Horace Mann teacher molested prep student 450 times, according to lawsuit

Posted at 7:14 PM, Mar 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-21 23:05:49-04

A former student at one well-known Bronx prep school is suing the school claiming he was sexually abused more than 400-times while he was a student.

After a scathing report last year revealed claims of sexual abuse that spanned decades, another student has come forward claiming he too was sexually abused, and now he’s suing the school for failing to stop it from happening.

It’s been ranked among the best academic high schools in the entire country.
But since last June allegations of sexual abuse, first reported by the New York Times, have cast a shadow over the academic achievement at Horace Mann.
Despite the controversy, many thought the statute of limitations for most, if not all of the cases had run out.

Now one former student suing the Riverdale prep school claims he was sexually abused more than 400 times during the 1970’s.
Unlike many of the other students, the unidentified plaintiff claims most of his abuses took place in New Jersey where the statute of limitation laws are much more liberal.

Rosemarie Arnold is representing the former student, identified only as John Doe.
Arnold says, during his teenage years, her client was sexually abused by music teacher Johannes Somary.
She says her client was unaware he was being abused until he learned of the allegations from other students revealed by the Times report.

“Until that time my client believed that he was Somary’s soul-mate, that he was Somary’s true love, and that he was Somary’s one and only.”

Arnold says what’s worse is that the school could have prevented her client’s abuse.
She says years before her client became a victim, another student came forward with similar claims against Somary, but was turned away by the administration.

“The headmaster told him not to spread rumors and just to forget about it.  They swept it under the rug and, because of that, Somary was able then to abuse my client and I understand other students as well.”

Somary died in 2011, but now the student is suing Somary’s estate, Horace Mann, and former headmasters.

PIX11 reached out to the school for comment but they did not return the phone calls.
However, last year, after the hearing about the allegations, current headmaster Thomas Kelly released a statement saying the school was “deeply concerned”, but that it was “not in a position to comment on the events involving former and, in some cases, now-deceased, faculty members.”  The statement goes on to say that the school has “The safety, security and well-being of the children […] at the core of everything we do.”

In the lawsuit, Arnold, the lawyer for the unidentified student, points out Horace Mann’s motto which translates to “great is the truth, and it prevails”. She says she’s confident the motto will ring true as this lawsuit plays out.