Billboard in the Berkshires alleges sexual abuse at former school

January 07, 2019 07:44 PM

The mother of a man who believes he was sexually abused at the former Sheffield Center School in the Berkshires wants to know if others had the same experiences. The woman has leased billboard space on Route 7 in Great Barrington, the message suggesting an employee may have photographed students in the janitor's room.

The billboard went up last week. Lamar Advertising says the woman leased the space for four weeks. A second billboard will reportedly go up as well.

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"It was just startling. What the heck is that? Kind of weird seeing it," said Paul Hankey, a former student at the school around the time the alleged abuse took place.

Sheffield Police Chief Eric Munson says they first learned of the allegations in 2016. He says the woman and her son came to police after the man pieced together memories he says he had repressed. Police investigated the claims, but say they didn't find any other possible victims or witnesses. Chief Munson says the statute of limitations on the case had run out as well.

Investigators say the alleged perpetrator retired from the school in the late 1980's and has since moved out of state. They did not speak to him in their investigation, but did speak with authorities in his new location.

In a phone interview with NewsChannel 13, Chief Munson said he believes the woman had the billboard put up in case there are other victims out there and if there are, perhaps one will fall within the statute of limitations. 

Sheffield Center School closed in 1993 and is now the town library. NewsChannel 13 reached out to the Southern Berkshire Regional School District for comment, but they did not return our call.


Jacquie Slater

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