Southeastern PA

Ex-student sues boarding school amid grand jury sex probe

PHILADELPHIA - A 29-year-old woman is suing a Pennsylvania boarding school weeks after a grand jury report detailed a half-century of sexual abuse there.

The "Jane Doe" accuser says the Solebury School failed to act when it learned the athletic director became sexually involved with her senior year.

The woman says the relationship with Lyle Hazel continued for years and left her unable to finish college.

Hazel was later fired for embezzlement. A phone listing for him could not be found Friday.

The grand jury report describes nine adults who sexually abused students at the Bucks County school, but only "Jane Doe" can still file suit.

She does not want to pursue criminal charges.

Hazel invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer grand jury questions about the relationship.

Tom Wilschutz, Head of Solebury School, provided the following statement on the filing of litigation:

“Because this matter is now before the court, I won’t be providing any further information about this case, which was filed on behalf of one of the former students referenced in the recent report from the Bucks County Investigating Grand Jury.

This former student, who graduated in 2005, came forward in response to the letter in 2014 <http://www.solebury.org/about/a-letter-to-the-community> from Solebury School where we asked any student with any allegation or concerns to report it either to the school or the District Attorney.

I have not reviewed the filing at this point. I and the members of the faculty, administration and staff at Solebury School have made extensive efforts since my arrival as Head in 2008 to strengthen our policies, procedures and training to ensure our students gain all of the benefits of a Solebury education in a safe and protective atmosphere.

That is our top priority and we are vigilant in following those policies and looking for additional areas of improvement.

The School’s Board of Trustees has been fully supportive of these efforts. As I have said previously, we strive to move forward with openness and integrity for the victims of abuse, for our entire community and for this institution that we care for so deeply.”

 


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