Crime | Education | New York

Former Horace Mann Professor Acknowledges Sex With Students

TekYoungLinOn June 6th of this year, the New York Times Magazine published a long and gruesome article on generations of sexual abuse perpetrated by male teachers upon male students at the exclusive Horace Mann School, in Bronx County, New York. The abuse happened long ago -- there was no whisper that anything of the kind had occurred lately -- and the abusers were all dead. From the article, they appeared to be generally awful people.

One person whom almost no one seems to believe is especially awful is 88-year-old Buddhist and former Horace Mann English professor Tek Young Lin, who went unmentiond in the original article. He was, according to a followup published today in the Times, deeply beloved by his students. He also slept with several of them, and admits it. "It seemed O.K. in those days," he told the Times.

The Times spoke to three former Horace Mann students who claimed Mr. Lin had attempted to initiate sexual contact with them. From the Times:

While at Horace Mann, Mr. Lin lived in Yonkers and had pictures of former Horace Mann students hanging on his walls, said a former student, who was 14 or 15 when Mr. Lin initiated sexual contact with him. He called these boys his “pillars.”

The man said that Mr. Lin used phrases like “I just want to cuddle” and that Mr. Lin would not do anything he did not want him to do.

“Did Tek behave in a way that was inappropriate? Absolutely,” he said. “Was he warm, was it a wonderful relationship? He opened up areas of philosophy to me. Yes.”

The above-quoted student's relationship with Mr. Lin, according to the Times, lasted "years," though their contact was only very rarely sexual.

Since being made aware of the allegations against Mr. Lin last week, the Horace Mann School has removed his name from the English department chairmanship, which was named in his honor decades ago. Because of New York's statutes of limitations, the Times suggests it is unlikely that Mr. Lin will face any more serious punishment for his behavior. Nor does it seem the students who accuse him would want him to. From the Times:

All three students cited Mr. Lin as a positive influence in their lives, even today, and seemed reluctant to speak, not wanting to hurt the reputation of a man who had opened their eyes to philosophy and literature, and whose strict grammar rules they remembered today.

... [Mr. Lin's] Zen-like presence in a notoriously non-Zen-like environment offered students a unique outlook on the world. Long after Mr. Lin retired, some alumni started a Facebook page,“Fans of Tek Young Lin,” and many kept in touch with him.

... During the interview last week, Mr. Lin said he was now traveling the country to try to reunite with the nine surviving members of his World War II battalion.

... [Mr. Lin] said he now understood that he might have crossed a line.

“At the time it seemed it happened and it was done, but apparently it wasn’t, and if I had in any way harmed them, hurt them, I am truly, truly sorry,” he said. “I hope if they have been hurt, they will overcome that hurt, and I should be very happy to help in any way I can.”

It's a fascinating story, and my synopsis does justice to neither the Times profile of Mr. Lin nor their original reportage on Horace Mann. Please check it out. 

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Comments

  1. It is ridiculous for people to think it's wrong or evil to find some teenage young adults [under age] sexually attractive, because of course they can be, just like older adults. Comparing this to [for example] some men and woman being sexually attracted to children [pre-adolescent] is as different as night and day IMO. Something is seriously wrong with people sexually attracted to children.

    That said, it's also wrong to act on those attractions, especially when it regards someone you have power and authority over. At least IMO it's morally wrong. And of course it's illegal. Underage teenagers may appear in many ways adult [at least physically], but they aren't, and their brains and emotions aren't fully mature.

    Mr. Lin may be 'sensitive' and artistic, this doesn't excuse his irresponsible and criminal behavior. Maybe the students he slept with don't care, but I bet my next paycheck that their parent[s] / guardians at the time when they were underage would and do care a great deal. I know if my young teenage son or daughter was 'seduced' [I prefer hit on,actually] by a teacher or authority figure, I'd be BS.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 24, 2012 12:12:04 PM


  2. When are they going to expose the Catholic pedophile priest and the higher ups in the Catholic Church who hid these criminals and the Popes involvement in it or failure to stop the rape of children by his Catholic Religious leaders? We are all waiting to see and hear this information. How much money does the Catholic Church pay to keep the truth out of the media?

    Posted by: Dave | Jun 24, 2012 12:47:48 PM


  3. @Dave,

    You don't get out much? Don't stay current? The Catholic Church sex scandals discussed and exposed for quite some time now. Now I'd admit, other religions and their sex abuse scandals [like Jews and Muslims for example] have managed to keep their scandals far more under wraps compared to the RC Church. I don't think prosecutors have gone far enough with the RC Church sex abuse scandals, but at least it's openly and publicly discussed. Can't say the same for other religions and institutions.

    There has also been, IMO,a lack of reporting and coverage of sex abuse within academia and the teaching profession, from grade school to high ed. It's clear to me there's a problem with those in authority over children and young adults [teachers, coaches, especially] and sexual abuse. And it's probably just as bad as the RC Church and other religions and institutions. It seems obvious to me that child sex abusers and sexual deviants with attractions to children and young adults gravitate towards professions where they have the greatest access to them. Likewise, it seems to me that people with 'control' issues also gravitate towards certain professions where they have greater access to control others, children, young adults and adults. Intelligent people can figure out what those professions are.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 24, 2012 1:02:02 PM


  4. @RATBASTARD- You're absolutely right. I hope those poor guys weren't emotionally, sexually,psychologically scarred by Lin's actions. And I think he should face some sortof inquiry, and punishment-though, suited to his age and the nature of his crimes if convicted. Ughh what a horrible thing to discover..... and there should be a discussion on how teachers, professors can be close to their students, be good mentors- without seducing and, in many cases- raping them!!

    Posted by: scott | Jun 24, 2012 1:19:43 PM


  5. "At the time it seemed it happened and it was done, but apparently it wasn’t, and if I had in any way harmed them, hurt them, I am truly, truly sorry,” he said. “I hope if they have been hurt, they will overcome that hurt, and I should be very happy to help in any way I can.”

    Even when these deviants are the cause of the problem, they can't help but try to see themselves as the solution.

    It seems to be a classic formula for abuse: an authority figure looks for weakness - of some kind - in those he's responsible for, and then exploits that weakness for his own sexual gratification. This kind of relationship can be nothing but predatory.

    Posted by: Nat | Jun 24, 2012 1:47:18 PM


  6. I had to read the whole story to make sense of Brandon's two-paragraph intro.

    Posted by: tcw | Jun 24, 2012 2:14:32 PM


  7. TCW:

    I read your comment, and noted that I'd omitted a necessary comma in the second paragraph, which probably made the whole thing a little incomprehensible. Is it better now?

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Jun 24, 2012 2:32:28 PM


  8. Holy cows. I find myself in perfect agreement with ratbastard's thoughtful post.

    It is the power differential that is the most disturbing. Beyond that, for legal purposes we simply have to draw a line somewhere and observe it.

    Posted by: melvin | Jun 24, 2012 2:48:04 PM


  9. Holy cows. I find myself in perfect agreement with ratbastard's thoughtful post.

    It is the power differential that is the most disturbing. Beyond that, for legal purposes we simply have to draw a line somewhere and observe it.

    Posted by: melvin | Jun 24, 2012 2:48:05 PM


  10. Reading the comments here I see people dont read history very much. I was a real early bloomer, I was 8. By 9 I was the man I am now . People forget that the age of consent that we have now is quite new. In 1880 in the Us was 10-12, depending, yes, 10-12. We duid not get to the age we are now till the 1920's. Then it was 16-18. I am not saying anything is correct. But the age we deal with now is something new, not old.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 24, 2012 3:06:37 PM


  11. "But the age we deal with now is something new, not old."

    What exactly is your point, in relation to the comments made?

    We know much more about psychology, child psychology, and power dynamics than we did a century ago, just as we know that tossing virgins into volcanoes doesn't guarantee success for the new year.

    The age of majority is not entirely arbitrary, but if anything, it is set 3-4 years too low from what it should be. But it's a pragmatic choice that I think we should live with, and rigidly enforce against those who don't have the basic sense to understand why it's there.


    Posted by: Nat | Jun 24, 2012 3:45:12 PM


  12. This sounds pretty harmless. Its difficult to get our minds around though because we want things simple - sex before 18 with an adult equals extreme psychological damage and abuse of power. Its just not always that way. However, we choose for preventative reasons to err on the side of caution because it often can be damaging to the minor. Like laws against speeding - they are there to protect the public but don't result in a car accident every time.

    Posted by: canadian | Jun 24, 2012 5:18:02 PM


  13. How many of us can honestly say that they did not have a gay crush on one of our teachers in high school?

    Posted by: jaragon | Jun 24, 2012 6:27:18 PM


  14. I like this guy. This seems harmless from the perspective of both parties. Beneficial even. I don't care a single bit.

    Posted by: Solomon | Jun 24, 2012 9:18:49 PM


  15. Firstly, I can't believe Towleroad didn't post anything about the original article! I just spend the last few hours reading it and hundreds of comments it generated at the site. Lin was one of MANY sexual preditors that operated at Horace Mann for DECADES, in the majority of cases enabled by the administration. Lin's name came up more than once in the comments, by HM Alums, who were surprised he wasn't named or alluded to in the original article.

    Some of the comments here are unbelievable. Read the entire story, guys, these boys were victims of abuse and rape, just like the boys Jerry Sandusky groomed. In at least one case, the victim ended up commiting suicide.

    @Solomon: I truly hope you were making an attempt at a joke.

    Posted by: jim | Jun 24, 2012 11:40:51 PM


  16. Only one who is religious would have a mind warped enough to believe abusing youth is acceptable. They should all be dealt with, with extreme force, for the sake of humanity.

    It would seem that even the more prestigious private schools are rife with corruption.

    Posted by: Sarm | Jun 25, 2012 12:11:18 AM


  17. @Jim This was one teacher's experience. And he apparently didn't force anyone to do anything they didn't want to do. I'm neutral on this one. When I was 14 I had an older lover and I was just as mature then as I am now. And I have met men in their late forties who were extremely immature, so to me the age of consent is arbitrary. I don't think of the relationship I had as predatory at all. You know how immature people mature? They have EXPERIENCES. Actually, I think it is overbearing on the part of the government to enforce laws like this.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 25, 2012 4:02:37 AM


  18. Like I posted earlier, there's a very obvious, in-your-face with sexually and emotionally deviant pedophiles and pederasts within the teaching profession. The reasons for this should be obvious to most reasonably intelligent people, and that is it provides ready access to youth and plausible deniability for the adult offender.

    Two things that need repeating:

    1) Humans on average to not fully mature and have fully developed brains until at the earliest late teens, mostly early 20s. And their under developed brain functions include parts of the brain that involve impulse control.

    2) Adults who troll and 'seduce' under age youth do so not just because they're physically attractive [and as I posted earlier, of course many teenagers are physically matured and attractive] but also because of the uneven relationship and the power and control it affords. This type of relationship is rife for abuse, and this is the primary reason fro 'arbitrary' laws and taboos.

    And as another poster noted, why do so many deviants even when caught in the act or trying to defend their deviant nature, act like they did nothing wrong, and then proceed to try and ingratiate themselves further into the situation? Narcissism and control.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 25, 2012 8:11:20 AM


  19. Sorry for the multiple typos in my above post; it's early, I'm sleepy.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 25, 2012 8:15:54 AM


  20. Am disturbed at the actions of this former teacher. When we are children, we look to adults for leadership, acceptance, understanding, and safety. I was sexually abused by my father’s best friend, from the ages of 11-14 (Later I found out that he was doing the same to his Son). He would always ask my Father if he could take me for the weekend, and never asked me if I wanted to go or not. The Guy would make me sleep naked in his bed with him every night. He would take my hand and make me hold his penis while he preformed certain sex acts all night. Even when he was done, I still had to hold it all night and God Help me if I was to move my hand away. He then started to take me to a lake that was about 3 hours away from his home and we would stay in his travel trailer on the water, and when he touched me, he would always say "If you play with mine I will play with yours" and I would try to fake sleeping or pulled away, but that would not stop him. He liked to take me out onto the lake on his boat into a Cove and he would anchor there, and we would get into the water for a swim, and he would threaten me and tell me that if I did not do what he wanted me to do, he would leave me there for the wildlife to eat me and assured me that NO ONE will ever find me. When I was 14, I finally got the nerve up to tell my parents (Father and Step Mother) about it, and that was a horrible idea at the time. My father beat me from one end of our mobile home to the other, calling me a Liar, and that his friends would never do that kind of stuff to children. I also told them I was gay, but I knew I was at a much younger age. Let me keep this next statement politically correct...I ALLREADY KNEW I WAS GAY PRIOR TO THE SEXUAL ABUSE, IT DID NOT TURN ME GAY. A few years ago my father in tears, called and told me that his friend had died. He was hit by a car walking down the Road...I Told Him I was glad the bastard was dead and that I hope they bury him face first, so he could dig that path to hell a little faster. Although this was 20+ years ago, it still affects my private relationship with my partner, and it stirs up memories of fear and shame, and I try hard everyday to assure him that the sexual issues are not his fault. I am being Cautious about this post, because Gay Men within the LGBT community have had this stigma held over them for many years that they are all "Child Molesters"...I am scared everyday, that this will cost me my relationship with the greatest person in my life, My Partner Wes. He is patient, understanding, and loves me unconditionally. This is my story, and take it with what you will, but I have to let my voice be heard on this subject, because there are a lot of people who have or has traumatically been affected by adults who play on the emotions and safety of the most weakest of people...OUR CHILDREN. I have never shared this much of my story outside of my private life, and I pray to God that no one ever has to be scared to stand up and let their voices be heard...Thank You For Reading This and I Hope it Might Be Helpful to at least one person today...Kent Poteete

    Posted by: Kent Poteete | Jun 25, 2012 8:45:01 AM


  21. Jaragon: All of my teachers in high school were Nuns. I can honestly say, I didn't have a crush on any of them. But Sonny Palumbo who sat across the aisle from me, WOW! thats another story.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 25, 2012 4:38:53 PM


  22. It just goes to show you that not all child molesters are Catholic priests. Just most of them.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 25, 2012 4:42:09 PM


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