June 15, 2015
Dear ASIJ Community,
We, the Thirteen Sisters, would like to thank ASIJ’s new board of directors and you, the ASIJ community, for all your support and hard work on our behalf.
As many of you know from the board’s letter and our accompanying statement to the ASIJ community on June 5, 2015, we met with members of the new board in Portland, Oregon, from May 31 to June 4. This meeting was not only the culmination of a decades-long battle by the survivors but also a watershed moment in ASIJ’s history. We want to extend an enormous thank you to current and former students, faculty, parents, and other members of the ASIJ community for your unwavering support in this battle. Your voices, letters, petitions, emails, and Facebook posts played a pivotal role in turning the tide, as you continued to pressure ASIJ to do the right thing. Without your efforts, what occurred in Portland—and what will occur in the years to come—would not have happened. We cannot thank you enough for that. We are also grateful to the attorneys and staff at Crew Janci law firm in Portland for their belief in our cause and their tenacious work. They, along with mediator Paul Finn, made this reconciliation a reality.
During the time we spent together in Portland, the new board members repeatedly demonstrated their determination to do the right thing in their words and actions. They treated us with honesty, dignity, and respect, all of which we had been previously denied. They made it clear there would be no more concealment and no more blaming of the victims or our attorneys. They showed us their commitment to trying to right the wrongs committed by Jack Moyer against us and others. They also acknowledged responsibility for the actions of former headmasters, principals, teachers, and others who ignored or rejected us and our reports of Jack Moyer’s sexual abuse.
The new board demonstrated its commitment to us in tangible ways. They spent many hours listening to our pain and frustrations and provided heartfelt and sincere apologies. They assured us that they believe us without reservation, that the evidence is clear that the school knew of Moyer’s decades of abuse, and that administrators’ denials of being notified are not credible. After enduring so many years of shame and silencing, this means more to us than words can convey.
Nor did they stop there. In addition to the substantive actions outlined in the board’s June 5 letter, we want to make sure you hear of the other steps they have taken and will continue to take in response to this tragedy as they work to prevent anything similar from happening to ASIJ children in the future. In particular, the new board is releasing the Ropes and Gray report, supplemented with our individual statements (edited to protect privacy), to fully convey the scope of Moyer’s abuse and the harm caused by more than forty years of failings from various administrations. Consistent with your demands and ours, the new board is instituting background checks, ongoing training, and new policies and procedures to help protect all current and future students at ASIJ. They have also created a task force on child safety and invited one of us to serve as a member. Although there is no amount that can ever adequately compensate a person for having to endure the horrors of childhood sexual abuse, the new board has provided compensation for what we suffered. And they have promised to pay past, present, and future counseling costs for any survivor of Jack Moyer’s abuse who seeks help.
In closing, we know this tragic chapter in ASIJ’s history can never be erased and must never be forgotten. What happened in Portland is only the start of the process, and continued vigilance is needed to protect all ASIJ children in the years to come. We are confident that the new board is committed to that goal. With your ongoing support and attentiveness, we will help to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. Thank you for all you have done for us—and for ASIJ.
Janet, Heather, Bonnie, Laura, Beth, Joanna, Tacey, Lynn, Lori, Martha, Jennifer, Ilee, & Gaylynn
The Thirteen Sisters