November 16, 2021–8:56 a.m.
Darlington School has announced that a settlement has been reached with 20 former students who alleged that they were sexually abused by an instructor between 1977 and 1988.
Roger Stifflemire was an English teacher at Darlington from approximately 1974-1994. During his tenure, he also served as a dorm parent where he supervised 9th through 12th-grade boys.
The plaintiffs alleged that Stifflemire used his authority and influence as a teacher and dorm parent to obtain the plaintiffs’ trust, which he then exploited to sexually abuse them both on and off-campus.
Darlington School and the law firms of Penn Law, LLC and Paul Mones, P.C., the firms representing the plaintiffs said in a joint statement the settlement has been reached that will provide compensation to the survivors, serve to strengthen Darlington moving forward, and help prevent anything like this from happening again.
Penn Law attorney Darren Penn said: “We are honored to represent these brave individuals and their families. They had the courage to come forward and pursue justice for a lifetime of pain and struggling from the scars and injuries suffered at a time when they were most vulnerable. We hope this resolution will help prevent this from happening to other innocent children.”
The Darlington Board of Trustees issued a statement that read:
Statement from the Darlington Board of Trustees:
“This has been a horrible situation for these survivors and for the school. Mr. Stifflemire’s intimidation, manipulation, and exploitation have left scars that may never fully heal. The abuse suffered was abhorrent, and we are truly sorry for the pain these men feel because of their time under our care. The Board of Trustees wishes to express its gratitude for the strength of these men to come forward with their horrific experiences while under the supervision of Darlington. Although this will be a stain forever on the history of our beloved school, we are relieved that the truth has been exposed and addressed.
We wish to express our sincere apologies for the experiences these men and their families have endured and their lifelong pain. We are also sorry that the school did not do a better job of protecting them or of recognizing what was happening at the time. We realize that no amount of compensation can remove the wounds, but we pledge to continue to work with these men to find peace and healing.
The Board is hopeful that all members of the Darlington family will unite behind this settlement. We can now only shape the future and we ask that all of us work together to make Darlington safer and stronger for the students present today and the generations yet to come.”