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Claudia Barker sits at her dining room table with photos and diaries she kept when she was a student at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans, La. Barker said she was 16 when Robert Dupont, her history teacher and debate coach, began having sex with her. Louisiana's Women want sex Du Pont of consent at the time was Claudia Barker sits in her dining room in New Orleans, La. Barker said she was 16 when Robert Dupont, her history teacher and debate coach at Mt. Carmel Academy, began having sex with her. Photos of Robert Dupont, left, and Claudia Barker, right, from around the time that Barker says she and Dupont were having a sexual relationship that began when she was his year-old student at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans, La.
A photo taken by Claudia Barker shows Robert Dupont, her teacher and debate coach at Mount Carmel Academy, at the time she says they were having a sexual relationship. Claudia Barker, then 15 and a high school junior, was on an overnight trip with her Mount Carmel Academy debate team in November when her coach and history teacher told her to come by his hotel room after curfew.
That night was the first time Barker and Robert Dupont, a charismatic educator who was a favorite among students, kissed. Dupont called her at home several days later and proposed that they have sex — which they did just a couple of weeks after her 16th birthday, according to Barker.
By law, the years-long relationship Barker says she had with Dupont — which she chronicled in detailed diary entries and also disclosed contemporaneously to a handful of friends — was statutory rape. Yet Barker, who Dupont allegedly continued pursuing into adulthood, chose to remain silent about the molestation for decades, for a variety of reasons. They included sympathy for his wife and family as well as guilt for what she long perceived to be Women want sex Du Pont active participation in an illicit romance.
But last month, Barker, the year-old chief development officer for the charter network FirstLine Schools, said she decided to break her silence after watching several women come forward with allegations against literary biographer Blake Bailey. Bailey, besides facing at least three rape allegations, has also been accused of grooming several of his former eighth-grade students while he taught at Lusher Middle School in the s.
Those students say he unduly pressured them into sex after they reached the age of consent, with one - a daughter of Barker's friend - accusing him of rape and another alleging attempted rape. Dupont, who turns 75 this month, is now the chairman of the history department at the University of New Orleans. Mount Carmel Principal Beth Ann Simno said in a statement Friday that none of the school's current administrators were there at the time of the alleged abuse.
Barker said she never reported the abuse allegations directly to UNO. They said they have no record of other similar complaints against Dupont. His political beliefs were a breath of fresh air and provided plenty of opportunities for friendly banter, Barker recalled. She was 14 and a sophomore when her diary first mentioned that she had ed the debate team, which Dupont coached. Dupont would often tease her and play silly games, like when he would pretend to strangle her in exasperation or race down the school hallway. But then, on a ride home from a debate team swimming party a couple of months after her 15th birthday, Dupont dropped a hint that he was paying particularly close attention to her, Barker said.
Then came the debate team trip to Lafayette on the weekend of Nov. The publisher of a bestselling biography about writer Philip Roth is pausing its promotion and shipping of the book after the former Lusher Mi…. Barker, curious, waited a few minutes and went over. That night, Dupont kissed and grinded against her for a while. She remembered feeling overwhelmed and confused. No, no problemsI just find you incredibly desirable. Barker recorded her disbelief in a diary entry. She wrote down her astonished reaction. I can act accordingly.
Barker said by then she had started drawing black squares in her entries to indicate whenever Dupont initiated physical contact. Including Women want sex Du Pont for Nov. None involved sexual intercourse. But that changed on March 23,two weeks after her 16th birthday. Her diary reflects Dupont molesting her regularly from that point on, mostly at his home on weekends, when his wife worked her retail job.
When she was a senior, Barker said she and Dupont were together at his house on Christmas Eve when three other members Women want sex Du Pont the debate team came over to deliver a gift. Swegel, a good friend of Barker, said recently that the episode essentially confirmed suspicions that arose after debate team members began realizing how often Dupont and Barker would be apart from the squad on trips.
Allegations that he groomed several former students at Lusher Middle School for sexual encounters when they were of age continue to mount for …. But no one reported Dupont. Barker assumed everything with Dupont would end after she graduated from Mount Carmel in She said he kept pursuing her well into her adulthood.
Barker said Dupont kept her close by having her help on his unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the state House of Representatives in She was Women want sex Du Pont 17 when he left his wife for several months after the race, moved into a nearby apartment, and practically began dating her openly. But Dupont eventually returned to his marriage. She confirmed to Swegel what had happened with Dupont, both women said. On a beach trip with friends early in their college years, Barker also confided in a boy she met on the debate tournament circuit, James Owsley, who competed for Jesuit High School.
Barker tried therapy. But she recalled that her therapist treated her as if she was going through a bad break-up rather than surviving a case of abuse. So she called his wife and told her what had been going on. Barker said she cut off nearly all contact with Dupont inafter he wrote her a lengthy letter outlining his perspective on their illicit relationship.
Barker said she lost the letter during Hurricane Katrina, but she had kept a copy of the text. Barker said that convinced her to meet Dupont for lunch and give casual friendship with him a try.
But the meal ended with him inviting her to sneak away on an out-of-town business trip with him. Furious, Barker said she told Dupont to never contact her again. And tomorrow. And the next day. Barker, then 31, said that was an important nudge toward coming to grips with what she had endured. She told her mother that she had been right about the nature of her relationship with Dupont. Barker, now married for 29 years, also said she told two former Mt. Carmel teachers about the abuse after bumping into them at a holiday party before Katrina struck in Because of statutes of limitation in the s, the deadline for Barker to file criminal charges lapsed when she was This happens all the time in schools.
And I want women who have held this inside to come forward. She pointed to the words Women want sex Du Pont penned on the day she resolved to cut Dupont out of her life as much as possible in a city as small as New Orleans.
Ramon Antonio Vargas at rvargas theadvocate. Edit Close. Toggle. Close 1 of Provided By Claudia Barker. Claudia Barker. Claudia Barker is pictured here when she was she was student at Mount Carmel Academy. Robert Dupont. University of New Orleans website. Author Blake Bailey accused of abusing ex-Lusher students' trust for sex; denies illegal conduct.
Mount Carmel statement on Claudia Barker. Blake Bailey publisher halts shipping, promotion of new book after ex-Lusher students' allegations. Top stories in New Orleans in Women want sex Du Pont inbox Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. up today. More claims against Blake Bailey: Ex-Lusher student alleges author used 'bait and wait' to initiate sex.
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