EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 19, 2013

Second Pike grad joins lawsuit against Andover school

By Mark E. Vogler

---- — BOSTON — Robert Roe said his relationship with a teacher at the Pike School in Andover began in the seventh grade when he was just 13.

Judith Elefante, then known as Judith Chapel, had him over at her home for the evenings — several times a week — where she would light candles as they sat in the dark listening to records, the former student said in a complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court this week.

“She was 38 or 39 when it started,” Roe, now 46, said in a telephone interview yesterday of his alleged affair with the teacher back in the early 1980s.

“I was empathetic for her, listening about her divorce. It started with records and candles in the dark before the sexual relationship,” he said.

Roe said he was 14 and had finished his eighth grade at the Pike School and graduated when he had sex for the first time with his teacher. That happened in a tent at a Northfield soccer camp.

“She brought the camping supplies. We went drinking, saw a movie at went back to the tent,” he said.

Roe — not his real name, but the one he goes by in court documents — is the second alumnus of the Pike School to allege he had been raped and sexually abused by Elefante, 70, of Newburyport. Roe joined a lawsuit filed last month by a former student against Elefante and 15 other defendants, including several former administrators at the Pike School.

Elefante could not be reached for comment yesterday.

“For years, I tried to dismiss it as an autumn-spring romance,” Roe said yesterday.

But a letter written in February by school officials to the Pike School community informing them about “alleged inappropriate conduct by one of our former teachers” in the early 1990s and a lawsuit threatened by a former student prompted Roe to reach out to that other student, he said yesterday.

“The Pike letter seemed to blame the victim, John Doe, and that got me mad,” Roe said.

“I aligned more with John than I did with the school. The lawsuit brought it all about,” he said.

“The worst part about it for me, I feel angry now, because I feel like I got robbed. I’d never want any kid to lose their innocence like that. She was poaching in the Pike pond. She was using the school and her position to get boys,” he said.

Boston attorney Carmen L. Durso, who represents the two former Pike students, filed the lawsuit which accuses Elefante of being “a serial abuser.”

“We have to believe that if she did these things 11 years apart, there is a possibility of other victims out there,” Durso said yesterday.

“We want to encourage them to come forward. The confidentiality of the two victims involved has been maintained. And we will do the same for other victims,” he said.