Five former Moses Brown employees found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with students

PROVIDENCE – A year-long independent investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at Moses Brown School revealed that five former school employees engaged in such activity against students between the 1950s and early 2000s, the school announced Monday via a letter from Moses Brown Head of School Matt Glendinning and Board of Trustees Clerk Paul Salem.

The four-page letter states the Quaker school hired New York-based investigative firm T&M Protection Resources LLC to conduct an investigation after a Moses Brown alum reported that he was sexually abused by two teachers while a student during the 1960s. T&M Protection Resources received reports from 31 individuals, with some saying that they “experienced inappropriate behavior themselves; others said they had witnessed it, were told about by a survivor or simply heard rumors about it,” the letter reads.

The firm then spoke with 36 people about the incidents and subsequently reviewed school files, personnel and other resources in its investigation, the letter reads. T&M Protection Resources did not name four of the five alleged perpetrators due to “an overarching concern for protecting survivors’ identity” and promising confidentiality, the letter states.

  • Former teacher Basil Meserve – the lone individual named who has since died – engaged in sexual misconduct, inappropriate physical touching and other “boundary-crossing behavior” with “at least” nine students at the school between ages 13 and 19 between the 1950s and 1970s. The letter states the majority of witnesses did not report the behavior to school officials at the time and the inquiry found that one school employee “had reason to believe” Meserve had a sexual relationship with a senior in the 1960s but “did not report” the information.
  • Former “Employee A” engaged in similar conduct with at least three students in the 1960s between ages 13 and 17, the letter states, and two witnesses believe they “may have” discussed the employee’s misconduct with teachers at the time.
  • Former “Employee B” engaged in sexual misconduct with a student for “several years” from the time the student was 16 until “after the student’s graduation,” according to the results. “No information” was found to suggest Moses Brown was aware of the activity.
  • Former “Employee C” engaged in sexual misconduct once with a student, age 17 at the time, in the 1970s.
  • Former “Employee D” engaged in similar misconduct twice, once in the 1980s with sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old student. The other instance was in the late 1990s and early 2000s where the employee had “boundary-crossing behavior” that made at least one student “uncomfortable.” The employee was fired from the school after the head of school at the time learned the employee was engaged in sexual misconduct with the student, but the school did not report the issue because it was not required to as the student was “over the age of consent.”

In an apology, Glendinning and Salem wrote in the letter that no child at Moses Brown, or anywhere, “should ever experience such mistreatment, and words alone can’t describe the anger and sorrow that we feel in learning about past misconduct at our school.” The school also said that it had also reported the firm’s findings with state authorities. The investigators had “no reports” of sexual-misconduct allegations against current Moses Brown employees, the letter reads.

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Moses Brown, next year, will add staff to increase health and wellness teaching at both the middle and upper school in order to “better address complex issues” faced by children and adolescents, the letter reads. Counselors and a psychologist are also available to offer support.

Moses Brown also encourages those alleging other sexual misconduct at the school and wish to come forward to contact T&M Protection Services at either (646) 445-7707 or mosesbrown@tmprotection.com.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com.