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Lesson's Learned - Recap

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The episode begins with a really old man walking into the precinct and waiting to talk to someone. Nick comes by and the old man says “I need to talk to a detective”. “It’s about this letter I received” he says and shows Nick a letter. Nick is too preoccupied and says he will attend him in a few minutes. While he sits waiting, the old man is disturbed by all the various kinds of people that are being brought in by the cops and by the general chaos all around. In the end he can take it no more and leaves. Once back home, he sits reading the letter while having a drink, with some classical music playing in the background. He looks visibly disturbed by the contents of the letter.

Next the old man is shown hanging from the ceiling by his neck. Nick and team are at the scene. Turns out, the old man named Lassiter was a retired private school English teacher. A neighbor found him and called Nick, as his card, was found on the old man. “Must have taken from my desk” Nick concludes. Nick tells Olivia how the old man had come to the squad room last night. Nick sees the letter and in it the person has written how Lassiter abused his trust and how it has affected his whole life. The letter also hints at sexual abuse. The letter is signed by someone named Kurt, but there is no last name. The team decides to talk to the people at Manor Hill Academy the school where Harold Lassiter was employed as a teacher.

Olivia and Nick speak to Lennox who is the headmaster. “This is disturbing if its true” Lennox says after reading the letter. Lennox says he has never heard of any such thing in the 9 years he has been at Manor Hill. Rollins and Finn meet up with an old friend of Finn’s named Damon, who was a student of Manor Hill. They ask Damon about Lassiter and he says “he was a good teacher”. Damon says he heard things about Lassiter. Seems Lassiter got a bit “touchy feely” with his students. Damon admits Lassiter tried to do the same even with him, but Damon warned him never to do it again and threatened to break his arm if he again tried. Damon didn’t report it, as he didn’t want to jeopardize his academic career.

The team locates Kurt, with Damon’s help. Olivia and Nick then question Kurt. He admits he wrote the letter some time ago. Kurt then begins panicking, worried that Lassiter might have filed a complaint. “I never called him, I never went near him” Kurt says. Kurt admits he wrote the letter, as his new therapist felt it would help. Kurt is told about Lassiter’s death and says he didn’t kill Lassiter although he had thought about it. Olivia asks Kurt if he knows any of Lassiter’s other victims. Kurt agrees to reluctantly give the two of them the names, but says that Lassiter’s victims are still recovering and are still in pain.

Olivia and Nick later have a talk with all the victims, and each of them is reluctant to reveal anything. “Keeping the abuse secret doesn’t make it go away” Olivia reasons. One of the victims named Nathan isn’t at all comfortable talking about the issue and therefore leaves the room in a huff. The rest remain and reveal how Lassiter sexually abused them. Olivia is then shocked to find out from the victims that there were teachers named Strepek and Morton, who also sexually abused them. Olivia is informed by Nick just then that, Lassiter’s death was adjudged a suicide. “We don’t have to stay” Nick tells her, but just then more victims walk into the room.

They all have been called there by Kurt. “Ya we do” Olivia says, after seeing them. Later at the precinct ADA Barba is informed by Olivia and Rollins how 4 teachers of Manor Hill were “serial abusers”. Of the 4 only Morton and Mercer are alive. But Mercer is “half way around the world”. Barba suggests they lie to Morton that they know he is guilty, so he turns against the school. Basically, if the team is to prove that the school was complicit, they would need Morton to confirm this. Rollins and Finn pay Morton a visit and while talking to him discover that he isn’t mentally sound.

In the meantime, a former Manor Hill teacher named Walter Tompkins comes in to talk to the detectives. Tompkins asks if he has been named by any of the students. He then admits that he had sexual relations with three students around 17-18 years of age, in the 70’s. Tompkins says he is there so he can talk to the students he has the relations with. He feels if any of them filed a complaint, it would help for them to confront him about this issue. He adds that no one in Manor Hill knew about his relationships. He also reveals that he didn’t know about the other teachers sexually abusing the students, until recently.

One of the victims named Vincent tells Barba that, his father knew about the abuse and had told the then principal about it, but he did nothing. The problem is both his father and the principal are dead. Barba and Olivia then meet with the headmaster and the chairman of the board of Manor Hill, to reason with them. Olivia says that the “victims would like an apology” from Manor Hill, as it would give them closure. The chairman and the headmaster refuse to do so, as it would open them up to a lawsuit.

The team later finds out that Strepek, one of the abusers was discharged from his duties at Manor Hill before retirement age; he then went to teach at a different school. They find it fishy and feel Strepek was forced to retire by the school. Rollins and Finn then talk to the principal of the school Strepek transferred to. She says she fired Strepek are month after hiring him. She it turns out found Strepek too close to a boy from 8th grade. She did not see any abuse, but was suspicious. She says Manor Hill had given Strepek a “glowing” recommendation. The team then subpoenas the members of the board of Manor Hill.

Later outside a courtroom Barba tells Vincent that he is his star witness, he asks Vincent to recount to the court all that happened with him. Vincent looks unsure but says that he will. Barba then questions all the board member, each of whom denies any wrongdoing. Later, Barba finds Vincent missing from outside the courtroom. Olivia rushes out to search for him. Later Vincent is found passed out with a hooker and some drugs in a hotel room. Barba tells Olivia and Nick that, Vincent’s credibility as a witness has gone out of the window after what he has done. Vincent has gonorrhea, which he says was given to him by Strepek. So the team decides to find out from Strepek’s medical records if he too had the disease.

Later Olivia hands Barba the records and turns out Strepek did have gonorrhea, three weeks before Vincent was diagnosed. Barba is told by the opposing council that Strepek’s report can’t be used as there is a law against sullying the name of the dead. The team then finds out that, Forrester the Chairman of Manor Hill’s board had written a letter to a mother of one of Strepeck’s victims. In the letter he has told the mother that Strepeck has a clean record and couldn’t have done such a thing. Olivia then sees a photo in Forrester’s room and it’s of his son Nathan.

Nathan is the very same guy who walked out of meeting of the victims in the beginning, when Kurt had gathered them all, to talk to Olivia and Nick. Forrester goes to talk to Nathan with Olivia and Nick. Nathan initially denies there was any sexual abuse, but after some prodding he eventually comes out with the truth that Strepek had sexually abused him too. Forrester is shocked by the revelation. Later, Manor Hill publicly apologizes to all the victims. The episode ends at this point.

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Warning: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit season 14 episode 8 guide may contain spoilers
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