Former Gow School student recalls abuse in light of new allegations

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(WIVB)–An Ohio man is speaking out about the sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a teacher at the Gow School in the Southtowns. Several former students are now suing the school over claims of sexual abuse.

“It became so much shame that I could not speak about it.”

Aaron Worby, a former student of the Gow School in South Wales recalls his time with an English teacher who Worby says gained his trust, and then sexually assaulted him. Worby says he had just confided to the teacher he is gay.

“I liked guys and it was really just a scary situation and he befriended me, so I felt comfortable. That very night he snuck into my room and he also raped me.”

Worby said he was in the 8th grade at Gow, and while he shared his ordeal with a friend, he never reported it to school officials then. But Worby would later report his experience to school officials, which led to an internal investigation conducted by the Hodgson Russ law firm.

The final report released in March detailed Testimony from 12 individuals, including 10 former students and found two former staffers had been convicted of sex-related charges, after leaving the Gow School.

The investigator determined school officials had not been apprised of any prior abusive activity and “having spoken with the reporters, as well as many other former students and faculty, no patterns of misconduct or systemic failures were alleged.”

Attorneys say former students are coming forward now.

” I just think it is important for victims to come forward–for survivors to come forward–and that we hold these schools accountable, and it is a problem,” said attorney Robert Greenstein.

Late Tuesday afternoon, attorney Hugh Russ, of Hodgson Russ, released a statement on behalf of The Gow School saying in part, “Misconduct in any form has no place at Gow. School leaders, faculty, and staff are trained in policies and protocol that assure a safe, inclusive, and a healthy environment.”

Read the full statement below:

First, Gow takes allegations such as these seriously. Misconduct in any form has no place at Gow. The school’s leaders, faculty and staff continue to be vigilant, trained and aware of all policies and protocols to assure a safe, inclusive and healthy living and learning environment.”

“Second, Gow undertook an investigation into allegations of historical misconduct in 2019 on its own initiative and before any litigation commenced. As a result of that investigation, which followed national best practices, on March 27, 2020, Gow released a report based on the year-long, independent investigation of sexual abuse allegations from 18-plus years ago. That report was thorough and conclusive and the school transparently recounted its findings to the Gow community and the public.”

“Today, we want to praise the graduates and other reporters who came forward to tell their stories, and we have apologized to them and the Gow community for what they went through. The report found no systemic administrative coverup or ignoring of abuse allegations. In fact, it found that the individuals involved had not reported these incidents to school leaders at the time.”

“Nothing uncovered in this investigation occurred after 2002, and most of the findings related to the 1990s. Gow is a very different school today with faculty and students well trained and informed of proper boundaries and awareness in this realm.”

“While neither Gow nor its counsel were invited to the press conference today and therefore are uncertain as to the content, Gow takes these matters seriously and will continue through the litigation process. It is significant to note, however, that Gow has spent months requesting additional information from plaintiffs’ counsel regarding alleged witnesses and other information, and plaintiffs’ counsel has wholly failed to respond.”

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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