June 15, 2015
Portland, Oregon — After more than 40 years of shame, secrecy and denial, 13 women who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher at an elite Tokyo school have finally obtained justice. The school and victims have reached a settlement agreement outside of court following a lengthy investigation.
The victims were all abused as students at the American School in Japan (ASIJ) – which caters to children of international business executives, diplomats and missionaries. They now live all over the United States and in Canada, including in California, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and British Columbia.
Today, the ASIJ Board of Directors released the results of an independent investigation into the school’s response to reports of sexual abuse. Like the Freeh Report that followed in the wake of the Penn State abuse scandal, the report released today revealed a long history of cover-up and denial by ASIJ despite numerous reports of abuse to school officials.
The abuser, a teacher named Jack Moyer, admitted to sexually abusing numerous children as young as 11 and 12 years old – including forcible rape, sodomy and repeated molestation. Moyer was a famed marine biologist who spent 48 years teaching at ASIJ. During much of this time, Moyer was allowed to take children to a remote island – ostensibly to study marine biology. There, he abused many of the young girls.
Victims retained the law firm of Crew Janci LLP in Portland, Oregon – known for bringing high-profile cases of sexual abuse against the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and Mormon Church. Through their lawyers, the victims today released their own investigative report, which reveals:
- As early as 1967, ASIJ first learned of Moyer’s inappropriate behavior with young female students – roughly three years before Moyer abused any one of the 13 victims in this case.
- In the years that followed, ASIJ headmasters, principals and administrators received more than five dozen direct reports of Moyer’s ongoing sexual misconduct with students.
- Multiple of the victims and their family members reported Moyer’s abuse to high-level ASIJ administrators during their attendance at ASIJ in the 1970s and 1980s.
- Moyer confessed in writing to sexually abusing ASIJ students, including specifically identifying seven of these 13 victims by name.
- ASIJ leaders concealed Moyer’s sexual abuse of female students for more than 40 years.
- Despite multiple promises to take action, ASIJ never took steps to report or restrict Moyer’s access to children.
- From the time of Moyer’s suicide in January 2004 until at least March 2014, the school continued to conceal the extent and scope of Moyer’s abuse and deny its responsibility.
Based on the investigative findings, the newly appointed Board of Directors for ASIJ recently issued a public apology, admitting that “teachers and administrators … failed to protect the students in their charge.”
“Jack Moyer’s abuse of students was extensive, and there were Heads of School, high-level administrators as well as teachers who were aware of information concerning abuse by Moyer,” the Board of Directors stated. “Survivors attempted many times to expose abuse, and we are ashamed to report that they were rebuffed or ignored by the school.”
The public apology is part of a unique resolution and reconciliation recently achieved between the victims and the school. Representatives from a newly elected Board of Directors flew from Tokyo, Japan, to Portland, Oregon, to meet with the survivors from May 31, 2015, to June 4, 2015. On June 5, 2015, the Board issued a letter to the ASIJ community admitting to past wrongs and providing the survivors with a full and unconditional apology. The Board also agreed to reimburse all victims for past and future counseling costs, provide the 13 survivors with compensation for their injuries, release the results of the independent investigation commissioned by ASIJ in June 2014, and institute new and improved child safety policies.
The victims, many of whom suffered in silence and isolation for decades, said they found strength and support in the midst of this tragedy. The women grew close, eventually adopting the nickname “The Thirteen Sisters.” The Thirteen Sisters established a Facebook page and webpage (www.asijsurvivors.org) and rallied the support of their fellow alumni. The victims said in a public statement that supporters’ “unwavering support” helped end a decades-long battle and bring justice.
“Your voices, letters, petitions, emails, and Facebook posts played a pivotal role in turning the tide, as you continued to pressure ASIJ to do the right thing,” they wrote, thanking the community.
Lawyers for the victims said they hope other institutions will follow in the school’s footsteps and “do the right thing” for survivors of sexual abuse.
“If a 40-year cover-up of sexual abuse could happen at this school – where students were the children of CEOs and U.S. diplomats – this can happen anywhere,” said attorney for the victims Steve Crew. “The investigations released today and the resolution reached here provide an important lesson for educators around the world in how to protect kids.”
Victims in this case are residents of:
- Los Altos, CA
- Tampa, FL
- Honolulu, HI
- Bonneville, KY
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Havehill, MA
- Bend, OR
- Portland, OR
- Houston, TX
- Catlett, VA
- Seattle, WA
- Mequon, WI
- British Columbia
Follow these links for the full text of the ASIJ Apology Letter to ASIJ Community 6-5-15 and Sisters Response, the Ropes & Gray Report, the public letter released today by the victims, and the Crew Janci LLP investigation.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-407-0224.