A Clemson University student was found dead over the weekend – but the speculation surrounding his untimely end is coalescing around his former high school.
Bowen Ellis, 19, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina was found unresponsive in his bed on Saturday afternoon – his dog lying beside him. An autopsy report has yet to be conducted but sources familiar with the situation tell us Ellis died of a drug overdose.
For a decade, Ellis was a student at the prestigious Porter-Gaud preparatory school in Charleston, S.C. As our readers will recall, this is the Episcopalian school that was rocked earlier this year by allegations of sexual abuse involving a “religious figurehead” on campus.
Ellis attended Porter Gaud from first grade until his sophomore year – but left the school and finished his high school education at Wando.
According to our sources, Ellis was part of Porter-Gaud’s vestry program during his time on campus. Why does this matter? Well, at least three other students associated with this program have committed suicide in recent years – all of them allegedly having experienced abuse at the hands of their “spiritual mentor.”
We reported on one of these suicides in this exclusive report published in late October – right around the time Porter-Gaud was reliving a previous sexual abuse scandal that took place during the 1970s and early 1980s.
Our original reporting prompted a written response from the school sent to its entire mailing list (parents, alumni, etc.).
“Porter-Gaud has received no allegations of sexual abuse regarding any current or recent faculty or staff member,” head of school DuBose Egleston and board of trustees chairman Hank Cheves wrote in a letter specifically drafted in response to our report.
Egleston and Cheves’ statement was qualified, however, by an acknowledgment that the school had previously been made aware of certain inappropriate “behaviors or interactions.”
“In the past, Porter-Gaud has been made aware of a limited number of behaviors or interactions that could be characterized as inappropriate, as defined by our Code of Conduct, but in no way constituted sexual abuse,” the letter continued. “In those cases, Porter-Gaud took action from remedial training in our School’s policies to corrective behavior protocols to more severe personnel measures.”
One of these “personnel measures” was reportedly taken in the aftermath of a May 2017 meeting between Egleston, Cheves and a parent of one of the victims – during which damning details of the alleged abuse were brought to light.
To read our latest report on this scandal, click here.
This news site will continue to investigate the latest round of sexual abuse allegations at Porter-Gaud. We understand these inquiries may be uncomfortable to some, but we believe we have an obligation to pursue them.
Stay tuned …
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