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March 20, 2013

Former private school teacher accused of student rape

Accused, now 70, lives in Newburyport

BOSTON – An alumnus of the independent Pike School in Andover claims he was sexually abused and raped two decades ago by a then-50-year-old woman teacher who now lives in Newburyport.

The alumnus, now 34, alleged in a 21-page lawsuit filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, that the teacher — Judith Elefante (Judith Chapell at the time) — began having sex with him when he was 15 and in the ninth grade. The relationship continued when the former Pike student, known as "John Doe," went to the Groton School, a private, Episcopal, college preparatory boarding school in Groton; Andover High School and later college.

Elefante, now 70, a former resident of Andover now residing on Bromfield Street in Newburyport; as well as the Pike School and three former Pike School administrators are among 16 defendants named in the lawsuit filed by Boston attorney Carmen L. Durso. The Groton School and 10 of its school administrators and teachers are also named as co-defendants.

"As a result of the negligence of defendant the Pike School, plaintiff John Doe was sexually assaulted, battered and raped by defendant Elefante, and has suffered serious and permanent physical and emotional injuries," the lawsuit alleges.

The Pike School, located at 34 Sunset Rock Road in Andover, is an independent, coed, day school for grades prekindergarten through 9.

Durso is seeking a jury trial to determine the amount of compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and other costs.

The lawsuit alleges that John Doe wasn't the only Pike student who was sexually abused by Elefante, who worked as a classroom teacher, an advisor, a secondary-school counselor and a sex-education instructor at the school.

"Starting in the early 1980s, and continuing at least through 1994, defendant Elefante engaged in sexual activity with minor students who attended the Pike School, and was a serial abuser," according to the court complaint.

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