Former student to accused Gordon School teacher: ‘You sexually abused me’

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lisa Kantor was a 12-year-old 7th grader at the Gordon School when Andrew Cohen was “attempting to be a counselor to her” about family issues.

But she alleges Cohen then sexually abused her several times over the next several months.

It would be 40 years, in the spring of 2017, before that and other allegations would be publicly revealed against the now 69-year-old Cohen.

Last year, Kantor told East Providence police Cohen sexually assaulted her, both at the school and in other locations.

The police incident report filed last September indicates a girl who asked for her last name to be anonymous made “the initial complaint” last year.

“She recalled speaking to the East Providence Police in regards to another female who was assaulted by Cohen,” the report states. “She was unaware of what happened after that.”

Kantor is pleased with the current investigation, but adamant about the way the claims were handled 40 years ago.

“That was a major lapse on the part of Gordon School and the East Providence Police Department at the time,” Kantor said. “People were seeing it and turning the other way because they didn’t know what to do with it.”

Kantor told police last year that she called Cohen when she was in college and said, “You sexually abused me.”

She said Cohen responded, “You seemed to like it at the time.”

Cohen continued, according to Kantor, saying, “It’s our culture making you think this is wrong. It’s perfectly acceptable in other cultures.”

We called Cohen without a response, then went to his home where an unidentified woman answered.

“Nope,” she answered quickly when we asked if we could talk to Cohen about the allegations. “He’s not available right now.”

According to a letter sent to parents from the school on Monday, Cohen has denied the allegations by Kantor and the other alleged victims.

“There were allegations that were equally credible then as they are now. But at the time [police and the school] didn’t do what was right,” Kantor said.

Kantor added that both the school and police are doing a great job with the current investigation, which we’re told is ongoing by police and under review by the Rhode Island Attorney General.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.