New Hampshire

Report: 13 Sexual Misconduct Claims Against Ex-St. Paul's School Staffers Substantiated

Officials at one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country say they have substantiated claims of sexual misconduct by 13 former faculty and staffers, some of them accused of raping students while on campus.

St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, released a report Monday detailing allegations against a dozen men and one woman who worked at the school between 1952 and 1999. The list includes former teachers, chaplains and an admissions officer.

The investigation was sparked by the case of Howard White, who taught at St. Paul's from 1967 to 1971. The former Episcopal priest pleaded guilty last week to sexually assaulting students from St. George's School in Rhode Island in 1973.

The investigation reviewed the alleged conduct of 34 St. Paul's School faculty and staff members from 1948 to 1988. In addition to the 13 substantiated claims of sexual misconduct, it found other reports of sexual misconduct by 10 former faculty and staff, and unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct by 11 current and former faculty and staff.

“Obviously surprising and deeply saddening,” St. Paul's School rector Michael Hirschfeld said.

The highly-regarded prep school has been in the spotlight in recent years due to the trial of student Owen Labrie. He was convicted in 2015 of misdemeanor sexual assault and child endangerment, but acquitted of rape, for his encounter with a 15-year-old classmate in a game of sexual conquest. Labrie was recently denied a request for a new trial.

The report released Monday concluded that the school failed to protect students from sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, and failed to adequately investigate allegations of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct when they were brought to the attention of school leadership.

"That group will be vindicated by this report," Hirschfeld said. He said since those allegations in 2000, the school adopted a zero tolerance policy for adults who abuse their power. Faculty and staff are now required to undergo aggressive boundary training that's proven effective in the years since.

"Six people have been terminated between 2000 and 2017 for boundary violations that aren't anywhere near sexual abuse," he said.

Hirschfeld said his campus fosters a healthy and safe environment - a direct result of the survivors who decided to bring their darkest days to light.

"I am deeply grateful to them and admire their courage and willingness to help the school confront its past and become a better place in the future," he said.

The school has turned the report over to Concord police, who will decide whether legal action can be taken against any of the few surviving perpetrators.

St. Paul’s isn’t the only top New Hampshire prep school that has been dealing with sexual misconduct allegations. Seven former staffers at Phillips Exeter Academy have been accused of sexual misconduct in recent years. One has pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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