Ex-students file sexual abuse suit against boarding school

Fessenden School abuse allegations

BOSTON (AP/WPRI) — Two former Massachusetts boarding school students who say they were sexually abused by employees in the 1960s and 1970s have filed a lawsuit.

John Sweeney says he was drugged and raped in his dorm room by then-assistant headmaster Arthur Clarridge when he was 11 years old at the Fessenden School.

Sweeney told reporters Monday that he wants Fessenden to “come out and tell the truth.”

Clarridge denied Sweeney’s accusation in a 2016 Boston Globe story. He died last month at the age of 90.

More than a dozen others who say they were abused by Fessenden employees between 1963 and 1997 have settled with the school.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian said he’s settled 16 of those claims, each of which were in the low six-figure dollar amount.

“The sexual abuse at The Fessenden School was and might still be as unchecked and harmful as the sexual abuse at any other private school,” Garabedian said in a statement Monday. “Effective safeguards must be put in place to end the criminal acts related to the wholesale sexual abuse of children.”

The Fessenden School said in a statement that it has worked “to openly, honestly, and compassionately approach claims of abuse by former students.”

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