Accusations of Sex Abuse at Boarding School

Hawkins says seeing the boys on campus was a slap in the face, and he was frustrated that the faculty didn't seem to know what happened to him. "I finally got angry," Hawkins says, "I was like, 'You know what? You don't announce it, I'll announce it to the rest of the school.'"

Shaking with anger and fear, Hawkins stood up at an assembly and told the student body — including some incoming students — that he had been subjected to a series of molestations at Groton. His explosive story threw the school into a crisis.

The public announcement alienated him from the rest of the school, he says. "He became the enemy of the state," Hawkins' father says.

Many teachers and students were furious at him for embarrassing the revered institution, Hawkins says. The fallout made him feel so isolated he could no longer bear to stay at the school. He left Groton and eventually received his diploma from a local public high school.

But Hawkins has no regrets. "I felt like I was getting the runaround," he says. "By making this announcement, I was going to force them to deal with this."

Groton says it was still investigating the incident at the time of Hawkins' announcement and also points out it took Hawkins more than two years to come forward.

Were the Charges Adequately Reported to Social Services?

In a written statement to 20/20, Groton says it interviewed more than 300 students and the "overwhelming majority … were unaware of the conduct." The statement says 19 students said they knew about or felt victimized by sexual misconduct, but the students "offered very conflicting accounts … what some described as wrestling and horseplay, all of it consensual, a few described as aggressive sexual harassment."

Hawkins strongly denies he consented, but says he eventually stopped fighting back because it only prolonged the attacks. "If you really stopped resisting, that was the moment that they basically went on to someone else," he says.

In a written statement released to the media Thursday, Groton says it concluded Hawkins' allegations were "exaggerated." The school says, however, that it did discipline some students "where it was clear that their conduct had violated the School's policy against harassment." The school declined to identify what disciplinary action was taken, citing privacy constraints.

Three days after Hawkins' announcement, Polk sent the first of a series of letters to parents assuring them that Groton had complied with a Massachusetts law that requires schools to immediately report suspected abuse to social services. At a school assembly, he also apologized to boys who felt they had to "go along to get along."

In a letter to 20/20, Groton said the school reported the "specific allegations, promptly and in detail, to the Massachusetts Department of Social Services."

But the Department of Social Services told 20/20 the Groton report was vague and unspecific.

According to DSS Commissioner Jeffrey Locke, the school never told the department specifically about Hawkins' allegations of sexual assault or digital rape. In fact, the Groton School, never mentioned his name or the name of any other student who came forward, Locke said.

"The reports that we received were very vague," he says. "There were no specific allegations set forth."

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