Documents: Ex-Episcopal teacher admitted molesting

Posted: April 27, 2013

A former Episcopal Academy teacher arrested in the sexually abuse of boys at a Massachusetts summer camp told investigators that about 35 years ago, he molested one of his Episcopal students and admitted the incident to the head of the school, according to court documents obtained by The Inquirer.

The former fourth-grade teacher, Richard Perkins Smith, 65, of Media, told police that at some point after his admission, he was removed from teaching but kept on as an Episcopal fund-raiser, according to a search warrant application filed in the case.

Smith, a 1966 graduate of Episcopal, taught at the school's Devon campus from 1970 to 1990, according to school spokesman Bill Doherty. He then worked in the development office until 1998, Doherty said.

Doherty said he was unaware of Smith's alleged admission that he had molested an Episcopal student and had no comment. Previously, Doherty had said that in light of Smith's arrest in Massachusetts, the school was investigating his time at Episcopal. Episcopal is an independent school, now located in Newtown Square, for students in prekindergarten to 12th grade.

Smith was charged Monday in Massachusetts with rape of a child, indecent assault and battery, and related crimes.

The charges stem from allegations that he molested four male campers, ages 11 to 15, in 1981 while he worked as an assistant camp director at Camp Good News in Sandwich.

As part of their investigation, Massachusetts state troopers traveled to Media to interview Smith last September. During interviews with those troopers and Pennsylvania state troopers, Smith allegedly made his admission.

According to police, Smith said he molested a fourth-grade student around 1977 while they were in his car. The victim left the school after a half-year and returned to make a complaint about the abuse.

"Smith then met with the head of the school, and Smith confessed to him regarding molesting the victim," according to the search warrant application.

Smith told police that sometime after his admission about the student, he was reassigned to the fund-raising campaign. He estimated that it might have been about two years after the incident, according to the court documents.

The headmaster at the time was James "Jay" Crawford, now retired. Calls and e-mails to Crawford seeking comment were not returned.

Smith also told Pennsylvania state police that his former partner, identified as "Ralph," made pornography at his Media residence and then posted it on a website. Smith said he financed the website and the images were produced and stored on his computer. He said some of the images were "borderline on child pornography," according to court documents.

A search warrant application was filed by Pennsylvania state police seeking to seize computers, storage devices, software, passwords, documents, child-pornography files, videotapes, cameras, phones, and other items filed for Smith's Media address on Sept. 28, 2012.

Smith was arraigned Monday and is being held on $10,000 bail, according to the Barnstable County (Mass.) District Attorney's Office.


Contact Mari A. Schaefer at 610-313-8111, mschaefer@phillynews.com or @MariSchaefer on Twitter.

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