Update: The Loved One

My August magazine story “The Loved One” chronicled the life of Sajan Christensen, a Beverly teen in jail accused of murdering a man at a park, and his troubled life, from an abusive orphanage in the Ukraine all the way to a home for troubled teens working toward independent living. For several years, his path crossed that of a teacher and school principal named Steve Myers, who adopted Christensen from the Ukraine. Turned out Myers had a troubled past as well, at one point telling police he had engaged in sexual activity with teenagers and later resigning from his job as principal of a high school in Amherst amid accusations of inappropriate behavior aimed at a teenaged boy.

Several former students of Myers told Boston magazine that they had been abused by Myers decades ago when they were teens. And now, since the story was published, it appears that additional alleged victims are stepping forward.

According to Connie Durant—who worked for Myers at a summer school that Myers founded in the 1970s and who says she is in contact with nine men claiming that Myers abused them—another man has come forward. “I also have victim #10,” Durant wrote to me in an email a week ago. “He is wanting to remain anonymous at this time, but his story will certainly help. He was one of Steve’s ‘favorites.’” And just yesterday Durant told me that an 11th man has also contacted her claiming that Myers abused him.

Myers, who was born in Colorado, spent the bulk of his 40-plus-year teaching career in northern California and Colorado. His precise whereabouts are unknown, though, through his Colorado-based attorney, he did decline to comment for our initial story. The weekly news magazine Westword, in Denver, picked up on “The Loved One” and wrote about it. Westword author Melanie Asmar told me she has tried to find out if Myers recently resumed his teaching career in Colorado, but hit a dead end after contacting the state’s department of education and several school districts.

Finally, Durant says she is making progress retaining a civil attorney to file a lawsuit against Myers on behalf of his alleged victims. A Philadelphia-based law firm representing one of the sexual abuse victims of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky recently responded to Durant, writing her that, “We are interested in looking into the case against Stephen Myers … .” The attorney told Durant a week ago that the firm will begin researching the case.

“As a group,” Durant tells me, the article “strengthened our resolve, adhered us even more securely to our mission to reach our goals, and was extremely motivating. We also learned so much that we didn’t know about Sage and his story, and our goals have expanded to include helping him in any way we can.”