BABYLON, N.Y. - Former students told FOX 5 NY that it is the worst kept secret in Babylon. Babylon High School alumni have come forward with allegations of abuse and misconduct involving former and current teachers and coaches in the district. They say it's been covered up for decades.
Graduate Darcy Bennet said her tennis coach tried to kiss her.
"I initially came forward when I was 16 with my story and I wasn't taken seriously," Bennet said. "And now I'm 30 years old coming back to the place I was traumatized."
New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced that she had launched a civil investigation.
Barbara Maier graduated in 2008 and alleges she was sexually harassed by the same coach as Bennet. The mom feels a sense of relief after coming forward publicly.
"We were always told, 'Watch your skirt because someone was always under us looking up,'" Maier said. "It's not just for Babylon, it's not just for my daughter, it's for every student in the nation."
The AG's announcement comes just a week after former students and parents showed up at a Babylon school board meeting demanding answers. Five employees are on paid leave.
The district agreed to cooperate with any and all investigations and to provide additional training to staff and students.
"To what extent are we protecting these people?" Maier said. "How long do we let them have access to children?"
In an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of past and present students, survivors are looking into starting an anonymous tip line.
A board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13, according to the Babylon district website.
Attorney General's Statement
"Every student on Long Island and across New York deserves to feel safe and protected at school. The reports of sexual abuse of students at the hands of their teachers and coaches are troubling and must be investigated. My office is launching an investigation into the Babylon School District over these disturbing allegations. The safety and wellbeing of students — both past and present — is of utmost importance, and we will do everything in our power to protect their right to a safe learning environment." —Attorney General Letitia James
Suffolk County Executive's Statement
"I am in awe of the courageous individuals who have come forward, both former and current students, to tell their stories. Their allegations must be thoroughly investigated and I'm confident that will now happen with the Attorney General’s investigation. Finally, as a parent with children who attend the Babylon school district, I also want to acknowledge the many outstanding teachers and professionals that I have personally encountered for the outstanding work they do for my kids and all of the children in our district." —Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Suffolk County DA's Office and Suffolk County PD's Joint Statement
"The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Suffolk County Police Department are continuing to actively investigate the ongoing allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct that occurred at the Babylon School District. In light of the announcement of the civil investigation, the District Attorney's Office and Police Department advise any person that believes he or she was the victim of a crime to contact the Suffolk County Police Department's Special Victims Section at 631-852-6167."