To the Lawrence Academy Community,
We are writing to update you on the status of the investigation of sexual misconduct perpetrated by Peter Regis, a former Lawrence Academy employee who worked for the Buildings and Grounds department from 1988-2001. As explained in our earlier letters from May, 2018 and July, 2018, the school retained Sanghavi Law Office, outside attorneys experienced in investigating sexual misconduct at schools, to help us gain a more complete understanding of the nature and circumstances of the events reported so that we can better address both prevention and response. More specifically, Sanghavi Law Office was tasked to receive any further reports about Mr. Regis and conduct independent fact-finding to determine both the extent of his misconduct and the nature of how the school responded at the time. The school also directed the investigators to prepare a written report of their findings that would be shared with the LA community. The investigation is now concluded. The Lawrence Academy Board of Trustees has reviewed and accepted the investigators’ findings and authorized public release of their report.
The Sanghavi Report can be accessed through a link at the bottom of this letter, where you may also find access to our previous communications to the community—all of which can also be accessed directly on our website.
The Sanghavi Report describes in detail the investigative process, findings of fact, and conclusions resulting from the investigation. As noted in the report, the investigators had the full cooperation of Lawrence Academy, including access to all records, files, and personnel of the school (current and former faculty, staff and administrators) in conducting their investigation and arriving at their findings. The investigators engaged with all persons who came forward to participate in the investigation. The investigators also attempted to interview anyone likely to have helpful information relevant to the allegations of former students who participated in the investigation. With respect to the written report, the words and findings are those of the investigators alone. In all matters, we are assured that Sanghavi Law Office was professional and thorough in its approach. Consequently, we are confident in their findings and report.
The report concludes that, over a period of several years in the early 1990s, Mr. Regis engaged in sexual misconduct with four students who participated in the investigation. School records indicate that, in addition, Mr. Regis engaged in sexual misconduct with two other students during the same time period who chose not to participate in the investigation. Only these last two instances of misconduct were reported to school officials near the time of their occurrence, both simultaneously in 1994. There is no indication of any other sexual misconduct by Mr. Regis occurring after the school responded to the 1994 reports. The investigation found that the preponderance of the evidence was sufficient to find that Mr. Regis exposed himself to students and initiated inappropriate contact with students. The specific descriptions and circumstances involved in these findings of fact are detailed in the report.
These actions are deplorable, and we apologize sincerely and unconditionally for them. We recognize the harm that abuse can cause survivors and the larger community. The school did not do enough to prevent such harm and to protect the students in its care. Though the school did take some corrective actions when two incidents were originally brought forward in 1994, those actions were too limited to provide the care and protection our students deserve. The report also identifies certain factors in the school environment at the time that may have allowed the misconduct described in the report’s findings to occur and go unreported. Those factors should have been addressed and remedied even before abuse was first reported. In addition, in our view the school did not do enough to help those victims of Mr. Regis who came forward, discover whether there were other victims, or ensure that there would be no future victims of Mr. Regis, and we apologize for those failures.
Some elements of the school’s response in 1994 were appropriate. As the report details, the administration met with the students involved, communicated with the families involved, and reported the matter—as required by law—to the state agency now known as the Department of Children and Families. In addition, the school put in place corrective actions, including a prohibition on Mr. Regis working again with students. Nevertheless, the administration did not end his employment, remove him from campus, document his misconduct, or monitor his compliance with the employment restrictions. There should be maximum vigilance and protection for students at our school and zero tolerance for adults who use their power and position to manipulate or harm children. The failure of the school to prioritize student safety at that time was wrong.
We express our sincere gratitude for the strength and courage of the former students who came forward to provide information for this important investigation. These are painful, sensitive issues. Out of a deep commitment to the young people in our care, we redouble our commitment to prevent and respond to any such experiences with the highest sense of responsibility, urgency, and sympathy for our students.
The findings of the Sanghavi Report underscore the imperative for strong policies, protocols, and practices to ensure the well-being of the young people in our community. We have an ethical duty of care that is fundamental to our mission and to our identity as a school that promotes health and positive growth for students. We invite you to review here a description of current practices around issues of sexual misconduct and reporting: REPORTING PROTOCOLS
Several specific protocols are worth highlighting both to describe our goals and to facilitate reporting for the protection of our students:
- We have in place multiple channels of reporting possible misconduct, including internal, external, and anonymous mechanisms. We encourage members of the community to utilize public safety or 911 in any situation in which safety and security are immediately threatened.
- Our Student Life office sets proactive conduct standards and provides age-appropriate programming on threats to student safety and well-being, including sexual misconduct.
- We actively invite concerns through the mechanisms described above and through regular discussion with both students and employees around any issues of conduct that could be harmful or inappropriate, whether amongst students or between students and adults.
- We have dramatically enhanced our training for faculty and staff on professional conduct and appropriate and healthy boundaries, and we continue to seek improved modes of training as they are developed. We want our vigilance and practice to be continuous, not merely periodic.
- Beyond our own oversight, we regularly engage with local law enforcement and have had in place since 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding which obligates us to report any potential criminal matter, including sexual misconduct, to local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office.
Sanghavi Report (PDF)
The Board of Trustees and administration of Lawrence Academy will use the insights gained from this investigation to deepen our commitment to a safe environment with improved standards and procedures that will protect against events like these happening again. We will continue our outreach to victims to promote healing and health in our community. We actively invite conscientious reporting of any concern and promise decisive action in response. To assure continued vigilance and communication in putting the safety and interests of students always first, please refer to the protocols and procedures for reporting linked again here: REPORTING PROTOCOLS.
As identified in these guidelines, the following trustees and members of the administration also stand ready to address questions and concerns
- Head of School, Dan Scheibe (firstname.lastname@example.org),
- Assistant Head of School, Libby Margraf (email@example.com)
- President of the Board of Trustees, Bruce MacNeil (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Trustee, Barbara Brammer (email@example.com)
Dan Scheibe, Head of School
Bruce MacNeil, President, Board of Trustees