Sonoma Academy Graduates Known Years Ago As “Marco’s Girls” Spotlight Teacher Sexual Harassment, School Inaction
“I was really scared, but you know it made sense to me,” she said.
Durgin, the retired principal of Sonoma Academy, declined to comment on McAleavy’s recollections or any additional reports the alumni said they made in the following years.
Over a month later, when news of McAleavy’s discomfort with Morrone reached him through his replacement teacher, he told that teacher he was “mortified,” McAleavy recalled. He hadn’t meant to make her uncomfortable, he was told, and he still wanted to apologize to her.
She didn’t have it.
“There was no point in this conversation where I thought it was at all plausible that his behavior was inadvertent, that he was oblivious, that he had remorse,” he said. she declared.
After that, she heard nothing more from school officials about it. Durgin never spoke directly to her, or anyone else on campus, she said.
Her younger sister, Mae McAleavy, said she tried around this time to talk to a teacher about Morrone’s interactions with her sister. Mae was in her second year, while Emma was in her final year.
“I said, ‘Things have been tough because Marco is making fun of my sister,” Mae McAleavy told Michael Peller, a math professor who was her advisor as well as the dean of freshmen at the time.
“I remember my advisor got angry,” she said. He told her not to tell him anything about it, she said.
“He was like, ‘This is inappropriate. He’s my colleague, ”recalls Mae McAleavy. “I was too young to understand that he was the one who had the problem. I was like, ‘I guess I shouldn’t be talking about this, bad boy.’ “
Peller, now a vice principal at White Mountain School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Press to act
In 2016, eight years after graduating from Sonoma Academy, Emma McAleavy remained concerned about Morrone’s continued employment at the school. She contacted Durgin and the two met in person shortly after.
“It looked like what she thought was going to happen was that I was going to disclose a super scary, hitherto undisclosed crime,” McAleavy said. “And that’s not what I was there to do at all. I was there to say, ‘Why didn’t you fire him?’ And I asked him that.
Durgin, according to McAleavy, told her that Morrone regretted his conduct with her and that no one else had complained.
“She said, ‘He didn’t want to make you uncomfortable. It was unconscious. He learned a lot. Since then he has improved his limits, ”said McAleavy, recalling Durgin. “And I said to him, ‘It was strategic. And you have to fire him. And she made it clear to me in this conversation that it was too late to fire him.
McAleavy’s complaint in 2007 matches the date of discipline and counseling Morrone suffered after a sustained case of misconduct, according to Foehl’s statement on Wednesday to former students, parents and staff.
After that intervention 14 years ago, however, Morrone’s misconduct did not stop, according to the seven women and the school’s statement on Wednesday.
“Morrone continued to develop relationships with some female students who exceeded appropriate professional boundaries,” said Foehl.
He did not detail any other action taken by principals until last year’s investigation that led to Morrone’s sacking.
Durgin said she thought she addressed Morrone’s behavior.
In 2007, when a serious problem with a student was brought to my attention, I quickly resolved it, ”she said in a statement. “I thought it was settled with discipline and advice for the employee. “
Sonoma Academy administrators and board members declined to answer questions about what school officials knew about Morrone’s behavior during his long tenure.
Foehl, who took over from Durgin in mid-2020, declined an interview request made through school spokesperson Lily Thompson. She said board members would not comment either.
Foehl’s post on Wednesday “represents the school’s full statement on the matter,” she said.
Board chairman Tory Nosler, founding director Kitty Angell and directors Tim Duncan and David Eiseman did not respond to calls for comment.
School lawyer Susan Ansberry said her office was not answering questions from reporters.