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School officials read a statement on Monday that they were ending the investigation.

Adams-Cheshire Closing Book on 40-Year-Old Sex Abuse Cases

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — School officials have ended an investigation into alleged sexual abuse committed by a former employee in the 1970s.

The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee read a prepared statement Monday stating that because no lawsuit has been filed against the district, the district has stopped its investigation.

"To date no suit has been filed against the district," Chairman Paul Butler said. "Since no claim or suit has been filed, the district's investigatory activities ceased and no report was prepared."

The allegations were raised in 2016 when the School Committee received a letter from an attorney representing two men who claimed to have been sexually abused by custodian Clement St. Hilaire in the mid-1970s at then Adams Memorial Middle School.

St. Hilaire was allowed to voluntarily terminate his employment in 1976. The Berkshire Eagle was contacted by one of the men nearly two years ago and last year wrote several articles about the alleged abuse, with at least seven men coming forward to say St. Hilaire had molested them. St. Hilaire, now in his 90s, had acknowledged to the paper he had abused the first two men named.

The statute of limitations for a criminal case was passed years age and expired or close to it for a civil complaint.

Butler noted that the letter also threatened that a lawsuit would be filed unless certain demands were met.

"In response, the district hired an attorney experienced in handling claims of sexual abuse," he said. "The demands were not met, and no suit has been filed by either of the two individuals."

After the initial claim, Butler said fewer than eight individuals contacted the district with similar stories of abuse regarding the former employee, in most cases anonymously. He said only four of those people spoke with district personnel and no legal action has been taken by those individuals either.

Butler closed his statement by saying the district did engage attorney Nancy Frankel Pelletier to provide advice in the event a claim was brought forward but her services were not needed.

"She was not hired nor asked to perform an investigation," he said. 

Tags: ACRSD,   sex abuse,   

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