Did you experience sexual abuse at The Fessenden School of West Newton, MA, between 1952-1980? Do you have the courage to finally come forward and share your experience with fellow alumni who experienced similar abuse, and for the first time have decided to go public and finally settle with the school? If so, please get in touch with us through this secure link.
Adrian Hooper Alumnus from the 1960's
I attended Fessenden in the early 60’s. I don’t recall if Clarridge was there at that time. He was not the only sexual predator that was a member of the faculty. My dorm master was a sadistic Nazi. He was German and actually had Nazi memorabilia in his room. I wish I could remember the bastards name. The sexual and physical abuse, humiliation, and fear finally compelled me to bundle up one cold, snowy February day and walk all the way to Boston, 8 miles, and was found by some BU students who returned me. I was kept in isolation in the infirmary and thankfully expelled. Never told anyone about it until a few years ago. I actually visited the campus in 2010. (the seen of the crimes) I was prepared to confront, but decided the guilty are long gone from that den of horrors. But the shame and humiliation has affected my entire life.
As posted in my earlier statement I had to run away from the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that was being inflicted upon me at the Fessenden school by Hart Fessenden, the Vice principle, Mr. Cook, Mr. Hasbrook and others. If I could remember what Clarridge looked like, perhaps it was him as well.
There were other tormentors besides the names above. Hart Fessenden was as sadistic as the come. I can remember getting the paddle from him a few times. He seemed to take great satisfaction in swinging that paddle. He was a man to fear. Mr Cook took great pleasure in humiliating me in study hall. Having ADHD, I had trouble with the little things like my shoe laces, shirt tail, keeping my tie straight. Each one of those offences came with a demerit, and so many demerits got you a detention. Every Friday Mr Cook would announce the list of weekend detainees in study hall, and every Friday he would save my name until the end. With his New England accent he would announce my name with gusto. Hoopah!! Then the entire study hall would chant Hoopah! Hoopah! over and over again and he would encourage it. I wanted to crawl into a hole.
The worst of the several sexual abuses was the violent sexual attack carried out on by Hasbrook. I won’t go into detail. But I had had enough. I left during a snow storm and walked the 8 miles into Boston. During that walk I had a psychic break. I cried, a raged, I came to the realization that I could not trust those who were meant to help mold, nurture and protect me. The adults and the authoritarians in my life could not be trusted. They had betrayed, abandon and abused me.
From that day on I became oppositional, Defiant, rebellious and non trusting of other humans. I was moved two more boarding schools where I refused to toe the line and was expelled from both. I ran away from home at 16, never went back and have been running from the pain and shame most of my life, whether it be geographically or by self medicating with drugs or alcohol. I guess I am luckier that a few Fessy alumni who OD’d or committed suicide. The total cost of the illicit drugs I ingested to numb the shame and pain, the rehabs, the psychologists, psychiatrists, the antidepressants is incalculable.
Gratefully I have been drug free for 16 years, but since 1963 the harm done by the pedophiles and sadist at Fessenden still lingers.
Because of the abuse at Fessenden I have been rated a 6 on the The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. See CDC link below:
Depression, addiction and heart surgery are all a result of the The Adverse Childhood Experiences I had at The Fessenden School for Sadistic Pedophile training.
My life could have taken a much better course if not for the misguided decision my parents made to send me to that God forsaken hellhole.
David Fessenden Alumnus
To Mr. Sweeney, I feel your pain. Quite literally. And what is more terrible, it would have never happened to me, essentially ruining my entire existence, if someone had done something in the years prior to my abuse (the school administration knew ALL ABOUT IT!) at the hands of Mr. Coffin’s son (who’d already been charged with indecent assault on a minor in NH yet was allowed on campus), Mr. Claridge and Dallman, even the school psychiatrist Dr. Clampitt after my parents were told by headmaster Coffin I was having emotional problems (although he was well aware why I was so disturbed, he did not tell my parents why I was in such a psychogenic fugue). These freaks all knew about each other and shared their victims. I was threatened and intimidated, drugged, and unable to trust adults, the psychiatric profession, or any form of authority figures since then. I persevere, but I am forever enraged by what occurred. A dorm master even caught one of the perpetrators in my bed (with only curtains for a door on those rooms in Hyde 1). I was 8 years old. The police were never called. Nothing was done. I was told to forget about it. Does it seem like I have? I have volumes of accounts of mine and others abuse in those years. I still remember their names too and wonder what ever happened to them. Just came across this site after googling “Arthur Clarridge pedophile” out of the blue after not thinking about it for years. I guess I was wondering what that piece of s@#! is up to now, if he’s still alive. I guess I’ll google up Dallman next. Cheers and all the best to you, I know how tough it is to have some pig’s actions shape and virtually define a lifetime with such pain. A strange point to make after such a statement – but there were some great teachers at the same time, and I have to think they didn’t know about the dark side of the school. Mr. Carey was an exemplary man. My third grade teacher, Miss. Round as well (funny, ran into her years later at the top of the empire state building). Betsy Fessenden tried hard too (can’t imagine she knew what was happening but I can’t be sure). Mr. Payne, a dedicated science teacher, Mr. C of course, and Mr. Lesby (think that was his name) was a great role model. Mr. Wiggins was a memorable cutup too. Anyway, I digress. All the experiences with those good people were displaced and destroyed by the horrible behavior and stubborn coverup of the corrupt hierarchy of Fessenden. To this day, with all of those people gone, the school won’t step up to take responsibility for what their predecessors did and help all of the victims whose lives remain shattered, or at the very least have to live carrying around the broken pieces in their hearts and souls knowing that life could’ve been totally different – if only their well-wishing parents hadn’t ponied-up hard earned dollars and made sacrifices to seek a better future for their children, only for the opposite to occur. Yeah, I’m pissed.
Fessenden Sex Abuse Alumni
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Alumnus who currently wishes to remain anonymous 1970's
Understandably I see the abused with their disgust at the thought of their abusers and the failure of the trusted adults to protect them from them. I too attended “Fessy” in the mid to late 90’s. Saw and experienced the sexual abuse- and even attempted to talk with the headmaster , but was dismissed by him and felt lost. My parents were unresponsive to my reasoning and point blank telling them of an incident- luckily 1977 came and due to arrests, it stopped- but the damage was done and trust of adults shattered and have never talked of it again. I hope that the school has found that hiding its issues and burying the past is over so that so many others that haven’t or won’t come forward can heal like myself as the shame and effects from 40 years ago still haunts me