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March 20, 2013

Lawsuit: Pike School alum says he was raped by female teacher at age 15

BOSTON – An alumnus of the Pike School claims he was sexually abused and raped two decades ago by a 50-year-old woman teacher at the independent Andover school.

The alumnus, now 34, alleged in a 21-page lawsuit filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, that the teacher – Judith Elefante (Judith Chapell at the time) - began having sex with him when he was 15 and in the ninth grade. The relationship continued when the former Pike student went to the Groton School, a private, Episcopal, college preparatory boarding school in Groton; Andover High School and later college.

Elefante, 70, of Newburyport; the Pike School; and three former Pike school administrators are among 16 defendants named in the lawsuit filed by Boston attorney Carmen L. Durso. The Groton School and 10 of its school administrators and teachers are also named as co-defendants.

"As a result of the negligence of defendant the Pike School, plaintiff John Doe was sexually assaulted, battered and raped by defendant Elefante, and has suffered serious and permanent physical and emotional injuries," the lawsuit alleges.

The Pike School, 34 Sunset Rock Road in Andover, is an independent, coed, day school for grades prekindergarten through nine.

Durso seeks a jury trial to determine the amount of compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and other costs.

The lawsuit alleged that John Doe wasn't the only Pike student who was sexually abused by Elefante, who worked as a classroom teacher, an advisor, a secondary school counselor and a sex education instructor.

"Starting in the early 1980's, and continuing at least through 1994, defendant Elefante engaged in sexual activity with minor students who attended the Pike School, and was a serial abuser," according to the court complaint.

"Defendant Elefante used her position and her authority as a teacher to identify, and to groom, potential victims. The professional medical literature relating to young males who are abused by adult females emphasizes that they are unable to understand that they are being victimized by perpetrators who have used them for their own sexual pleasure," the complaint says.

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