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News

LAWSUIT: Former Mendham Boarding School Students Accuse Headmaster Of Sex Abuse

A pair of students are alleging in lawsuits the headmaster of a now-defunct Mendham boarding school sexually abused children in the 1980s.
A pair of students are alleging in lawsuits the headmaster of a now-defunct Mendham boarding school sexually abused children in the 1980s. Photo Credit: File

Two people have filed lawsuits under new state legislation alleging the headmaster of a now-defunct Mendham boarding school for students with special needs sexually abused them in the 1980s.

James Schwartz and an unnamed plaintiff say former Chartwell Manor School headmaster Terence Lynch is unfit to work with children and failed to report the abuse to law enforcement, the DailyRecord reports.

The alleged victims say in the suits the abuse they suffered at the boarding school -- which closed in 1984 -- caused them to suffer from emotional pain to this day, to which they are in counseling and therapy for. The abuse also has kept them from enjoying life fully, the report says.

Lynch spent seven years in state prison for abusing 12 boys and two girls between 10 and 16 years old (1981 to 1984). He also also indicted on more than 100 counts of sexual assault and charges of spanking half-naked male students in class, fondling them and forcing them to perform sexual acts, the news outlet said.

Lynch began volunteering at Beginnings drug and alcohol rehab center after his 1997 prison release, where he posed as a medical doctor and then subjected three men to genital exams, hernia checks, questions about their sex lives and spankings, the Daily Record says.

Those three men received $780,000 from a settlement agreement. Lynch was sentenced in 2007 to one year in Morris County jail.

Lynch died in 2011 in Parsippany.

The lawsuits were filed Tuesday under new legislation that extends statute of limitations in sex abuse cases. Victims can file suits until they turn 55 or seven years after they recognize damage from the abuse.

Schwartz is alleging Lynch engaged in sexual contact with him when he was ages 15, 16 and 17 years -- from 1970 to 1973. The unnamed plaintiff alleges Lynch abused them from when they were 13, 14 and 15 years old -- from 1982 to 1984.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, according to the Daily Record.

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