Were you or a loved one sexually abused by Steve Carpenter, a former basketball coach at Tennessee’s McCallie School? At least two former students have accused Carpenter, now deceased, of sexually abusing them during his time at the McCallie School, according to the Times Free Press. Carpenter worked at the school from 1989 to 2000.
If you or a loved one were abused, you are not alone. Our experienced sexual abuse attorneys are here to help. Some abuse survivors may be eligible to pursue justice by filing a private lawsuit against the McCallie School. Learn more from our lawyers that represent private school sexual abuse victims.
We understand the powerful storm of emotions that sexual abuse can raise. Survivors often struggle to deal with painful feelings of anger and grief, shame and embarrassment. Just know that this was not your fault. You are not to blame. Sexual abuse is unacceptable. You deserve justice. We believe you, and we believe your story deserves to be heard.
A former basketball coach at one of the nation’s most prestigious boarding schools has been accused of sexual abuse. Steve Carpenter served as the head basketball coach at the McCallie School from 1989 to 2000, but new reports suggest that the coach may have sexually abused at least two students during his tenure at the Chattanooga boarding school. McCallie died in 2016.
School officials are now investigating the allegations. In an email sent to the McCallie community, school administrators told parents and former students that the boarding school had hired Fisher and Phillips, a large law firm, to conduct a comprehensive review of Carpenter’s time at the school.
According to McCallie School spokesman Jay Mayfield, the allegations have been reported to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
McCallie officials have asked sexual abuse survivors to step forward, writing, “we invite anyone who may have been sexually abused by Mr. Carpenter or by any McCallie faculty or staff – as well as anyone who has information regarding such abuse – to come forward.”
Note that Fisher and Phillips LLP has also been retained to serve as the school’s legal counsel. These are the McCallie School’s attorneys. We would urge survivors of sexual abuse to retain their own legal counsel before, or in lieu of, contacting Fisher and Phillips. This is to ensure that your rights are protected first and foremost.
McCallie also reiterated its commitment to student safety: “the health, safety and wellbeing of our students is our first priority as a school. Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable. It is at odds with our values as a school and with the entire profession of education.”
The letter, signed by school Headmaster A. Lee Burns, also notes that Fisher and Phillips will undertake a “comprehensive review” of school policies and practices. Faculty and staff will undergo professional training.
Prior to his death, Steve Carpenter faced unrelated legal trouble in Georgia, where he moved after leaving the McCallie School. He was arrested at an Everclear concert for taking a swing at a police officer. Reportedly, Carpenter became extremely intoxicated at the concert, which was held at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton, Georgia. A deputy from the local Sheriff’s Department attempted to help Carpenter when he fell out of his chair, but the man swung at the officer and was wrestled to the ground. His blood alcohol level was .366.
Later that month, it was reported that Carpenter was no longer serving as the basketball coach at Ridgeland High School. Officials for the school district said that Carpenter had failed to complete his Georgia teaching certification.
These are not the first sexual abuse allegations to be leveled against a McCallie School employee. Former student activities director Jeffrey Barton was accused of molesting an eighth-grade student in 1993. The student told his mother and authorities that Barton had fondled him on an overnight trip.
Barton was subsequently suspended and ultimately fired, though he did not face criminal charges at the time. Instead, he filed suit against the McCallie School for wrongful termination, eventually reaching a settlement that requires the school to reply “no comment” to any questions on the abuse allegations.
Nearly two decades later, Barton was again accused of abuse, this time by a student at a military academy in California where Barton worked between 1997 and 2001. The allegations spurred other abuse survivors to come forward. Eventually, seven of Barton’s former students, spanning schools in three states, had publicly accused Barton of abuse, including the former McCallie School student.
Barton ultimately faced two counts of sodomy, along with 14 counts of oral copulation by force. He was found guilty of the crimes in 2017 and sentenced to serve 48 years in prison.