Charges put spotlight back on Milton Academy scandal
Some say discord wears them down
MILTON -- For a little while, it seemed as if the storm had passed at Milton Academy.
The 15-year-old sophomore girl who allegedly engaged in oral sex with five varsity hockey players in January was back in class after being placed on leave. She was fitting in relatively well, students say. Friends of the male students involved had stopped wearing black to protest their expulsion from school.
But the spotlight returned to the prestigious prep school yesterday following news that two male teenagers are now facing juvenile charges of statutory rape.
Some students said the controversy is wearing them down.
''I'm done with the whole thing," said one 18-year-old senior sitting in front of Forbes House, an academy dormitory. An Amherst resident, he spoke on condition of anonymity.
''The whole scandal is over," said his 17-year-old friend, a student from Jamaica Plain who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
Milton police filed statutory rape charges against two of the teenagers about a week ago in Quincy District Court. They will be prosecuted by the Norfolk district attorney's office. Milton Police Chief Kevin Mearn has said that the investigation involving the other students is continuing.
The incidents, in which the girl allegedly performed oral sex on five varsity hockey players and a 15-year-old-student in a dorm room and a locker room, sparked national news coverage. It is illegal under state law to engage in sexual activities with anyone under 16 years of age. Two of the hockey players were 16 at the time of the incidents, according to an academy team roster. The others were 17 and 18, and they would be charged as adults. A lawyer for the five boys could not be reached for comment yesterday.
''No adults have been charged in connection with that case," said Michael Jackman, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
Jackman declined to say when a hearing for the two juveniles would be held. ''We don't comment on juvenile matters," he said.
The sprawling campus of handsome brick buildings and well-manicured lawns seemed peaceful yesterday. On the grassy quadrangle, students played Frisbee and Wiffle ball. Several students declined to speak to reporters yesterday, and those who did would only speak anonymously, citing instructions from their teachers not to talk to the media or expressing fear of possible backlash from other students.
School officials decided to expel the boys after an internal investigation found they had engaged in the acts. Academy spokeswoman Cathy Everett declined to comment yesterday on the effects the charges have had on students and faculty.
''I want to make it clear that the police's actions and the district attorney's actions are outside the school purview," she said.
Students said yesterday that the girl, who was placed on administrative leave following the investigation and who returned last month, seemed to be adjusting well after some initial awkwardness. Her family could not be reached for comment at their New Hampshire home.
Despite the cloud the scandal has placed over the school, the student from Jamaica Plain said she wants people to know that sexual misconduct is not commonplace at Milton Academy.
''This is not the norm," she said. ''I've been here since fourth grade, and this has never happened."
Even though people are tiring of the scandal, the school remains polarized, said the student from Amherst.
''There are two groups," he said. ''One group blames the girl. Another group blames the guys."
A third group is indifferent, he said, including himself and his friend from Jamaica Plain.
Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.