The United States Attorney’s Office has arrested and charged a former Gow School administrator – Matthew Fisher, with the possession of child sex abuse images on November 14, 2023. The Gow School is a private institution that specializes in teaching children in grades six through twelve who have language-based disabilities such as dyslexia.
In regard to the arrest of Matthew Fisher, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has indicated that the images found on the former Gow administrator's computer appear to be taken from a hidden camera taken in a bedroom that is believed to be on the Gow school campus. As of June 2019, The Gow School reported an enrollment of approximately one hundred and fifty students. About ninety percent of the school’s students are boarding students living in Gow’s 100-acre campus.
The investigation into Fisher was initiated as a result of an IT employee of the school discovering links to inappropriate websites depicting child pornography on the Fisher’s laptop in October of this year. Images from the laptop's hard drive include time stamps from early 2019 through September 2023.
This is not the first allegation of Gow School employees involving child sexual abuse.
New York sexual abuse lawyers, Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP, currently have three pending lawsuits against the Gow School alleging negligence by the school for its failure to protect the children from an employee at the school beginning in the early 1980s. Those actions were brought under New York’s Child Victims Act, which provided a window for older victims of child sexual abuse to bring civil lawsuits against individuals and institutions that were responsible for the abuse.
“This recent arrest is extremely troubling,” said Robert Greenstein, managing partner at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP. “Although I can’t say I’m surprised. The Gow School’s own internal investigation has identified twelve individuals who have accused at least five former staffers of abuse or misconduct. The Gow School must be held accountable for their negligence.”
The report referenced by Robert Greenstein can be found at (https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1585315370/gow/nnt2bpovpaxtxtgbrekf/reports.pdf) and was conducted by Hodgson Russ and entitled an “Independent Investigation of Historical Reported Incidents of Abuse and Inappropriate Behavior”.
The three lawsuits commenced by Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP accuse a former Gow School dorm master and teacher Jack Jackson of sexual abuse. Two of the lawsuits remain pending in Erie County (filed under index numbers 805211/2021 and 806642/2020) and claim abuse by Jackson starting in 1985 and ending in approximately 1992.
The third lawsuit, also pending in Erie County, under Index Number 803432/2020, is scheduled for trial in January 2024. That lawsuit alleges over fifty separate instances of abuse perpetrated by Jack Jackson, while a Gow School employee from 1990-1991. It further claims a former Gow School Headmaster was alerted to inappropriate behavior by Jackson and that there were significant red flags of his propensity to sexually abuse children, including that he solicited students to go on road trips alone with him.
The lawsuits allege that the Gow School failed to act and to protect students. Since the lawsuits were filed, the law firm has received complaints from parents of recent Gow students who have also alleged child sexual abuse. Anyone with information about sexual abuse at The Gow School or in any other place should contact Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP.
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