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Letters: What did ASIJ know of Moyer sex abuse and why was nothing done?

Thank you, Jon Mitchell and The Japan Times, for writing and publishing the article on May 13 following up on the American School in Japan sexual abuse scandal.

Both the international and native communities who had their children in contact with Jack Moyer need to know about this sad history, so that survivors of his abuse can know they are not alone and seek help.

Secondly, we hope more articles like this will help pressure the ASIJ administration to do more of the right things by seeking out and helping survivors. We also want accountability from anyone, who may have known about the abuses and did nothing, or worse, swept them under the rug. In order to have this, an independent investigation is the only solution.

DAN TOYAMA
ASIJ Alumnus Class of 1991

Why did one of the most renowned international schools in Asia attempt to ignore or suppress repeated complaints about Jack Moyer’s suspected pedophilia and his apparent serial abuse of so many children? Much of the suspected abuse occurred right under the very noses of other teachers and a succession of headmasters over four long decades! Why the cover-up? Fear of bad publicity? Loss of academic/social reputation in the international-school community? Grave financial concern about the threat of major lawsuits against the school by influential parents and alumni?

Was there an attitude that if you ignore “the problem” it’ll eventually go away? Was it also because Moyer was “connected” — that he had ties to the Imperial family and the University of Tokyo?

Jack Moyer led an ASIJ excursion to Miyakejima in the early summer of 1993. My Japanese wife and I joined this weekend tour. Now that the world knows so much more about Moyer’s pedophile criminality, it does seem strange that the celebrated marine biologist was still guiding ASIJ faculty, administrators, young students and their parents on a dolphin/whale watching trip to his island “sanctuary” three years after Janet Simmons had made it very clear that Moyer had sexually abused her in the early 1970s.

It is absolutely reprehensible that one victim was threatened with expulsion from ASIJ if she didn’t keep her mouth shut! Let’s hope she gets her day in court and fair compensation from the school for the emotional and psychological torment she was forced to endure silently all those years ago.

And yes, this reader wonders how many Japanese children might have been sexually molested by Moyer, both on the island of Miyakejima and in the Tokyo area. Moyer had very close ties to the Japanese residents on the island. They thought of him as their special “friend.” Damn, was Moyer manipulative. Their trust was badly betrayed.

And yes, on that weekend trip to Miyakejima back in 1993, there was whispered gossip among the American adults about Moyer’s peculiar lifestyle. He was an “old Japan hand” in the most despicable meaning of the term. However, their concerns were allayed by the fact that the ASIJ staff apparently “approved” of Jack Moyer and his oceanic wildlife program: “Yes, I understand he’s been bringing kids out to Miyakejima for years!” seemed to be the attitude among parents

My wife was given an autographed copy of “The American School in Japan: A History of Our First Century.” She greatly assisted in organizing the archival material for the book. She was later invited to attend the 2003 ASIJ centennial celebration in San Francisco, all expenses paid.

What the hell was ASIJ thinking when it allowed Moyer to “coach” the girls’ basketball team in 1971? I agree with Janet Simmons, David Bruns, Jennifer Laurie and all the others who think that ASIJ failed horribly in its duties to protect the students.

Moyer should have been confronted very sternly after the first molestation allegation against him. But hey, there’s a reason it’s called the “old boys’ network,” right? Girls weren’t welcome to join or to have much say in matters, at least not back then in the mid-to-late 20th century. But as Bob Dylan once sang, “The times they are a-changin’! ”

ROBERT McKINNEY
Otaru, Hokkaido

Comments: community@japantimes.co.jp