Late Thursday afternoon, we received a call from the Reformer informing us of abuse allegations stemming from the 1960s, and‘70s. It was the first time we had heard specifics about allegations from these years, and we were given no time to respond. That was in no way indicative of us having nothing to say. We take these allegations extremely seriously. We have served children at the Kurn Hattin Homes for more than 125 years. It is our mission to provide a safe and supportive haven for children with troubled lives. The thought that any of our children who came to us for refuge suffered abuse while in our care is both horrific and heartbreaking. Even though much of the alleged abuse happened over 40 years ago, no matter when they come forward, survivors should be commended for their courage for doing so. And just like any child in our care, they deserve our support and to be heard. If any child suffered at the hands of someone at the Homes, I am profoundly sorry.
We have been made aware of two separate groups of students alleging abuse at the Homes. We were aware of a group from the 1980s because the abuser was identified, convicted, and incarcerated in 1991. We fully investigated the incidents at the time, felt confident we knew the full scope, and are working to put that sickening chapter behind us. We were not aware of these additional, new allegations. Given that most of the new alleged incidents occurred as much as 50 to 60 years ago, it is difficult to ascertain what happened, especially since most of the Homes’ leaders from that time are no longer alive.
I’ve only served as Executive Director of the Homes for the past five years, but I am proud to be part of a team that cares for these children so much. Regardless of the constraints, I am asking our Board of Trustees to engage an independent external review. We plan to fully investigate these claims, and even though they allegedly happened 30 to 60 years ago, we vow to do all we can to uncover the truth, and if need be, help the survivors find the peace they seek and deserve.