Gow School confirms it is investigating claim of sexual misconduct by former instructor

Jun 5, 2019

The Gow School, an institution which provides a learning and boarding environment for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities, confirmed Wednesday it is investigating a claim by a former student that a former teacher engaged in sexual misconduct more than 25 years ago.

The unidentified student came forward with information back in February, according to a statement issued by the Gow School. The former teacher is also unidentified.

A view of the Gow School's dining hall in 2012.
Credit WBFO file photo/provided by Gow School

Headmaster M. Bradley Rogers Jr. and board President John Bullock co-signed a letter which was sent to parents of current students and also to alumni.

Part of that letter reads: "We take this report seriously and we commend the former student for coming forward with difficult revelations.

"As you’ve no doubt read and seen, no institution seems immune to these terrible reports of adults taking advantage of young people and abusing our most vulnerable. Now Gow faces this difficult subject. We want to state clearly that misconduct has no place at Gow. As institutional stewards, we continue to be vigilant to assure a safe and healthy living and learning environment at Gow."

The Gow School, located in South Wales, New York, enrolls 150 students, grades 6 to 12, from 27 states and 17 countires and provides room and board for many of those students. It was founded in 1926.

Attorney Julia Hilliker of Buffalo law firm Hodgson Russ is investigating the claim on behalf of the school and, according to Wednesday's announcement, has reviewed faculty and student personnel files in relation to the alleged misconduct.

WBFO spoke with Hilliker, who declined to be interviewed but confirmed she is the point of contact for any other Gow alumni who may also be victims.

The school, in its letter, acknowledges the possibility that more victims may be out there.

As stated in the letter: "As we know from other schools and organizations that investigated past allegations of misconduct, those who abuse rarely do so once and never again. Thus, we have reason to believe that there could be other allegations of misconduct that we are not aware of.

"We want to emphasize to current families, students, faculty and staff that Gow is a significantly different school than it was in the 1990s and prior. Professional boundaries are our highest priority at Gow and are part of our regular dialogue with students and teachers. Our Student and Family Handbook, our employment rules and our community culture all speak to and enforce protecting the health and safety of students and staff. This is our first priority and we pledge to you that will not change.

"Throwing open the door to any past misconduct is our direct way of confronting brutal facts. We plan to meet our commitment to all alumni and former students."