ANDOVER (CBS) – A former student at the prestigious Pike School in Andover claims he was sexually abused and raped two decades ago by a then 50-year-old teacher that a lawsuit calls a “serial abuser.”
The student, now 34 years old, alleges in a 21-page lawsuit that the teacher Judith Elefante (Judith Chapell at the time) began having sex with him when he was 15 and in the ninth grade.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports
The relationship continued when the former Pike student, known as “John Doe” went to the private Groton School.
“It was so special you fell for it,” he said at a press conference at the office of his attorney Carmen Durso.
Sixteen defendants are named in the suit including Elefante, three former Pike School administrators, the Groton School and 10 of its administrators and teachers. The plaintiff says the teacher showered him with cards and letters that progressed to professions of love, all on display in Durso’ office.
Cards expressed sentiments such as: “Sharing my life with you,” and “to never again be without you.” He says he believed it, thinking he would one day marry Elefante, and she allegedly made sure he never told.
“Every single threat and dirty trick you can use to keep something quiet she used,” he said, including threats to harm herself, or make public that the relationship was consensual.
He says the relationship continued after Pike to the Groton School which he entered in tenth grade where she would often visit him and have sex in his dorm room. According to the suit John didn’t understand that he was being abused for the teacher’s sexual pleasure or that he had been harmed by this conduct until two years ago.
“Defendant Elefante did everything possible to convince John that they were engaging in a normal sexual relationship, despite the disparity in their ages,” the lawsuit alleges.
He now says the relationship has left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, and with difficulty holding a job and relationships.
“To spend most of your adult life wondering what you did wrong, and then finally figure out it wasn’t you, that’s a pretty significant thing to come to terms with,” he said.
He says he came forward now because he believes there are other victims.
In an e-mail released by Durso, the head of Pike School claims they fired Elefante two years ago when allegations of her involvement with the student came to light. John Doe claims they did nothing to reach out to other victims until he threatened with a lawsuit.