Kat Sullivan put up 3 billboards to stop sexual abuse and call out her alleged rapist.
Sullivan was 17 years old in 1998 when she transferred to the Emma Willard School. She says she became fast friends with her soccer coach, Scott Sargent. They began talking over email, and his interactions became sexually explicit. One night, she says Sargent raped her at his apartment, by tying her hands behind her back and gagging her, while turning up the music so no one next door could hear.
Sullivan says she gave explicit details to administrators, but her school’s headmistress said she’d violated their code of conduct and told her to withdraw or they’d tell the colleges she had applied to.
Sullivan says she was sent on a bus to New Orleans with $200 and spent months living on the street. It would take her almost 20 years for the school to hire outside counsel, who found reports of abuse over 50 years involving staff. One of them confirms two students found explicit emails from Sargent to Sullivan in a printer in 1998.
According to the school’s report, Sullivan never mentioned rape. But Sargent admitted wrongdoing and was allowed to resign. The school recommended him for a teaching job at another school a year later.
Sullivan got the courage to report her rape 18 years later, but was told too much time has passed, so she put 3 billboards up as a way to warn others about her abuser, and advise victims that the law only allows them so much time to report incidents.
After the signs went up, Sargent resigned from his job at a historical society in CT.