Commitment to Student Safety
Trinity-Pawling School has a responsibility to effectively protect our students and serve our community in accordance with the highest standards of care and integrity. We have a solemn duty to all students, alumni, and parents to live up to the trust they have placed in us, be good stewards of the institution in service of our entire alumni community and society as a whole, and ensure that our practices adequately reflect these commitments. Most importantly, we want to ensure that students today and in the future feel – and are – safe at Trinity-Pawling.
A critical component of these efforts is to identify, understand, and address any past instances of adult-student sexual misconduct at the School, whenever they may have occurred.
In 2017, after learning new information about past incidents of adult-student sexual misconduct that occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s, Trinity-Pawling School retained Sanghavi Law Office, LLC – a Boston-based investigative law firm experienced in working with schools – to conduct an independent investigation of prior incidents, how they were investigated and addressed at the time, and to follow those facts wherever they may lead.
Sanghavi was given unrestricted authority and discretion in conducting the investigation, including determining the criteria for corroborating allegations of abuse. Sanghavi had access to Trinity-Pawling’s records, as well as to current and former personnel, to support this investigation. Sanghavi had full discretion and authority over findings of fact and the determinations set forth in the report – we are pleased that they shared our acute focus on protecting the identities of the victims.
We apologize for the pain and turmoil that the survivors have suffered over many years. The School extends its gratitude to those individuals who participated in this investigation for their strength and willingness to share their stories. Our hope is that this report serves as an opportunity for transparent institutional self-reflection and education.
The investigation concluded with the release of a public report on February 21, 2020.
This report weighs heavily on all those who care about Trinity-Pawling. It is the School’s profound hope that we will be able to rebuild the bonds of trust among the School community – past, present, and future. It is the School’s greatest responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of the students entrusted to our care.
Setting Higher Standards - Protecting Students Today
Trinity-Pawling must always cultivate a safe and nurturing environment and continue to earn the trust of Trinity-Pawling students, parents, and alumni. To that end, in June 2016 we adopted and communicated enhanced policies and operating procedures, which we remain committed to regularly reviewing and updating whenever we see room for improvement. These include:
- In addition to at-hire and ad hoc training, faculty and staff are formally trained on a yearly basis on our policy against sexual contact and appropriate boundaries with students, as well as the consequences for violating that policy;
- The School has a hotline where anonymous reports can be made of any inappropriate or unethical behavior. This hotline is posted in all dormitories and other prominent places on campus; and,
- We have written a new protocol for investigating and reporting any future violations to ensure that our actions are thorough, fair, and fully documented.
- The School adopted a Code of Conduct in the fall of 2017 that all faculty, staff, and students receive annually and are expected to adhere to at all times.
Counseling Support for Survivors
Trinity-Pawling School has partnered with RAINN, the nation’s largest anti sexual violence organization, to assist alumni who were the victims of sexual misconduct during their time at the School with financial assistance for therapy or counseling costs. Any survivor seeking counseling support can be assured that RAINN maintains strict confidentiality and will not share their name or any other details with the School, unless required by New York State Law. Please be aware, cases of current abuse of a minor may need to be reported to law enforcement and the School.
The School has committed to provide our alumni, defined as any student that either attended and/or graduated from Trinity-Pawling School, with reimbursement for current and/or past therapy costs related to sexual misconduct by a School staff member during their time at the School, up to a lifetime maximum of $10,000 USD.
The Fund will cover both current and/or past therapy sessions by a licensed, qualified mental health professional, with a master’s degree or higher. Provided here is a list of covered therapies that have been demonstrated to be effective for survivors of sexual abuse.
An independent, Third-Party Claims Administrator, who will maintain the anonymity of any victim, will work with RAINN to review any claims and process approved payments to therapists or as reimbursement.
All inquiries and financial assistance/reimbursement requests are anonymous to Trinity-Pawling School.
For further information you can:
- Contact the Trinity-Pawling School Therapy Fund dedicated hotline number hosted by RAINN at 1-833-521-0874. This service is available Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM -5:00 PM ET (excluding federal holidays and RAINN closures).
- Review our list of FAQs.
- For immediate crisis intervention, information and resources available 24/7, contact RAINN at 800-656-HOPE or hotline.rainn.org.
The report relies on the participation of the Trinity-Pawling community and we welcome other students, parents, or alumni to continue coming forward with information as they feel comfortable. We will continue to examine Trinity-Pawling’s past in an effort to discover and appropriately address any and all instances of sexual misconduct. To that end, if you have knowledge of misconduct of any kind that occurred at Trinity-Pawling, we would encourage you to share that information through any channel that you prefer:
- Contact Head of School Bill Taylor directly through office phone 845-855-4801 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Use Trinity-Pawling's EthicsPoint Hotline, our highly confidential, anonymous reporting portal hosted by Navex;
- Contact independent investigative counsel from Sanghavi Law Office, LLC directly – Elizabeth Sanghavi can be reached by email email@example.com or phone 617-505-3010, and Trina Ingelfinger also can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 617-505-3012.