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June 8, 2006

Baxter victims panel to disband

From:, ME - Jun 8, 2006

Associated Press

AUGUSTA — A state panel that oversaw compensation of more than $17 million to victims of abuse at Maine's Baxter School for the Deaf has completed its job and will disband June 16. The Baxter School Compensation Authority was formed in 2001 and first met the following year to determine compensation for students who had been physically and sexually abused at the state-run school on Mackworth Island in Falmouth.

Abuses by staff members, including top administrators, were alleged to have occurred through the 1960s and '70s and were investigated by the state Attorney General's Office in the early 1980s. In 2001, Gov. Angus King apologized to the victims on behalf of the state.

When it completed its work, the compensation authority had adjudicated 361 claims and found 340 of them to be eligible for compensation totaling $17.6 million, according to state Senate President Beth Edmonds' office. The settlements, most of which came in sums of $25,000, $60,000 or $100,000, have come from a series of appropriations over the last few years.

"This is a true example of government doing the right thing to right egregious wrongs which had been in the past," said Edmonds, D-Freeport, a leader of legislative efforts to fund the settlements.

In a symbolic gesture to put the events in the past, a vacant farmhouse at the Baxter school where many of the abuses were alleged to have occurred was burned down in April 2004.

© 2006 Associated Press.
© 2005, Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc.