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Link to teacher named in Key School sex abuse report launches investigation at St. Albans in D.C.

Link to teacher named in Key School sex abuse report launches investigation at St. Albans in D.C.
A former teacher who was accused of sexual misconduct at Annapolis’ Key School has prompted an investigation at St. Albans School, a private school for boys in Washington, D.C., school officials said in a statement. (Courtesy photo / Dan Harris)

A private school in Washington, D.C., has launched an investigation into “alleged adult misconduct” by teachers after one former member of the faculty was identified in a probe of sexual abuse at Key School.

St. Albans School said in a statement sent to families Monday that the late Vaughan Keith was a teacher in the 1980s. Before that, he taught English and foreign languages at Key School but was “let go” in the late-1970s after a parent saw him holding hands with a student, according to a report made public by Key.

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Jason F. Robinson, the headmaster at the all-boys school, said he became aware of Keith’s alleged misconduct at Key in August. Since then, he said school officials have reached out to members of the St. Albans community for more information.

School officials said nothing has come to their attention that suggests Keith engaged in “improper behavior” with students during his time at St. Albans, but there have been “firsthand accounts of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct by former St. Albans teachers.”

Keith was identified as a perpetrator of sexual misconduct by an investigation made public by Key School last week. The report detailed years of unchecked sexual abuse and misconduct of students by teachers that started in the 1970s and lasted until the 1990s.

Keith died at the age of 40 in 1990, officials said.

St. Albans announced Monday it will launch an investigation of its own. Robert Musslewhite, chair of the school’s governing board, and Robinson said they have retained Washington law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

There is no evidence that suggests any sexual misconduct of current St. Albans students, officials said.

“Rather, as a church school with a moral mission and a commitment to excellence in all that we do, we have an obligation to seek the fullest possible understanding of our past, to reckon honestly with both our successes and shortcomings, and to learn from our history for the benefit of current and future generations of St. Albans students,” said the school’s leaders in a statement.

Key School retained independent investigators from Baltimore law firm Kramon & Graham for its investigation. The investigation lasted eight months.

Keith was one of 10 adults in authority positions who engaged in sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships with Key students from the 1970s through the 1990s, according to Kramon & Graham’s investigation. He taught at the school from 1972 until 1976.

Two former Key School students told investigators they had “sexual relationships” with Keith. The teacher also allegedly regularly hosted parties that involved students and teachers.

The student who was seen holding Keith’s hand said no one from Key’s faculty, administration or Board of Trustees asked her about what happened or “inquired about her emotional state.”She went on to college, but dropped out during her freshman year. She told investigators she was in an “alcoholic” state.

Former Key School students and employees have described a “culture of silence” that masked decades of sexual abuse. At least 16 students were subjected to that abuse, investigators said.

St. Albans School leaders said they will work with National Cathedral School, a nearby private school for girls, to “maintain channels through which students can report misconduct, to hear and support student concerns, and to review thoroughly any information brought forward.”

The schools will also coordinate educational programming surrounding healthy relationships, said leaders at St. Alban’s school in a statement.

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“As society continues to reckon with sexual harassment and misconduct, it is clear that we as schools must equip our young men and women with the moral resources to build a better future,” officials said.

School leaders said they hope to provide an update on the investigation by the end of the school year.

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