After decades of ignoring the fact that some students at a prestigious school in Hawaii had been sexually abused by a local psychiatrist, officials have decided to pay off former students to the tune of $80 million.
Kamehameha School in Honolulu, Hawaii, receives billions of dollars a year in endowments, according to a report in Fox News, but school officials were accused of covering up sexual abuse by psychiatrist Robert Browne from 1958 to 1985.
The Washington Post reported that for nearly thirty years, students who displayed signs of behavioral problems were taken to see the psychiatrist or risk expulsion.
According to Fox:
Students were then driven to Browne’s office at St. Francis Hospital by teachers where they say they were drugged and sexually assaulted. In court documents, students said he would psychologically “torment” them during “weekend sleepovers” in his home.”
The lawsuit stated a handful of students came forward to school officials regarding the abuse, but were told to remain quiet and nothing was done.
The psychiatrist killed himself in 1991, one day after one of his many victims, Emmett Lee Loy, addressed him about the abuse, Hawaii News Now reported.
The $80 million settlement will go to the 34 plaintiffs named in the suit who accused the school of “failing to protect them and covering up years of abuse.”
On Thursday, Jack Wong, the school’s CEO, apologized to the victims.
“No one was prepared for the horrific revelation that our precious haumāna (students) were secretly abused and physically and emotionally traumatized from 1962-1984 by Dr. Robert Browne, Chief of Psychiatry at St. Francis Hospital. And, after abuses were reported, not nearly enough was done. … Kamehameha Schools is deeply and truly sorry,” he said.
“The school was covering up what a lawsuit brought by 32 of those former students described as ‘decades of monstrous sexual abuse’ perpetrated largely against male boarders who were entirely in the care of Kamehameha.” https://t.co/f3m8kV02nM via @washingtonpost
— Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@michellebvd) February 16, 2018