Ex-teacher accused of sex abuse in Mass.

A Massachusetts grand jury has indicted a former longtime Episcopal Academy teacher with sexually abusing four children at a religious summer camp in 1981.

Richard P. Smith, 65, of Pennsylvania, was indicted by a Barnstable County Grand Jury this week on charges of rape of a child, indecent assault and battery and five counts of indecent assault and battery upon a child under the age of 14.

The charges stem from incidents that allegedly took place in 1981, when Smith was a counselor at Camp Good News in Sandwich, Mass. This is the same summer camp that former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown attended as a child. In 2011, Brown revealed that he was sexually assaulted at a camp on Cape Cod when he was 10.

Hamilton Clark, Head of School, at Episcopal Academy, released a statement about Smith. In it, he noted that the school’s administration was recently made aware of the allegations against Smith, who had been a teacher at Episcopal for more than 20 years. Clark noted that Smith left the school in 1998.

“At this time, we are working with local authorities and two attorneys who are experts in this field to determine if there was any inappropriate behavior between Mr. Smith and any of our students during his tenure at our school,” Clark wrote. “We are resolute in our overriding commitment to protect every child now and in the future. We feel a deep obligation to our past students, our valued alumni. We will provide assistance and resources to any member of our community who might have affected by any untoward behavior.”

Clark said the safety of its students is Episcopal Academy’s top priority.

Smith taught at Episcopal Academy’s former main campus in Lower Merion Township from 1970 until 1975, when he began teaching at the school’s smaller campus in Devon. He taught there until 1990.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said the allegations involve four campers between the ages of 11 and 15.

Massachusetts State Police detectives launched a probe into allegations of sexual abuse at Camp Good News after Brown wrote about being sexually molested at the camp in his autobiography “Against All Odds.” O’Keefe said detectives investigated allegations involving nine potential suspects from eight states and one foreign country. Two of the alleged perpetrators are deceased, according to the district attorney. The statute of limitations prevented O’Keefe’s office from prosecuting other suspects.

O’Keefe noted that the identities of some of the alleged perpetrators are unknown at this time. Smith was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Cornelius J. Moriarity and was held on $10,000 cash bail.

His next court appearance is scheduled for May 8.