Press "Enter" to skip to content

Private school teacher sexually abused girls in front of classmates and raped them on school trips

A former private school teacher and record company founder has been accused of sexually abusing three women over five decades ago when they were just 12 years old.

New court papers claim Robert ‘Bob’ Rusch abused the women on multiple occasions in the late 60s and early 70s when he was a seventh-grade teacher at the Woodard School in Brooklyn, a Bronx Supreme Court lawsuit alleges.

Two of the women also claim he raped them while on school camping trips.    

‘Our clients have lived with the horrific effects of this abuse every day since it happened,’ said lawyer Jordan K. Merson. 

Rusch taught photography and was also an advisor for extracurricular activities at at the Woodward Park School in Fort Greene – now Poly Prep Country Day School – for more than a decade.

The three women claim that the abuse started at the beginning of the school year in the photography class dark room.

They say it then continued in the main classroom in front of other students which, court documents claim, created ‘a hostile, abusive and oppressive environment’. 

‘When male students attempted to intervene, [Rusch] would verbally berate those students, and even resorted to violence on one occasion by pushing a male student against a wall,’ the lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified damages, states. 

Two of the three women also accuse Rusch of raping them on school camping trips when they were just 12 years old.

They claim that he would force the girls to sleep in a tent with him and his then wife where he molested and sometimes raped them.

Rusch could not immediately be reached for comment earlier today but previously spoke about some of the allegations and apparently expressed remorse in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in June 2014, the court papers state.

‘Without a doubt, it has been the thing I am most remorseful about, or confused as to where my ethical compass was or what happened to it,’ Rusch told the outlet at the time. 

‘I spent the last 41 years trying to be a better citizen.’  

The lawsuit alleges that administrators at Woodward Park School were aware of Rusch’s transgressions which began in 1965 and continued until he was fired in 1975.  

‘Woodward knew or should have known of the sexual abuse that plaintiffs suffered at the hands of defendant Rusch, as defendant Rusch’s sexual abuse was open and obvious, well known by, and obvious to, members of the school community,’ the suit states.

Merson, the attorney for the three women, said: ‘The allegations in the complaint demonstrate that Rusch sexually abused our clients in a way that was open and obvious, and apparently acceptable, to the school.’

Rusch, after being fired from the school, is thought to have made a second career as a jazz journalist and record producer.  

The musician, who had studied clarinet and drums in his youth, wrote for a series of publications in the 1970s including Down Beat, Jazz Journal and the Jazz Forum.

He went on to be the founder of two record labels Cadence Jazz in 1980 and CIMP in 1995 and oversaw the release of hundreds of jazz tracks including many from Bill Dixon, Chet Baker and Glenn Spearman.     

MailOnline has contacted Poly Prep for comment. 

The lawsuit was made possible under New York’s Child Victims Act, opened a look-back period for victims of childhood abuse to bring claims that had already passed outside of the statute of limitations. 

Another member of staff at Poly Prep, former tennis coach William Martire, was also accused of sexually abusing a student for more than two years in the early 1980s.

The alleged abuse began when she was a 14-year-old freshman, according to the Brooklyn Supreme Court lawsuit filed in February.

Matire was also accused of abuse in a separate lawsuit filed at the same court in December.  

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *