Aug. 23, 2007 -- Just as classes are set to begin on the leafy campus of Milton Academy, the alma mater of T.S. Eliot and Robert Kennedy, a new book is resurrecting one of the prestigious school's most embarrassing chapters -- and promising to give parents plenty of anxiety.
The school was rocked two years ago when school officials alleged that a 15-year-old female student had performed oral sex on five hockey players in a locker room, in addition to two earlier incidents involving the girl and multiple male partners.
The hockey players were expelled and three of them were eventually charged with rape, although a judge let them off after they apologized to the girl's family. Those three were placed on two years of pretrial probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. The girl was placed on leave but she eventually returned to school to continue her studies.
The high-profile scandal is just one of the shocking tales described in "Restless Virgins," a new book by Milton graduates Abigail Jones and Marissa Miley, who interviewed dozens of students at the school.
By examining the scandal through the eyes of four female students and three male students, the authors reveal new details about the incident and describe a campus culture where some girls are pressured to engage in risky sexual behavior such as group sex and anal sex by guys who keep encouraging them in disturbing ways.
The authors, who graduated from Milton in 1999 and 1998, say that they were shocked to hear about the sexual habits of students at the school, and they wrote the book to answer some of their questions about how young girls could give such performances on command.
Among the incidents described in the book:
A girl performing oral sex on a guy next to the pipe organ in the school's Apthorp Chapel.
Rumors that a male student had been expelled for running a porn business out of his dorm room, "taking orders, working out a mailing system, and reportedly making a fortune."
The book also alleges several other hockey players knew about the locker-room incident in advance and had already seen cell-phone photos of the 15-year-old girl's sexual acts during an earlier incident.
By giving pseudonyms such as Whitney and Reed to the students they interviewed, the authors delve into their innermost thoughts and motivations and the shifting stories about what happened that night to "Zoe" in the locker room:
"Whitney accepted that the guys' involvement was typical. She was sick of hearing about the gross things they did with girls, like Eiffel Towers, orgies, and now this game called Stoneface. She also knew about Zoe's sexual past, and who didn't notice the scandalous outfits she wore to school? But she couldn't reconcile a young girl voluntarily giving head to multiple boys at once. How twisted and pornographic. How Playboy and Skinemax. Didn't her jaw hurt? Her neck? Her knees after pushing against the floor? Where was her self-respect? Whitney understood the irony of her position; as her friends said, You do this stuff, too. Yet she believed the oral sex incident was different."
As for the hockey players, most of those who were interviewed defended the five involved in the incident. One character named Reed, who knew about the incident in advance, was disappointed that he had not been invited to take part. The authors write:
"He saw no sense of moral ambiguity here; oral sex had nothing to do with feelings, responsibility, or emotional age. The acts were part of an implied social exchange: oral sex for social clout. Everyone involved must have been in agreement without even having to agree, because getting head from a girl was not a moral issue. For hockey players, it was something they deserved and expected."
The authors, who were not able to comment due to a contract with NBC's "Today" show, say that casual and sometimes hardcore teen sex are not limited to Milton but are a national phenomenon.
"For parents, it's a window into this world," Jones told the Boston Globe. "If your child isn't engaging in this behavior, their friends are, or their classmates are."
Former students are concerned about the book's impact on the school community.
A 1999 graduate of the school recently likened the book to a "tawdry soft-core porn novel that portrays Milton and its students as sex-craving students" on her blog A World of Beans.
"Firstly, having known people who were at the school during the scandal," she wrote, "I can say that I feel very bad for those involved. Being that everything has just recently been buried, this book is now bringing the past back into the present."
And some of the students who were interviewed have complained that they feel betrayed by the authors and that some of the scenes in the book are sensationalized.
"It's a sexualized version of events they chose to show," one former student told the Globe. "I feel extremely stupid for talking to them."
A spokeswoman for Milton said in a statement, "We understand that teen sex is a difficult issue. At Milton, we try to teach, counsel and guide our students as they grow during their middle and high school years. We expect that parents will partner with us in our effort to teach their children about sexuality and healthy relationships."