Fighting for Survivors of Student Sexual Abuse at Miss Hall’s School

Shepard O’Donnell is now pursuing sexual abuse claims against faculty members at Miss Hall’s School, including former teacher Matthew Rutledge. Miss Hall’s is a prestigious boarding and day school for girls located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Matthew Rutledge is a former Miss Hall’s history teacher, advisor, department chair, coach, resident, and counselor who is accused of sexual abuse and exploitation of students both during their time at the school and after graduation. Rutledge had been employed by the school since 1991 and resigned after being put on administrative leave in March of 2024. Miss Hall’s released a statement claiming that they were ‘initiating a neutral, external investigation’ based on the information that had been received. Since the initial allegation was made public, additional women have come forward stating that Rutledge had also abused them during their time at Miss Hall’s. 

If you think you may have been a victim of sexual abuse by Rutledge, call us for a free, confidential consultation. You will receive dedicated, personal attention from an experienced woman attorney who truly cares and is committed to seeking justice in your case.

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History of Abuse and Exploitation

Melissa Fares, the first victim to come forward, graduated from Miss Hall’s in 2010, and alleged that Rutledge groomed her, sexually abused her, and exploited her both during her time at Miss Hall’s and for some time after. 

Sexual abuse at Miss Hall’s seems to have spanned decades, with the first reports against Rutledge coming in related to his early years of teaching, and more victims may come forward.

The timeline of events known thus far includes:


Bravery of Miss Hall’s Abuse Survivors

The topic was first posted on Facebook to an alumni page of girls who had attended Miss Hall’s. Since then, more have shared their experiences or knowledge of rumors during their time at the school. Within just one week of the first public report, a new Facebook group with over 600 members was created, talking about what had happened at Miss Hall’s. It is unknown whether they were all sexually abused, mistreated, exploited or are simply there in solidarity with those who were. 

There are likely many more victims who have yet to come forward and it is possible that more faculty members are involved. 

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How Victims of Student Sexual Abuse Can Get Compensation

Whether Rutledge will face criminal charges remains unknown but even if he does, those legal proceedings do not entitle victims to financial compensation. To recover monetary damages for student sexual abuse, you will need to file a civil lawsuit not just against the teacher or faculty member himself but also against the school that knew or should have known of his misconduct.

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How Long Do I Have to Bring A Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse?

In Massachusetts, a lawsuit for sexual abuse against minors must be brought within 35 years of the abuse or seven years of the discovery of damages. As difficult as it may be, we encourage you to reach out to a lawyer as soon as you feel strong enough so that you can get the compensation you deserve.

Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience and can have life-long physical and psychological effects on survivors. Conversations about sexual abuse can be hard but our compassionate and supportive attorneys are ready to listen to your story. Call us at (800) 451-4471. There is no fee to reach out and share your experience – our conversations will always be kept confidential – and we will tell you honestly if we think you have a valid claim. If so, we will aggressively fight for your right to financial compensation and hold the perpetrator accountable for the terrible harm done to you.


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