A former teacher at the Potomac School in McLean may have sexually abused 26 school children over two decades, according to an investigation ordered by the school, The Washington Post reported Monday.
The teacher in question, Christopher Kloman, now in his 70s, pled guilty to molesting at least five girls in the 1960s and 1970s, and was sentenced last year to 43 years in prison.
On Friday, the day the report was made public, The Potomac School sent a letter to to family and alumni to explain the findings of the investigation, according to several news reports.
In the letter, the school offered "a sincere and heartfelt apology to the victims as well as their families and friends" and said that the school "failed" to safeguard students.The current head of school reacted, in a letter to the Post, to the new allegations: “I am both grieved and outraged by what they experienced,” John Kowalik wrote of the victims. “It is extremely troubling to learn that [s]chool leaders were aware of even one allegation of abuse and did not move forcefully to protect our students.”
The investigation by the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm included interviews with 240 members of the school community, the Post reported. The report shows that many in the school community were told about the allegations, which range from rape to inappropriate touching. Kloman was reportedly sent twice in the '70s for counseling but reportedly nothing more.
The girls, who were 12-14 years old at the time, had attended the school.
Now in their 50s, five of the victims were in the courtroom as Kloman was sentenced, according to multiple news reports.
High-profile attorney Gloria Allred, part of the legal team for he victims, spoke out after the sentencing.
"During that time he used his position of trust and power to sexually molest girls. In one case he even raped a girl," she said, according to WTOP. "His sexual abuse and exploitation of them has left many of them with long-lasting and deep emotional scars."
Kloman had addressed the victims before sentencing, WTOP reported.
"None of you deserved what I did," he said.
Detectives launched a year-long investigation into Kloman after one of those students reported in November 2011 she was molested by the teacher about 43 years ago, when she was a 12-year-old student at the school.
Kloman was one of her elementary school teachers, the woman said. Detectives say she first reported the incident to the Washington Episcopal School, when "she ran into him and saw that he was teaching children."
Detectives say Kloman taught at the Potomac School between 1965 and 1994, before teaching across Maryland. He worked as a substitute teacher there until the investigation began, according to police.