Independent Investigation of Prep School Finds More Sex Abuse

St. Paul’s, a prestigious New Hampshire prep school, faces more bad news about its history of sexual abuse of students. The prep school released an independent report that documents allegations of abuse going back decades, involving at least 18 previously unidentified teachers and school employees.

St. Paul’s requested the investigation last year, following reports about Howard White, who was fired from St. George’s School in Rhode Island for sexual misconduct in 1974 and had previously worked at St. Paul’s.

Rector Michael Hirschfeld said in a recent letter to parents that the accounts of abuse were “upsetting” – as was the fact that St. Paul’s had failed to protect students.

This new report, the second in six months detailing misconduct at the school, lists allegations of “profoundly disturbing” sexual behavior at St. Paul’s over 53 years, from 1956 to 2009, according to Hirschfeld’s letter to the school community.

One former student alleged that a longtime St. Paul’s staff member who died in 1992 took him and another male student to a New York City hotel to have sex with prostitutes. He had sex with a prostitute while the staff member was in the room, he told investigators. He also said the staff member had asked him and other students to take photos of their genitals.

Another student said that a St. Paul’s teacher and administrator, who died in 1993, pinned him to the floor during an assault in the teacher’s on-campus apartment in 1970. Another student said that another longtime teacher, who left the school in 2009, sexually abused him during the early 1980s.

St. Paul’s is not the only private school in New Hampshire to be rocked by a sexual abuse scandal.  Phillips Exeter Academy was the subject of similar sex abuse allegations more than a year ago.

Schools, public and private, should be safe places where our children get a solid education without the fear of sexual abuse by those in authority. When institutions such as churches, schools, and civic groups can’t be trusted to keep the children in their care safe, our community suffers.

The next question is what St. Paul’s will do to make right the wrong it did to these children it endangered.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, California, and other states.

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