One of Houston's most elite prep schools is now investigating decades-old allegations of sexual abuse involving four former faculty members and its students.
In an e-mail sent to parents and alumni, The Kinkaid School said the investigation found four faculty members engaged in sexual misconduct between the late 1960s and early 1990s. Three of the four were fired when school officials learned of the misconduct, the fourth was fired for something else. It's not clear yet if the police were ever notified, but the school's investigation is ongoing.
A Kinkaid representative told FOX 26 the school was first alerted of one of the inappropriate teacher-student relationships after an alumni anonymously reported the allegations in an survey that's sent to alumni every five years or so.
FOX 26 senior legal analyst Chris Tritico said the potential legal implications of this case depends on which law the courts decide to use. For one, the statute of limitations could vary. Tritico said the law has changed for civil cases.
"In 2015, the legislature changed the statute of limitations to 15 years after they turn 18, or until they’re 33 years old. It may not affect a lot of these cases because of the age of these cases, in which case you have to go back to the old law," Tritico said.
"For criminal cases, if they are going to charge any of these teachers with a crime the statute of limitations is 10 years after the child’s 18th birthday, or until they’re 28," Tritico added.
At this point, a lot remains unknown like how many victims were involved and how many times the sexual misconduct could have happened over that nearly 30 year span the accused teachers were employed at Kinkaid.
Victims' advocate and former prosecutor Ann Johnson said the resurfacing of these alleged, inappropriate teacher-student relationships decades later, is not uncommon.
"The common thing I see with victims is once they start to see their victimization and they realize that they were not wrong, that a person in a position of power had abused them or taken advantage of them-- when that clicks for them and sometimes it takes a lot of time for them to recognize they were a victim, I think the strongest will is they don’t want this to happen to others," Johnson said.
Johnson also stressed the importance for other victims to continue coming forward with their stories of abuse, and said anyone who feels like they may have been victimized, no matter how long ago, should seek help and counseling.
Kinkaid officials also said the school is confident after further investigation that the current school climate is safe.
The school has also hired private investigators and attorneys to help with this case.
The letter said in part, "We encourage any member of the Kinkaid community who experienced or observed sexual misconduct during their time at Kinkaid to contact the School's investigators. The investigators, Laura Kirschstein and Julie Freudenheim at T&M Protection Resources, may be contacted directly at KinkaidSchool@tmprotection.com or (646) 445-7544, and they will hear any individual's concerns with the utmost respect and discretion."
The school is also offering help for anyone that’s concerned.