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Milton Academy officials disclose abuse by four former employees decades ago

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Four former employees of the prestigious Milton Academy engaged in sexual misconduct with students decades ago, including a drama teacher who abused at least 12 male students before he was fired in 1987, school officials disclosed Tuesday.

The drama teacher, Rey Buono, moved to Southeast Asia the year after he was fired and has worked at theater companies and schools there since then, according to his LinkedIn profile, which says he currently works as a freelance director. He directed the theater program in Milton Academy’s upper school from 1973 to 1987.

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Milton Academy disclosed the sexual misconduct involving the former employees following a nine-month investigation by a consulting firm. The school wrote in a letter to the community that it has reported the allegations to “appropriate officials and law enforcement agencies,’’ including, in the case of Buono, immigration authorities.

“Several decades ago this institution failed to protect some of the young people in its care,’’ wrote school head Todd Bland and Lisa Donahue, president of the board of trustees. “On behalf of Milton Academy and its board of trustees, we want to acknowledge and deeply apologize for those failures.”

The consulting firm, T&M Protection Resources, a security consultant based in New York City, began its investigation shortly after the Globe Spotlight Team in May published the first in a series of stories that found that more than 110 private schools in New England have faced allegations of sexual abuse by staff over the past 25 years.

T&M invited anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse at Milton Academy to contact the firm and ended up interviewing 60 alumni, parents, and current and former staffers.

In the case of Buono, the consultant found that Milton Academy’s headmaster from 1973 to 1991, Jerry Pieh, “had some knowledge of Rey Buono’s misconduct in 1982,” the letter said. But Buono continued to work at the school until 1987, “when he admitted to sexually abusing a student and his employment was terminated,’’ it said.

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Milton Academy did not identify the other three employees whom T&M substantiated had committed misconduct several decades ago. The school said each of those three employees was male and each victim was a female minor. The misconduct ranged from lewd comments to sexual intercourse. Most of the incidents occurred on campus but were not reported at the time to the school administration, the letter said.

School officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.



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