the hurt you all have experienced in your young lives at ASIJ. As a parent and a resident in the community during those years, I must feel some responsibility. Perhaps I, and other parents like me, were not open to your needs or seemed inaccessible for help. I wish with all my heart that I could have heard your voices and done something, anything, to stop the abuse and its everlasting pain. Do forgive me. I pray that when this ordeal is finally put behind you, you will emerge the strong and beautiful women I know you to be. With love, Betty Swain
I was at ASIJ from 1984-1988. I am going to forward your email to everyone I know who send their kids to other international schools in Tokyo, everyone I know who may be considering sending their kids to ASIJ, and ex-colleagues at 2 U.S. investment banks in Tokyo, and ask them to keep forwarding. I’d really like to help. I live in CA but go back to Tokyo about twice a year. Is there any way that I can help?
I have looked for you everywhere… How are you?
You probably can’t tell from my name if I’m a woman or a man. I’m a woman. Like all of you. And I’m sick to my stomach imagining what you’ve had to go through.
Dear Mr. Ladd & Ms. Toppino:
Let me first start by introducing myself. I am Laura Davis who was a graduate of the 1986 class. I had the opportunity to come over to Japan and live with my cousins who also attended ASIJ. Till this day, I am grateful for the Kennard family, in opening up their home, family, and life so that I could be productive and graduate.
At that point in time, I left my senior class behind in Scottsdale Arizona where I attended school from fifth grade through my junior year. Although I found it hard to leave friends behind, I knew I would meet new ones, and create a lifelong memory there in Tokyo. This opportunity was a big deal for me. It was going to allow me to restore my spirit and break away from the life I had known back in Scottsdale.
After reading a note about Mr. Moyer, and the abuse that occurred at ASIJ, it hit close to my heart and it made me think I should help contribute to any decisions made in these allegations. You see I too was a sexually abused victim myself. It started in my junior high years and the abuse went on for quite some time before I was strong enough to come forward and take my abuser to court. Actually, he was on probation from a previous restraining order that was in place, and he was caught in a car with me, with his penis out, by a police officer. He was finally caught in the act, after abusing me for years and by word of mouth, many others before me. It was my opportunity at that moment to move forward and take him to court. Unlike many others, I had visual proof of him being in the act. Not many children have that kind of proof. They have to go by their word alone, and that sometimes is not enough evidence to go by in the court of law.
There are many signs of abuse for those that don’t see it with their own eyes; however, it’s so settle at times it’s difficult to know if the child is just merely having difficulty or if the child is being abused. Sexual abuse does affect grades. I went from an honor student to falling behind in my studies, by the time I reached high school. I had to keep things secret in order to protect my family and that also weighed heavily on my mind and body. The funny thing is when a child is being abused, they think it is their fault and they think it will hurt their parent’s feelings if they knew the whole truth. The child always protects the family no matter what. And .the family never knows all the details of the abuse. In fact, my mother died when I was 24 not knowing all that happened to me. This is why people keep coming forward years later saying they were victims to abuse. Sometimes it takes years to heal even the courage to come forward.
Although, I felt the responsibility to take my abuser to court, I still protected my family of all the details. The abuser even used one of his manipulating skills until the end. Harry made me see him cry in the elevator, on the way to court, trying to make me feel guilty. The elevator door happened to open up while I was waiting to go to court. I don’t know if the lawyer had that planned or if it was by accident. You see children are easily manipulated and the pedophiles all have the same strategy in grooming, even in the end he was trying to manipulate and make me feel bad as though I was in the wrong for taking him to court and he did.
In court I only keep things at a minimal not talking fully about all the abuse that occurred over the years. For some reason the child doesn’t want to get into trouble as if the abuse was their fault. The defense wants to make the child out to be the bad person. Because I didn’t let the legal system and courts know about the actual continuous rape and only spoke about touching, Harry only got a few years in jail, if I had known it would have made a difference in his sentencing, I would have found the courage to bring forth more abuse information. If my parents weren’t sitting in the court that day I may have brought it up. Again I felt victimized because Harry served little time for all that he did. If I knew the term pedophilia and I wasn’t the only victim I would have made certain he didn’t get out of jail to harm others. Because he was getting out of jail, my mother feared he would murder me out of anger, and with this thought pattern I was in Tokyo, Japan where I could be safe from Harry.
When we are young, we ponder the future wondering what we have in store. Wondering what we are going to grow up to become, wondering what riches are ahead, wondering the places we will go and people we will meet. When a child is abused all that energy is focused on emotional survival. Every talent, every subject in school goes to the wayside. Time heals but it never goes away. We live our lives as though the abuse doesn’t own us, but we take on OCD, PTSD, body dysmorphic disorder, or pick up on devises that numb out feelings, which in return remind us daily of our struggles from our past abuse. Because it’s an ongoing struggle throughout life, I feel the need to speak about this and stick up for those who went through what I did. It does take time for it to really hit home and work through the actual abuse on an emotional level. Each abuse is different in how it goes about and I believe kidnapped children who return alive may find it easier to heal than children abused from people we know. When a pedophile we know comes in our personal lives, we think we did something wrong to cause these actions. When in reality, we were being groomed from the beginning. It does take the ability to trust in others out of our lives, because whom we trusted now makes us question everyone.
My family and I knew my abuser through church. Attending Church, like school where we are supposed to feel safe from harm ends up being our everyday hell based on pedophiles that use places such as these to get in contact with children. We put trust in those people, and to turn around and be abused in those places, by those predators, robs us. It isn’t until we wake up from the trauma that we recognize that we aren’t alone that there are many more out there that experienced pedophilia abuse. At that moment we feel safe to come forward.
When I was being abused, Pedophilia wasn’t out there being talked about as much as it is now. Now is the time to address this and educate all children because it continues to happen decades later. This abuse murders a child’s innocence and it never comes back.
I’ve personally lived my life as damaged goods feeling that I’m not good enough or smart enough. I have to fight my every being thinking differently on a daily basis. I think therapy will help these children. I went to therapy, but I never spoke of my abuse thinking my therapist would share it with my parents. Remember I was trying to protect my parents from the truth, and I’m not alone in this way of thinking. That is probably why so many children don’t come forward.
I strongly believe the administration needs to educate himself or herself more on the subject so that school counselors could help these victims and so the victims feel safe enough to approach a counselor on the subject without being taken lightly on the trauma that occurred.
Children need to have the ability to understand why they express irritability and occasionally have outbursts of anger towards others along with this comes guilt, shame, and self- blame – Then there are feelings of mistrust and betrayal, depression and hopelessness, suicidal thought and feelings, all these symptoms we go through as abused children is a lot for one child to go through alone. Things will not get better if they don’t have a place to heal. Don’t sweep problems under the rug to the point of a child committing suicide. It isn’t their fault. I put that responsibility on the school administration.
One may ask but how did Mr. Moyer do it and get away with abusing so many children? Child grooming played a big role in my relationship with Harry. There was psychological manipulation in the form of positive reinforcement and foot-in-the-door tactics, using activities that are typically legal but later lead to illegal activities. I learned this is done to gain the child’s trust , as well as, the trust of those responsible for the child’s well-being. Additionally, a trusting relationship with the family means the child’s parents are less likely to believe potential accusations. First of all Harry belonged to our church. After his wife died, he invited us three girls over to his home to clean. He paid us a generous amount compared to what we would have made babysitting. It was in his home, while cleaning, where the abuse started. He became our adopted Grandfather. He gave gifts to my parents and us children. He was invited over for dinner and to our Girl Scout events. I don’t know what approach was taken to gain these children’s trust in Mr. Moyer, at ASIJ, other than he was their teacher; However, to not have the school system support and be behind the children is a double slap in the face. Children do not lie and make it up; if anything, we keep it hidden in fear of being judged.
Although I attend ASIJ for no more than one school year, I feel that I should speak out for those on my behalf since I understand their struggles on a personal level. I find it ironic that what I was escaping from one side of the world was happening right beside me while there attending ASIJ. Many didn’t know why I was in Japan attending school. In fact, I believe I told a counselor because I was struggling with my classes, and needed to give a little explanation of my background to why I was in Japan to begin with. Yes, it was challenging for me because the classes were harder than expected, but in reality it was the abuse I endured in years past that help contribute to my lack of concentration in school. I’m certain these children too suffered in this manner. I truly was grateful to graduate. I thought that was the first big steps in accomplishments since I missed so much schooling and it was difficult for me catch up. Although, I didn’t like being labeled in the Yearbook “Least Likely to Succeed”, I did seem to feel that way about myself at this point because my piers were being accepted in prestigious colleges. I was forgiving for they not know my past history. Let this be an example of how abuse affects all areas of life. Let’s not push away the past history of these children so they can have the courage to move forward with their lives while holding their head high. Let them have a voice and not feel threatened by it. If we can’t put faith in the school system, then who is it that we do turn to in this sort of crisis?
I have read articles watched talk shows, listened to doctors, on this subject of child sex abuse, and none I could relate to how I felt then one day by accident I came across an article that explained it to the tee. I have provided an insert from the article.
Some impacts of childhood sexual abuse on the life of adult survivors
By J Summers
Many people believe that, because the abuse happened as a child, as an adult the survivor should now just ‘forget about it and get on with life’. If it were this simple, many survivors would do it! It is not this simple however. Survivors were not given the opportunity to experience a ‘normal’ childhood and they cannot go back and re-experience it. Childhood is where all humans learn the basics of adult behavior. It is where they learn to talk, to walk, to feed themselves, dress themselves, to relate to others and how to decode all manner of verbal and non-verbal messages. When this learning process is distorted through abuse, it is impossible to change or erase the lessons learnt once adulthood has been reached. This is not to say that a survivor cannot lead a perfectly happy and fulfilling life, but they will never be the same as a non-survivor. The way a survivor is taught to think and act is forever different from a non-abused adult. This altered way of thinking affects relationships with their families, partners, close friends, their own children and with themselves.
If someone is skeptical about this statement, then ask him or her to try a simple experiment. Ask them to do two things in their life differently from the norm. Ask them to brush their teeth with their non-dominant hand and to brush their hair with their non-dominant hand. Once they have done this, ask them to imagine that, for the rest of their lives, brushing their teeth and hair will be that difficult. It won’t feel ‘right’. You look in the mirror and know that you can’t quite do it. You can see others around you who seem to have no problems with it, but your own hands are clumsy. There are knots in your hair that you can’t quite reach, or the part won’t go straight. You resign yourself to the fact that you will never be able to make your hair look as good as everyone else’s. Even if you get it done professionally, this is only a temporary solution. You know when brushing your teeth you’ve missed some of those back molars and scooping up the water was a nightmare so you used a little less than was needed. You know that eventually this type of tooth care will lead to decay but resign yourself to having to pay for the dentist bills and being admonished for your delinquency. You have learnt that others will attribute the reason for these behaviors to either a deliberate choice on your behalf or some undesirable personality defect such as laziness. But you endure, you get by.
Now tell the person to imagine that the reason they have to do this is merely to titillate and amuse some grown-up. Ask them to reflect on how they would think about life knowing that every day was going to be a struggle and all because someone else selfishly used you for their own gratification when you were young. Now tell them to blame themselves for allowing it to happen and to feel the guilt that they are unable to tell anyone about it. This experiment may give a non-abused person a small insight into the life of a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Instead of teeth and hair brushing being ‘different’ for a survivor it is everything.
I hope what I have provided will help in this matter,
Laura Jane Davis Kellam
Laura, thank you for sharing your story. Janet
This is truly alarming. I know that there were a couple teachers at my time at asij during the late 90s that had inappropriated sexual relations with female hs students. I could not understand how the administration did not fire them. About ten yearrs ago one of these teachers was having relations with students from another international school and was finally terminated. I will not mention names but his whole ideology was one that was based on living in the now and he was a vocal atheist who asked me during class if my belief in God affected my daily life and when I replied yes, he had no words. What kind of message does the school think female students get with these kind of teachers being allowed to teach?! I’m horrified to hear of the history of male sexually abusive faculty but it explains why no actions were taken when they should have been when I was a student. You thirteen sisters are not alone!
Keiko, thanks for sharing this with the community. If you have not already done so, please contact Ropes & Gray, the independent investigators, at any of the following: US 617-235-4397 Japan 03-6259-3566 Email ASIJReportLine@ropesgray.com. Specific to Jack Moyer, we know that the thirteen sisters are not alone, his abuse was much broader. The Ropes & Gray investigation is supposed to be broadly looking into ANY reports of sexual abuse, so your knowledge may be critical to them in producing a complete report documenting incidents beyond Jack Moyer. Please do this to help ASIJ become the school we thought it was and know it can once more become!
I stand with you as you step forth and demand accountability. Your bravery and willpower to persevere are astounding. You’re efforts are already having an affect globally as ASIJ alumni around the world learn from this take take action where ever they are.
My 2 years, ’63-’65, in Japan and at ASIJ had a great impact on me, my attitudes, and beliefs. My personal experience was very positive and I remember those I knew there fondly. I did not think anything could sully those memories. I was wrong.
I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the truths that you 13 brave sisters have chosen to bring to light. I do not who you are. I need not know who you are. I do need to know that you are getting whatever is possible to relieve your pain and bring you some small sense of justice. Please, let us know what we, as alums and outraged human beings, can do in your support.
Tony Fern ’65
Thank you, Thirteen ASIJ Sisters, for keeping us in the loop. For officials to say the school will investigate lodged complaints and then not doing so is a total betrayal. That is not okay. I did not know Jack Moyer beyond seeing him in the hallways, but I remember him. I am on the side here, and if there is anything I can do, please let me know. Healing can only begin when past wrongdoings are fully acknowledged and owned. Stay strong–you are supported.
As a former faculty member of ASIJ, I want to add my voice to the many voices that have expressed support for the ASIJ survivors. You thirteen have earned our admiration and respect in far greater measure than you can possibly realize. Particular praise to Janet Calcote Simmons for the courage and perseverance she has shown over the years to bring this issue to light. But all of you victims have earned our support, not just for what you endured, but also for the manner in which you made your case. Your courage is inspiring. We stand with you. It is long past time for the school’s leadership to seriously and compassionately address your concerns.
I also stand in support of the ASIJ survivors. You are amazing women and I am so sorry that your innocence was robbed in this horrible way and that ASIJ continues to be complicit in this abuse through its non-communication and non-closure.
This is forcing a re-write of my own personal history with ASIJ over 46 years as a student, alumni, donor, parent, trustee, and staff member. I knew Jack Moyer well and earned a scuba license to be able to help at Miyake outside of and in addition to the formal 7th-grade program; we were all clearly being manipulated. I am thankful that you have found each other as a support organization, but this in no way serves as an excuse for ASIJ to continue to ignore the problem. ASIJ needs to take institutional responsibility for broadening and deepening the healing process as you have so passionately, articulately and forcefully argued for well over a decade.
I also support your petition https://www.change.org/p/asij-board-of-directors-take-responsibility-for-the-sexual-abuse-of-children-at-asij. As I commented there, ASIJ lauds a rich history dating back to 1902…but it cannot and should not then exercise selective memory and expunge this Jack Moyer ugly chapter as easily as it chose to book-burn its 100-Year History to delete the chapters lauding Jack and Miyake. It is not too late for ASIJ to do the right thing. This can include reaching out to the Japanese victims of Jack Moyer, even non-ASIJ students…this would truly be Global Responsibility, partnering with Japan to address child abuse.
When I was talking to Ropes and Gray and ASIJ’s MOFO representative the last thing I told them was that ASIJ had an incredible opportunity to become the International Leader in this area. If they would stand up and do the right thing and then work with other schools facing the same issue, they could become the beacon of hope for the world. They had a chance to do that. Instead, they are responding reprehensibly doing exactly the opposite. They have no vision of where this could be used for their benefit. What’s the simple saying, “make lemonade out of lemons.”
Why is it so simple for you and many in this group to see this as an opportunity for a win-win…but so difficult for ASIJ to grasp?
When told to destroy the “History of ASIJ” books more than a decade ago, I resisted and suggested that the book be republished — working with the victims and Vicky to edit out the lauding of Jack and keeping what still remains the only complete history of the school. I tried to convince the Admin that NONE of the victims wanted to hurt ASIJ, just set the record straight, fix the policies..make ASIJ into an even better school. Instead the books were unceremoniously dumped and destroyed; the problem was swept under the carpet for another decade. Sadly, ASIJ still seems incapable of compassionately dealing with its history and the victims of the abuse.
How long as MOFO been ASIJ’s counsel on this? How long has the problem been allowed to fester just under the surface? When will the healing begin? Give us Lemonade, not a GMO-Modified & Patented Hybrid that entirely misses the Heart and Soul of why the school should exist! ASIJ, DO THE RIGHT THING. It’s certainly more simple and satisfying than anything you have tried thus far!
I am glad to see that you became such an integral part of ASIJ over the years. I agree with you that the burning of the “History of ASIJ” books was a terrible mistake. I do not believe the institution is to blame for the actions of one or more of its members. Why destroy the contributions of so many dedicated people who made that institution great? So much good was done there. Moyer’s heinous behavior should not cancel that out. Burning a book, while it demonstrates outrage, accomplishes nothing else. It does, however, show a grave disrespect for the teachers and administrators who worked hard there. I do not know the circumstances of this “burning,” but on the face of it I am reminded of all the beheadings that took place during the French Revolution. Killing every educated person out of anger and spite resolved nothing then. What was achieved by burning books in this instance?
I agree that the destruction of the ASIJ History book was a terrible mistake. As you say, it destroyed the contributions of so many dedicated people who made ASIJ great. To clarify, we at ASIJ didn’t actually burn the books…the local incinerator (big smokestack towards Shin-Koganei for those who walked along the Bochi Bullet train line…) did ASIJ the honors as their reliable garbage sub-contractor. But I did consider staging an actual “football field book burning” as an act of disobedience and to prove a point!!
This was among my first inklings that the Administration was sweeping things under the carpet rather than dealing with the Moyer issue and other school issues head-on; they destroyed the books not as a sign of their outrage but unfortunately out of cowardice and insensitivity and lethargy — and likely under advisement by their lawyers (instead of editing out the lauding of Jack as some of the victims and I were requesting at the time…)
The republishing of this book as an updated version would have had a cathartic and constructive effect; unfortunately my suggestion to do so was rebuffed. I even contacted Vicky to ask her assistance but was told that ASIJ held the copyrights, we would need their permission.
Going forward in a positive spirit, I would like to formally propose that we revisit this earlier decision, use the successful revised publishing of the ASIJ History to be a symbol that the Administration and Board are finally recognizing the need to deal with this issue, help turn this sad chapter into a learning opportunity for the entire school community and a true win-win. Steve, thanks for picking up on this theme!
The book lacked a lot of ASIJs’ history. It was a glorify Downs book, fueled and produced by his wife.
I hope they will make a better one.
I am one of the friends in the Philippines…yes, its a verry long time I heared about the new’s of Jack Moyer…I was thinking that his verry crazy man…now I heared again about jack moyer I was shocked…Why should ASIJ sch. still depending that crazy man…! You thirteen students… survivor I expressed support & admiration to give respect..in which u made ur case…We ur freinds here in the Philippines…we salute & inspire us brave.
Mr Moyer was my 7th grade Science teacher in 1976-77. I now recall an incident with him & another female student during our 7th grade trip to Miyake Island. Please contact me if hit need me to write to you or talk about what I witnessed.
I always thought it was strange & my husband of 25-years told me that he thinks I witnessed a peer being molested. I don’t know if she is one of the 13 women who have come forth. But contact me if you need to. I will also contact the attornies’ office with the info I have.
I am so sorry about what happened. Till I read the article today, I half thought I had hallucinated or dreamed the event up since it was so strange to me. I was only 11 for I had skipped a grade, so I didn’t have the paradigm to process the info mentally at the time .
Rochelle- I was a senior student counselor in 1977 at Miyake. It sickens me to think that something like that was going on right under my nose and I had no idea.
Holly, you are not the only one who feels as you do. It is dreadful to have memories of “strange things” and having reported them and having been told,
“That’s just Jack.” Rosemary
It takes such great courage to tell one’s story after enduring sexual abuse and then to find the energy and strength to go public and demand accountability is hard to fathom . I stand up and applaud these amazing 13 women for their courage, perseverance and solidarity in taking on such a huge endeavor that must be exhausting and painful as well as inspiring and healing. I especially want to acknowledge one of these women, Jennifer Laurie, a women who, in 2013 after reading the blog written by Janet Simmons, stood up and shared her voice by writing a courageous letter to ASIJ. In this letter, Jennifer respectfully insisted on some kind of accountability and action regarding this horrible history of abuse . Like any survivor of sexual abuse, finding a voice and taking the next step and demanding actions towards taking responsibility and healing is a very daunting step forward. Jennifer not only wrote a difficult and revealing letter sharing her painful experiences of being abused by Moyer but was instrumental in starting a chain of communication between herself , ASIJ and ultimately the other 12 courageous women. She then continued her efforts by tirelessly researching and contacting the attorneys that are now representing these 13 women. As a result of Jennifer’s letter, ASIJ made their first public announcement in March of 2014. All 13 of these woman are no doubt worthy of endless acknowledgement for what they are doing and I bow to each and everyone for sharing their voice so courageously and selflessly.
Laura, you are a really good friend to Jennifer. Love, love your post.
All those kids need to be addressed to. They deserve that.
Also ASIJ should be worried about the future of the school.
I don’t know if there are lawsuits coming and if so will they playout in Japan or the US .
My best friend is one of the ASIJ 13. Thank you for all the support she has received. All of you are strong amazing women. Keep shining the light.
I attended ASIJ from 1976-1978 and am appalled at the lack of response by past and current admins. These women have suffered immensely over the years and their lives are forever changed by the evil acts of Jack Moyer who took their innocence away. How would ASIJ handle this if it were happening today? The time is NOW for the current Board of Directors to do the right thing and allow these women to take the first step down their path towards healing. Bless all of you amazing 13 + for your strength and courage and unending tenacity <3
Thank you ASIJ Sisters, for your courage to come forth. Prior to going to ASIJ, I went to Nishimachi International School. There was a teacher there who sexually abused girls. It wasn’t until later that I found out his MO was to pick one girl a year, usually one who wasn’t close to/felt unloved by her parents. It was quite easy for him, since he was a respected home room teacher as well as our basketball coach. I know Jack Moyer’s case is only to do with ASIJ, but there were predators at other schools, and I’m not sure if they will ever be held accountable for what they did.
I also went to NIS and am sad to read this. Did any of the students abused at NIS report the abuse?
This is to follow up on earlier commenters’ concern about the possibility of children in non-ASIJ schools or programs being abused by Moyer.
I believe that in addition to a full and official apology and restitution to survivors who were ASIJ students, ASIJ should do public outreach (press, website, social media, etc.) in Japanese about Moyer’s abuse and offer support to non-ASIJ survivors who come forward with verifiable claims.
The school administration’s failure to act on the first report of Moyer’s abuse makes it partially responsible for all of the abuse that occurred subsequently, including in non-ASIJ settings.
Has this been raised with the school?
The courage of the Thirteen Sisters has created an opportunity for all survivors to come forward and receive support, however long overdue it may be. This is probably the last opportunity for ASIJ to do the right thing. The financial burden should mainly fall on the administrators who allowed the abuse to continue, or their estates. If the current administration fails to do the right thing, it should be replaced. Otherwise, ASIJ has no future, nor will it have a legacy worth continuing. Do the right thing, ASIJ.
Signed, an ASIJ alumnus
I have posted this on the change.org site, but will put it here as well. I have written formal letters to Ambassador Kennedy, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (’67) of Texas, and Dr. Fred Van Leuven, executive director, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and requested investigations by the State Department, Department of Defense, and the accreditation inspectors. I encourage all ASIJers to do the same. We need to see a resolution and apologies to the victims of the Moyer abuse and no more obfuscation by the ASIJ administration.
Dear Dr. Bradford,
Thank you so much for your support of the 13 survivors, and your efforts made in reaching out to others who might also see fit to get behind this worthy cause. It is so important that as many people as possible learn of the tragic circumstances and victimization that occurred at ASIJ, beginning with JM and even worse, its continuing for decades through the school’s administration. Please rest assured that your taking the time out of what is undoubtedly your busy day to lend words of support and to seek others willing to see this through to a conclusion is both heartening and deeply appreciated.
Kind thanks again and warm regards,
Airi Honda ’86
Thank you. You are a true hero.
Thank you so much, Dr. Bradford!
Hi Dr. Bradford, I too am a survivor and have been tirerlessly trying to get ASIJ to do something since 1990. THANK YOU so much for speaking out. Janet Calcote Simmons ’76
Rather than start with a public outreach (press, website, social media, etc.), it may be better to do outreach through an investigation of the programs Moyer was involved in, to compile a list of children who participated, and attempt to contact them directly, first.
Iyasu Nagata – you have a good point, however, this has been going on now for 40 years..
I understand. Has an investigation been conducted on whether the abuse ASIJ failed to stop extended into the wider population? If no, I request that the Thirteen Sisters advocate for one. Please consider the possible existence of survivors among the Japanese public and in other countries who need support.
Iyasu, I personally dont believe that it is our responsibility to go out and find other victims although we have advocated for them. It is a Japanese police matter and it is not our responsibility.
Thank you. It’s very good to know that you advocated for non-ASIJ survivors, too.
It’s certainly not your responsibility to do so.
The reason I requested here is because the Thirteen Sisters are probably the only people who can get the school to do the right thing for all survivors of Moyer’s abuse.
The question of whether a survivor was a student at ASIJ or not doesn’t seem as important as the fact that after the first report of Moyer’s abuse was made to ASIJ (in 1968?), no further abuse should have happened, and would not have happened if the administrators had acted responsibly.
Please consider the following, from David Bruns’ letter posted at http://www.asij1968.com/files/doc16.pdf
“The ASIJ Board needs to be requested to add the following to the investigative team’s scope of work. Get the help of the Metropolitan Police to try and match suicides by young Japanese women in the last 20-25 years with girls who were in contact with Moyer on his education programs and were potentially molested. Investigate whether Moyer was named in suicide notes or verbally to confidants before the suicides. This is a relevant part of the consequences of the school’s failure to stop this known serial pedophile abuser’s contacts with children.”
Please also consider the following, from David Bruns’ letter posted at http://www.asij1968.com/files/doc16.pdf
“As for the Japanese victims, they will be ignored by the Board as long as the Board thinks it can get away with it. It would be too much bother, too much bad publicity and too much increased risk for lawsuits for them to accept any responsibility. Think about the Japanese girl now in her late 20’s or 30’s who was victimized as a pre-teen or teen by the highly esteemed “professor”, Moyer sensei. There would be too much unbearable shame to tell her husband or her parents. She imagines the abuse was her fault. She imagines that she is the only person in this situation. She hurts but has never thought of seeing a counselor. She will bear this suffering silently the rest of her life and it will adversely affect her
relationships with others (to put it mildly). Her marriage may fail because of it. She may eventually commit suicide. She will never dream of going public or complaining to ASIJ. She may never have heard of ASIJ and wouldn’t recognize its complicity in her suffering. The board knows this last fact, speculates on it, and is most comfortable to leave the victim in her hopeless situation because it is the easy way out and because they lack any moral compass to do otherwise. They fail to see the humanity of this girl so they have no empathy for her and simply have “no comment”. The Board Chair hides behind the convenient excuse of waiting until the investigation is over, probably knowing full well that the Japanese victims are not even part of the investigators’ scope of work and hoping they will be forgotten. It may never cross Stephanie Toppino’s mind that waiting six months to take action means prolonging the suffering of all the unreached victims by at least another six months before they can be offered counseling. If it does cross her mind, it has only secondary or tertiary importance to her.”
I am at a loss hearing about the repeated abuse to young women from a teacher I HAD, at that time in my life, a great deal of respect for.
I was contacted by Moyer and actually went back to Miyake to act as a dive guide back in ’86 for the summer. I feel fortunate not to be reporting as an abused victim, however I could very easily have been one. Although I became aware during my stay, of an ongoing relationship he had with a female student older than myself, I was naive enough to think it was consentual.
I offer my apology for lacking the maturity, then, as I failed to offer any assistance those months.
If there is anything I can do today for any of you, please feel free to contact me.
I do hope that you are all able to find some moments of peace and strength in your days ahead.
Karen, thank you for your posting. If you have not already done so, would you please contact Ropes & Gray, the independent investigators who have been retained by ASIJ to document the abuse cases? As listed at http://www.asij.ac.jp/ they can be contacted at any of the following: Ropes & Gray US 617-235-4397 Japan 03-6259-3566 Email ASIJReportLine@ropesgray.com.
I have done so already, Carl. To the site listed. I can follow up with an email if that will move things along.
Lack of progress (“Lack of progress in probe into ASIJ ex-teacher’s sex abuse riles victims”)? Of course this investigation is moving at a snail’s pace. Do you know how many Catholic parochial schools faced financial ruin and had to close their doors over the past two decades after they were sued by the victims of predatory pedophile priests, monsters who had often been protected by senior clergy, including Archbishops, for the “good of the Church”? The American School in Japan is currently in survival mode. During the years the suspected pedophilic monster Jack Moyer roamed the ASIJ campus near Nogawa-koen in Chofu city, the school was simply in damage control mode.
Vicky Downs, the wife of former ASIJ Headmaster Ray Downs, asked my Japanese wife to assist her in compiling all those archival photographs for the commemorative book– “The American School in Japan: A History of Our First Century”. Mrs. Downs began working at ASIJ during the 1960’s and must have been aware of Moyer’s suspect reputation and yet she decided to publish not one, but two Moyer photographs of the child rapist. Would an exclusive, private high school in New York City publish photographs of a former teacher suspected of mass murder or arson in the school’s annual yearbook? It appears that everyone in a position of authority at ASIJ had been covering up Moyer’s predatory behavior for decades. Why was the ASIJ ‘Chrysanthemum club’ being so “mum”?
Perhaps it had something to do with Moyer’s close ties to Japan’s Imperial family? Yes, the well-known American marine biologist was a friend of the current emperor, Akihito, and was acquainted with the late Showa Emperor Hirohito. They all shared a common interest in marine biology. Moyer was also a gifted linguist. The article in
“The Japan Times” makes no mention of this, but Moyer was very fluent in Nihongo and had a university level comprehension of both the spoken language and the Japanese system of writing known as kanji. He wrote a number of his research papers and books related to marine biology in Japanese, not English. Most of the faculty and staff at ASIJ have only the most rudimentary Japanese language skills. My wife is a skilled interpreter and often did translation work for teachers at ASIJ when they were experiencing a temporary bout of linguistic angst. Moyer’s fluency in Nihongo and his appreciation of Japanese culture contributed to his pedagogical contempt for his colleagues and students. It also spurred on his deviant criminality. You might say that Moyer “went native” in the worst possible manner. Sorry, but Japanese salarymen are infamously known for their “Lolita complex” and until very recently there were no laws in Japan banning child pornography. What about all the “enjo kosai” child prostitution sex clubs that flourished during the Bubble Economy in Tokyo? Japan has always been far more tolerant of pedophilic sexuality than any western country. A noted American Japanologist once quipped: “In Japan there is no sin, original or otherwise”.
Moyer must have felt that he led a “charmed” life right up until the very end. At the time of his death it was rumored that he was suffering from terminal cancer and that this was the reason he committed suicide. As the American radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say: “And now you know the rest of the story”. Didn’t “The Japan Times” publish an article at the time of Moyer’s death about his contributions to science, his love of the ocean, and his program to teach young people about marine biology and the wonders of aquatic life? Moyer was a master at deceit.
Was it professional or criminal negligence on the part of ASIJ administrators that allowed the suspected child rapist Jack Moyer to continue teaching and working at the school long after the first complaint was made against him in 1968? It appears that ASIJ was aiding and abetting a suspected sex criminal. Would an international hospital in Tokyo allow a highly qualified surgeon suspected of malpractice or outright murder to remain on its staff and continue his “experiments”? Oh, wait a minute, there was a hospital in Shinjuku that was established by a doctor who ran Unit 731 in Harbin, China during WWII. Sorry, I was wrong to criticize ASIJ. There is a precedent.
Institutional blindness is frightful. Did ASIJ look upon Moyer as an academic asset because of his ties to the Imperial family and his skills as a linguist? Is this why he was never fired? Or was it the fear of the civil law suits and a possible financial meltdown if he was arrested? The Catholic Church’s ongoing pedophile scandal erupted in the 1980’s. I wonder if this sent ASIJ administrators into panic mode?
Often when these pedophile lawsuits are finally settled, the victims are paid millions of dollars in compensation. However, please keep in mind that the money paid to the victim doesn’t begin to compensate for the lost innocence of a child or the pain and psychological trauma that the victim will inevitably endure over a lifetime. What was it about Jack Moyer’s violent, predatory pedophile behavior that ASIJ failed to recognize for nearly four decades? His victims have every right to feel riled.
My wife Naomi and I both knew Jack Moyer, and yet we never really knew him. In the summer of 1993, we joined an ASIJ family trip to Miyake-jima for a weekend of travel adventure and dolphin watching. Because she worked in the ASIJ Advancement Office (public relations and fund management), my wife had to work closely with Moyer for a number of years, serving as an unofficial assistant on some of his projects, such as his periodic ASIJ family excursions around Japan. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Moyer was still a significant figure on the ASIJ campus. On that weekend trip to Miyake-jima in the late spring of 1993 about ten ASIJ families joined, including the newly appointed headmaster Peter Cooper and his wife. I’d love someday to ask Cooper: “what did you know and when did you know it?” Working at ASIJ has always been a “fishbowl” existence, much like living in a small town. Moyer was a predatory sea snake swimming around in that fishbowl. His poison traumatized many young girls over the years. And the ASIJ staff never said “boo” to him? Very strange indeed.
Perhaps the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo suspected Moyer’s criminality but wanted to keep a lid on things so as NOT to embarass the Imperial family? Great Britain’s Prince Andrew can understand the American embassy’s concerns about Moyer’s sexual depravity and his connections with Japan’s Imperial family, yes? Moyer was invited to attend Emperor Akihito’s ‘coronation’ after the death of Hirohito in 1989. As the new emperor walked past Moyer during the ceremony, he quickly whispered to his American guest, “hello Jack”. This according to Moyer’s account of that day. Moyer had connections in very high places and used those connections to intimidate others. This might be another reason why the Moyer investigation is taking so much time. What will happen if the world learns that Moyer had close ties to Japan’s Imperial emperor? It could harm U.S.-Japan relations. But then again, Japan is infamous for its Lolita traditions and exploitation of underage sex workers. And America isn’t? Uh, I’m just saying… never mind.
It sickens me that my wife had to associate with a monster like Moyer. She trusted her own boss, who was a Harvard graduate, Japanologist fluent in Nihongo, and homosexual playboy. “JB” was always very supportive of Moyer’s “summer camp program” and ocean school. I wonder….hmmmmmm? Nah. Did “JB” ever suspect Moyer of being a serial child molester? If he did, he kept such suspicions to himself. Someone should write a novel about the Moyer scandal. There are so many facets to this scandal and tragically, so many unfortunate victims.
ASIJ has an endowment worth $$millions, perhaps a few billion! The financial compensation paid to Moyer’s victims will be nothing more than “chump change” to most of the members on the Board of Directors. It’s the loss of the school’s reputation that ASIJ is worried about most, which has always been its main concern. Of course the board refused to comment when questioned by “The Japan Times”. It’s “cover your ass” time. The Catholic Church has been very much engaged in this for the past thirty years and continues to do so. Japan’s Education Ministry probably has no comment as well, as in “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. Ijime in Japan’s public schools is just the tip of the iceberg. What of the recent report in “The Japan Times” and other Tokyo newspapers about the ex-principal of a Yokohama junior high school who was arrested after leading a not so secret life as a sex tourist and major league pedophile, who had been frequently visiting the Philippines since the late 1980’s? I doubt if his life was so very secretive. Why wasn’t he investigated and arrested years ago? Did he really have sex with an estimated 1,200 children in the Philippines, as he himself claims? Talk about a Lolita complex!
Moyer was also a U.S. military veteran and was well aware of the fact that during the Vietnam War, many American soldiers, sailors, and airmen enjoyed sex tourism in Saigon, Bangkok, and Manila, often with underage Asian girls, some as young as twelve or thirteen (less risk of STD). Moyer first met his future wife while on a volunteer mission to the Philippines. She was only twelve years old at the time. They married four years later.
Is there a racist double-standard at play here? Uh, I think so. Asian children were fair game back in the 1960’s, right through the 1980’s when it came to American and Japanese sex tourism. But please, don’t touch the American kids living in Asia, this would be taboo. No, I’m not defending Moyer’s horrible sex crimes, but when you consider what the U.S. military has been doing to Asian children since WWII or the American invasion of the Philippines in 1900, it appears that Moyer is a ‘scapegoat’ of sorts. During the Battle of Okinawa in April, 1945, the U.S. Army set up “comfort stations” behind the front lines. Okinawan girls as young as thirteen were recruited to provide sex for war weary U.S. servicemen. The military chaplin didn’t always like it, but commanding officers were worried about the morale of their troops. It’s said that the U.S. Pentagon turned Saigon into a vast brothel during the decades long war against Ho Chi Minh. And yes, some of the Vietnamese girls working in these sex club establishments were underage. Was Moyer first introduced to the ‘joys’ of sex with minors while serving in the USAF? And this brings up another question, did Moyer assault very many Japanese children? Japanese authorities should be investigating, shouldn’t they? What do the island residents of Miyake-jima now think of their friend Jack? Did they also turn a blind eye to his pedophilic crimes?
Just down the road from ASIJ is a major law enforcement training center for Japan’s National Police Agency. It was built around the year 2000. Moyer knew that the Japanese police would not want to conduct an investigation on the ASIJ campus back in the 1960’s or 1970’s.
It’s unrelated, but is there an American School in Iraq? What do the Americans at that school think of all the Iraqi children left homeless and/or orphaned by America’s illegal invasion and decade long occupation? What of the 500,000 Iraqi children who died in the 1990’s because of strict U.S. imposed economic sanctions against Iraq?
I emailed the new board this morning. It’s time to do this the right way.
To the newly-elected ASIJ Board of Directors:
In March of 2014, ASIJ’s board chair and head of school sent a letter pretending that they had only heard about sexual abuse at ASIJ in November of 2013. This kicked off a firestorm. Because they lied.
Everything that followed has been a result of this lie. My own involvement in this firestorm was fueled by Ed Ladd’s response to me and to the ASIJ community as a whole. His attempts to block and sideline our questions have fueled everything that’s happened over the past year.
The school seemed unwilling to investigate, so we did. We uncovered the following additional years in which ASIJ had been informed of sexual misconduct against its own children: 2012, 2011, 2008, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1990, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1982-3, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1975, and 1968.
These scandals grow. 106 colleges and universities in the U.S. are now under federal investigation for the mishandling of sexual assault investigations, up from 55 last year. This affects every institution: K-12, colleges and universities, churches, and the U.S. military, to name a few.
Every institution has this shared history to some degree. How each one addresses it is how they will be judged. The answer is transparency: admit, apologize, acknowledge. Acknowledge not just the predator’s actions but the school’s handling of these matters up to and including the present.
Bystanders tend to believe that if people speak up when they are abused, then it will be handled. Now we discover that people were saying something all along, but nobody helped.
The damage to victims is almost beyond belief. Believe it. Recent studies show that rape victims have 50% higher rates of PTSD than for soldiers returning from war. The sexual abuse of a child is a more damaging crime than any other, with long term impact on every aspect of the lives of its victims.
Please resolve this in a way that satisfies the victims of ASIJ and their families. Please make ASIJ a safer school for today’s children, and make those efforts public and transparent. Please release the Ropes & Gray report.
This conversation will continue, because it must. The code of silence is harmful to children, and creates more victims. The content of that conversation, with respect to ASIJ, is up to you and what you do now.
Susan Larson, 79
This whole business is sickening and way too many people in high positions are covering for ASIJ’s sin. Senator Cornyn (’67) will not have the DoD investigate ASIJ, Ambassador Kennedy does not want to get involved, and the head of the Western Association Accreditation refuses to answer my letters. This cone of silence is seriously insidious. I am now writing to the U.S. Attorney and requesting a FBI investigation since ASIJ receives federal dollars for State and DoD students. I encourage all readers of these messages to do the same. Rape and abuse is the silent pandemic that is always hushed up. Now that former Speaker of the House Hastert has been exposed for his days as a teacher who molested his students, the genie is out of the bottle, and a national/international day of recognition is at hand. Too bad ASIJ’s band of conspirators do not realize the coming storm that will eventually envelope and destroy them as Moyer’s sexual proclivities did to numerous students.
(Monday, June 1, 2015 – Metro Washington DC) If there are those in the wider population who suffered because of the school’s silence and denial, we may not have a responsibility on one level. But we may have an opportunity to bring healing to their lives – and to any breaks between the school’s alums and that population – that wouldn’t be possible if we don’t reach out to them in acceptance, solidarity, and compassion. I certainly think we shouldn’t seal ourselves off from such people.
Last week We the People learned much about the predatory past of former Republican Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, a one time close associate of ex-president George W. Bush. Hastert’s past sexual ‘misconduct’ (sexual assault and rape of at least one teenage male victim) was a fairly well kept secret for the past thirty-five years. The victim’s sister learned about Hastert’s criminal behavior just prior to her brother’s premature death from AIDS in 1995. She was shocked by her brother’s account of Hastert’s rape and abuse, which took place over a four year period when Steve Reinbolt was in high school. Young Reinbolt was working as a student manager for Hastert’s Illinois state championship wrestling team when the sexual abuse began. Reinbolt’s sister tried to stir up an official investigation after her brother told her of the sexual abuse, but her accusations were ignored by both the police and the media. Why didn’t Hastert sue her for slander? We know the answer to this question. Congressman Hastert was so bloody arrogant, so politically powerful, so morally blind during this time that he even attended his rape victim’s funeral, which in retrospect was adding great insult to criminal injury. While attending the funeral, Hastert was confronted by Reinbolt’s sister. He just drove away, refusing to even acknowledge her accusations or questions. At the peak of Hastert’s political career, the always politically adroit child rapist was third in line to become president of the United States.
I wonder if the Hastert case has had anything to do with ASIJ finally admitting that the school had covered up Jack Moyer’s serial sexual abuse of junior high school girls for decades? I wonder if the school would have reported Moyer’s criminal conduct to the authorities years ago if a Board member’s child had been sexually assaulted, or perhaps a headmaster’s thirteen-year-old daughter?
Former ASIJ headmaster Peter Cooper had two young daughters enrolled at the Chofu campus when Moyer was lurking about. Wasn’t Cooper at all concerned for the welfare of his own children? Cooper arrived at ASIJ in 1993 when Moyer was still running his summer marine biology camp for kids on Miyake island. What about the previous headmaster, Ray Downs, what did he know and when did he know it?! He was personally very well acquainted with Jack Moyer for years and knew of Moyer’s close ties to Japan’s imperial family. Both men were keen Japanologists and fluent in Nihongo. Ray Downs died a few years ago in Seattle, Washington after suffering a fatal stroke. One can almost feel sorry for the late headmaster’s now aged wife, Vicky Downs. She did so much to help students at ASIJ. Yet, like her husband, she must have kept mum about all the Moyer pedophile accusations and/or rumors. Headmaster Downs threatened to expel one frightened teenage victim when she reported Moyer’s sexual abuse. Downs was obviously covering for Moyer at that moment.
How many times did ASIJ faculty and staff turn a blind eye to Moyer’s suspected abuse, which left so many vulnerable children at risk? And these people call themselves “professional educators”?? Gimme a break. Do any of these ASIJ teachers and administrators, past and present, even begin to understand the depths of psychological, emotional, and physical pain a child suffers when sexually molested or raped? Do they understand that this very real pain can last a lifetime? These rape victims suffer severe depression, loss of self-esteem. Arrested emotional/sexual development can be another consequence of such abuse. Most are unable to experience any sexual joy or intimacy later in life. Many never get married. Tragically, in the worst case scenario, the victim commits suicide or becomes addicted to alcohol and drugs. This writer wonders how many of Moyer’s victims have never told anyone and never will tell anyone, such is the horrible hurt and shame they feel, but shouldn’t? To report or discuss such a traumatic childhood experience with an authority figure or a rape counselor, or to have to testify in a court of law about the rape is to relive the horror. Silence is the preferred coping mechanism for many young victims. Some children even blame themselves for the assault. The child victim has great difficulty ever trusting anyone again, even family members and relatives, after being sexually assaulted. The ASIJ girls raped by Moyer might have felt anger, anxiety, or sadness because their parents and other ASIJ teachers were unable or unwilling to protect them. ASIJ really failed these kids big time.
I admire these thirteen women who have chosen to speak publicly about their childhood ordeal. They have courage.
It’s obvious that many people connected to ASIJ were hoping that the Jack Moyer child sex abuse scandal would just vanish into the misty past, or that this public relations nightmare would just somehow go away. What, have these educators no regard for justice? I thought all patriotic Americans loved justice? Isn’t this the reason why the U.S. invaded Iraq? I know I’m being a bit unfair, but you know what I mean. It’s something of an understatement for ASIJ to now say to all the victim’s of Moyer’s decades long sexual predation: “We failed you and we should have done more”. It’s an apology, however so lame. Hopefully all of Moyer’s victims will finally be given the support and understanding that was denied them all those years ago.
Was including two Moyer photographs in that ASIJ centennial memorial book in 2003 an attempt at further cover up: “Gee, there’s the world renowned marine biologist Jack Moyer just having a wonderful day with his students, what memories”. In one photograph, the child rapist is seen posing with members of an ASIJ girls’ volleyball team about the year 1975! In the other photograph, he’s smiling at the camera while standing in the surf on Miyake island, circa 1980? By admitting to the cover up, ASIJ is saying that it knowingly included photographs of Moyer in that ASIJ souvenir book even though school officials knew at the time that he was a (suspected) child rapist! Good Lord, what the hell was Vicky Downs thinking? She selected the archival photographs featured in the book for publication. She certainly wasn’t senile in the year 2000. What’s her excuse?
What about all the other ASIJ staff who knew of Moyer’s pedophilic crimes? How horrified Moyer’s victims must have been when they received a copy of the book.
Suddenly I have a great deal more admiration for whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. It does take great moral courage to protest against criminal or unethical behavior. Moral cowardice might explain why Moyer wasn’t fired from ASIJ and arrested for his criminal behavior years ago? It does indeed look like ASIJ was doing everything possible to protect its reputation, that of a highly acclaimed international school. However, that reputation seems rather tainted or ‘dodgy’ right about now. Call it “The American School in a jam”. Most folks don’t know that an Australian math teacher was immediately fired when school officials learned that he had slapped a child across the head during a math class. The day after the incident he was told to gather his belongings and never return to the campus. This was around the year 1995. Again, why the Moyer cover up?
How can you possibly return someone’s lost childhood or innocence if that person was sexually abused on your watch? This is an impossiblity. Paying for the victim’s counseling fees is a ludicrous token gesture of atonement. Money won’t buy back the victim’s happiness either. The Catholic Church, which is probably the wealthiest religious institution in the world, has paid out tens-of-millions of dollars in compensation to the thousands of victims of its not so holy pedophile clergy over the past twenty or thirty years. I doubt, however, if any of the victims felt much better for the settlement offered them. Some might have used their new found ‘wealth’ to buy more drugs and/or booze to further numb the pain they endured in childhood.
Look at former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, he offered “Individual A” almost $4 million in hush money. Did he think that this would absolve him of his crimes? Buy him immunity? End his victim’s (victims’) pain? If there’s a God in Heaven, Hastert hasn’t begun to pay for his crimes and his sins. Nor has ASIJ and Jack Moyer.
ASIJ a criminal enterprise? Once it started covering up Moyer’s child sex abuse, it was aiding and abetting a criminal and obstructing justice. Notice too that ASIJ waited until the end of the academic year, when nearly all the students and their parents are away on summer holiday, to announce that it did indeed cover up Jack Moyer’s sex abuse for decades. Can’t admit something as shocking as this in the middle of the term, can we? I think I mentioned criminal and/or professional negligence in one of my past letters regarding the ASIJ cover up, didn’t I? You know, putting all those kids at risk year after year for nearly forty years! What was Ray Downs thinking? What was Peter Cooper thinking? What about the Board of Trustees? Who the hell can you trust these days?
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo suspected Moyer of unethical behavior. When he went to the embassy in the late 1990’s with his much younger Filipino wife in tow to apply for American citizenship for his children, who were born in the Philippines, the embassy official told him: “we cannot even begin to process your application until you provide us with DNA proof that these children are your biological offspring”. So much for Jack’s close ties to Japan’s Imperial family. Folks at the embassy weren’t very impressed. It was at this time that the suspected child rapist decided to seek Japanese citizenship.
Wow, I had no idea. Just learned about this tragedy today, saw a post by a friend of a friend who was O.G. of ASIJ on Facebook. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you who were affected by this animal. I did not attend ASIJ, they used to be a client, but have many friends who did and I hope they were not a victim and are just holding it inside.
Every school, church, organization *has* to expose types like Jack Moyer to prevent more damage. Children are gifts to us from God and nobody should ever be allowed to harm them but we know it happens. Nonetheless I have NO empathy for child molesters and I have little faith any can be truly rehabilitated.
I hope all of you, who were Moyer’s victims, stay strong, support one another and able to get good counseling to help you process what you went through…