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Former victims dismiss ASIJ’s sex abuse report as ‘whitewash’

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff Writer

Victims of sex abuse committed by former American School in Japan teacher Jack Moyer and their supporters have dismissed a report the school released as a “whitewash” intended to minimize damage to its reputation.

Speaking Tuesday, a day after the report’s release, they said it goes nowhere near revealing how the school covered up Moyer’s decades of abuse, which they allege it was aware of but failed to prevent.

Despite being billed as independent, the 32-page report by Boston law firm Ropes & Gray LLP was “clearly driven by people who wished to protect the image of the school,” charged Janet Simmons, who says she was abused by Moyer, now deceased, after enrolling in ASIJ at the age of 11 in 1970.

The Tokyo-based private international school released the law firm’s third-party report on the case after months of delay.

Simmons and others allege that the investigators had a conflict of interest and failed to expose what they call the institutional cover-up by the school’s leadership.

“I don’t believe that the report helped move the case along. If anything, it was incomplete, lacked substance and didn’t draw the necessary conclusions from the facts,” Simmons said.

But referring to a personnel shake-up in the ASIJ board of directors in May, she said the new members seem willing to right the wrongs of their predecessors.

A separate investigation led by attorneys hired by victims found that ASIJ knew of Moyer’s abuse as early as the late 1960s — well before some individuals say they were abused — and that it received more than five dozen reports of abusive actions in the years that followed.

David Bruns, a 1968 graduate of ASIJ, echoed Simmons’ view, dismissing Monday’s report as “invalid” and a “whitewash.”

Ropes & Gray investigators “couldn’t bite the hand that feeds them so they defended the directors and Head of School who hired them, and did not consider the ample evidence that implicates them in misconduct,” he said.

Some victims said they were hurt that the report gave insufficient space to their personal testimony.

“I think it’s a joke and I’m offended by it,” said Gaylynn Nakamatsu, who graduated from ASIJ in 1991. She found it “insulting” that the report reduced statements made by her and other victims into a small amount of text that lacked detail.

After reading the report, Lisa Jastram, a 1974 graduate who has strenuously campaigned for justice for Moyer’s female victims, called for the resignation of Ed Ladd, the current Head of School, accusing him of complicity in the cover-up.

“I don’t think the alumni will be satisfied until the house is totally cleaned,” she said.