A Response to the ASIJ Board’s April 2, 2015 Community Update

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.

With Hope,

Thirteen ASIJ Sisters

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