We’ve heard from the candidates. We’ve heard from the parties. But now, we’re hearing from the victim. The man who was sexually abused by Jack Schriber in the 1970s breaks his silence, detailing the irreparable harm the abuse caused him.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Schriber, 70, had admitted that he had a sexual relationship with an underage student while he was a fine arts teacher at Central High School. Schriber suspended his campaign for a City Council At-Large seat after the case file was released. The case file contained an apology letter that Schriber wrote to the victim. The victim, who Eyewitness News has elected not to identify, is now in his mid-50s. He is married and has kids.
However, for many years following the abuse, the victim said he lived in a state of confusion an inadequacy, he said. The victim never sought professional counseling, he said.
The victim disclosed the abuse to police in mid-July. The victim said he was an EVSC student when the illicit, nonconsensual, sexual relationship began, according to the case file. When police detective met with Schriber in August, Schriber authored an apology letter to the victim in which he admitted to the sexual relationship.
After lengthy conversations with Bob Freeman, the news director of Eyewitness News, the victim agreed to an interview.
“I will admit that it’s difficult to accept congratulations on my life from [Schriber],” the victim said. “He congratulates me in the letter for being married. It’s difficult to accept those kinds of things from him. And yet, I would want to offer him, at least, some gratitude for admitting to this event. I know it’s difficult for the both of us.
Jack Schriber has admitted that this happened. He showed some courage for which I thank him. I’m grateful that he had admitted this. I must say to him, if I could, his therapy was worth it.”
Criminal charges could not be filed in the case because it was past the statute of limitations, prosecutors said. Schriber immediately suspended his campaign and he plans on returning campaign donations by year’s end. The victim said the disclosure of the abuse was not politically motivated, by any means.
The victim said he hasn’t lived in Evansville or the State of Indiana for more than three decades.
“What compelled me to come forward was the constant [opening] of this wound that I carried with me by hearing all of the abuse stories that have broken in the news since the 1990s,” the victim said.
A recent case involving sexual abuse allegations by a former congressman is what finally drove the victim to disclose, he said.
“That just really caused me to feel that I had to let this come out and get some kind of resolution at this time in my life,” the victim said.
The prolonged sexual abuse began when the victim was between the ages of 15 and 17, the victim said. Schriber, who was a teacher at Central High School at the time, met the victim through the fine arts program.
The illicit sexual encounters primarily occurred at the school, the victim said. On one occasion, the victim was driven to Schriber’s house to have sex during school hours, the victim said.
“It lasted for a year, a full year and maybe a few months,” the victim said. “And then, Jack Schriber said, ‘it’s your move now.'”
The relationship ended immediately after that, the victim said.
The victim said he notified another Central High School teacher about the sexual abuse but the teacher reportedly dismissed the victim’s claim. The victim also notified a college professor about the sexual abuse but instead of reporting it, the professor made a sexual advance toward the victim, he said.
“I told two people about this, teachers who should have been able to help me,” the victim said. “They were people I respected and wanted to be like. In both cases, they took Jack Schriber’s side. We have laws to prevent sexual relationships with minors whether they are heterosexual or homosexual relationships. These laws should be vigilantly enforced by all.”
While being questioned by Evansville Police detectives, Schriber cracked, admitting to the illegal relationship. His reputation, both politically and professionally, are forever tarnished.
Prior to Monday, he was extremely well-liked and extremely well-connected, evident by the nearly $60,000 he raised for his campaign.
“I would like to say that Jack Schriber is well liked in the community because he helped many young people without causing them the trouble that he caused me,” the victim said. “The problem is that it is 40 years later and times are truly different.
We just now seem to be grasping the importance of taking action on sexual misconduct. And we begin to credit those who have suffered sexual abuse. At the same time, there’s a new openness and acceptance in our lives that might have prevented this if it were unfolding now. I don’t think we were ready for this in 1979. I know that I wasn’t.”
In the letter Schriber penned to the victim, he said, ‘I understand that you are happily married and have children. Good for you.”
For the victim, it was hard to digest.
“I will admit that it’s difficult to accept congratulations on my life from him,” Schriber said. “He congratulates me in the letter for being married. It’s difficult to accept those kinds of things from him. And yet, I would want to offer him at least some gratitude for admitting to this event. I know it’s difficult for the both of us.”
The victim said Schriber showed courage by admitting to what he had done so long ago. But it could be argued that the victim showed even more.