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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dean of Elite Boarding School Gets 9.5 Years for Sex with Four Boys – As Young as 13

Sulaiman Kamal | 4:53 PM | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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The former dean at an exclusive $40,000-a-year boarding school was today handed a nine-and-a-half year sentence for sexually abusing four students.

Robert Reinhardt, former dean of the Gunnery school, was handed the sentence after making a plea deal

Robert Reinhardt, who worked at The Gunnery school in Washington, Connecticut, will also have to register as a sex offender after prison and serve 30 years of probation.
Victims’ relatives hugged and cried as Reinhardt, who had been free on bail, was led out of the Litchfield Superior Court in handcuffs.
The 46-year-old pleaded guilty in April to three counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of risk of injury to a minor, charges that carry up to 40 years in prison combined.
However he received the nine-and-a-half year sentence in a plea deal.
‘I’m sorry for all the events that have occurred,’ Reinhardt said without elaborating. It was his only statement inside the courtroom.
Reinhardt had insisted on his innocence and took the plea deal only to avoid a much longer prison sentence that could have been imposed if he went to trial and was convicted, his lawyer, William Dow III said.
Four former students said Reinhardt abused them while they attended the school, often at his on-campus apartment.
The first abuse dated as far back as 2002 when Reinhardt invited one boy to go to the boathouse where hugging, kissing, and oral sex took place.
The student tried to end the relationship, but Reinhardt warned the teenager he had control over grades, and could ‘out him’ as a gay man,  Assistant State Attorney Terri Sonneman had told the court in a previous hearing.
A boy, now 18, had 70 sexual encounters with Reinhardt when he was a 13-year-old freshman in 2007. Another victim was molested six times and two involved oral sex.
Sonnemann told how Reinhardt would invite the boys over to his apartment in one of the school’s dormitories.
The teen would then lie on a couch and place his head in Reinhardt’s lap. The dean would then begin to rub the shoulders of the victim, working his way to the victim’s genital area.
One victim said in April that he was stunned and upset by the plea bargain because he thought Reinhardt would be serving much more prison time, his lawyer said.
Prosecutors said the other three victims also wanted a more severe sentence but accepted the plea deal because it spared them from having to testify in public at a trial.
Reinhardt resigned from the school in June 2009 after the allegations surfaced and was arrested two months later.
He had been on the faculty at the school since 1996 and was named dean in 2006. He had been living most recently in Telford, Pa., about 30 miles north of Philadelphia.
The Gunnery, a residential school in the rolling hills of western Connecticut, was founded in 1850 by outdoorsman and abolitionist Frederick William Gunn.
There were 270 students this year at the school, which costs more than $40,000 per year for boarding students.

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