In Wake Of Abuse, St. George's School Psychologist Facing Complaint Of Negligence

Aug 6, 2018

The Rhode Island Department of Health heard arguments Thursday related to a complaint against a former school psychologist at St. George’s prep school in Middletown. 

The complaint against Dr. Peter Kosseff alleges he was negligent for failing to report allegations of sexual abuse by members of the school's staff to the authorities.

Kosseff worked part time at the prestigious Middletown prep school for decades, during which sexual abuse was not properly dealt with, according to an independent report released in 2016.

The report and complaints lodged with the health department came after revelations of abuse at St. George’s and other elite prep schools. A Rhode Island State Police investigation into St. George’s ended with no criminal charges, in part due to statutes of limitations that had run out.

But a complaint lodged with the health department by two former students asserted that Kosseff failed in his professional responsibilities as a psychologist by not reporting to authorities when he learned of sexual abuse allegations, in at least two instances, once in 1979 and one in 1988.

Kosseff’s lawyers disputed the facts alleged in the complaint, claiming the two former students never disclosed sexual abuse during meetings with Kosseff. The lawyers said the actions described by the students at the time constituted "boundary-crossing" but not sexual abuse. The lawyers  are seeking to dismiss the complaint against Kosseff.

According to the hearing officer, a ruling on the motion to dismiss could come within the next month.