Response to Reports of Abuse

 

Background

In October 2019, Grace Church School and Grace Church jointly engaged child protection specialists from Cozen O’Connor’s Institutional Response Group to conduct an independent, sensitive, trauma-informed investigation into a report of abuse from a 1997 graduate. Since then, the School and the Church have been responding to reports of sexual abuse involving multiple choir members and school graduates from the 1990s. Our Board of Trustees also partnered with the Vestry at Grace Church to establish an External Review Committee to evaluate the ways we ensure the safety of children at the School and Church today. In keeping with our commitment to transparency with our community, we have made available the full Cozen O'Connor Investigative Report, the Executive Summary of the Investigative Report, and the External Review Committee Report.
 
Over the past two years, we have sought to respond to these heartbreaking reports in a forthright manner, to act with integrity in our response, and to support health and healing in our communities. We deeply regret that the School and the Church failed to protect students entrusted to our care, for which we feel profound sorrow. The leadership of both the School and Church have committed to honoring the courage of the survivors by learning from past failures detailed in Cozen’s report and from the recommendations of the External Review Committee, working with diligence and integrity to ensure that the well-being of Grace’s students is held sacred and protected. 

Grace Church School Today

Grace Church School is a different place from the environment of more than 20 years ago. We have implemented safeguards designed to detect and prevent predatory behaviors, including protocols and reporting systems, background checks for all new hires, and training that exceeds what is currently mandated by law. We are confident in our current program, in our cooperative relationship with Grace Church, and in the many ways both School and Church promote the safety and well-being of our students. In addition, in recent years we have expanded the scope of the student Health & Wellness Curriculum as well as parent education opportunities around healthy relationships, consent, and preventing and recognizing signs of misconduct or abuse. You can read more about the current policies, safeguards, and curriculum that promote safety, wellbeing, and healthy boundaries here.

Support for Survivors

The Board has committed to allocating resources toward the establishment of a therapy fund about which they will be sharing additional information soon.


Reporting Misconduct

We encourage anyone with information pertaining to child abuse or sexual misconduct at the Church or School to contact Leslie Gomez at Cozen O’Connor (lgomez@cozen.com or 215-665-5546), or Robbie Pennoyer (rpennoyer@gcschool.org or 212-475-5610, ext. 8104), local law enforcement, or child protective services.
© 2022 Grace Church School
Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.