New Hampshire Episcopal school in the news again over sexual assault allegations

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St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Concord, NH is having trouble shaking its reputation of sexual misconduct on campus, despite efforts to change the culture at the school. There are several new allegations described by the Concord Monitor as “a string of information [coming] to light about possible student sexual assaults and games of sexual conquest at St. Paul’s, all of which have raised questions about the school’s process for reporting to law enforcement.”

The New York Times has Sex Misconduct Revisits Elite Prep School Already Under Fire:

Eight boys in a St. Paul’s School dorm in Concord apparently competed to have their names put on a crown, according to the Concord Monitor, which first reported on the matter. The school [said] it learned about the game from students just before the June 4 commencement and has hired an outside investigator. “Kids will be disciplined in a swift and appropriate way should that investigation find any violation of our code of conduct. We take these things very seriously,” Rector Michael Hirschfeld told The Associated Press on Friday.

“If that conquest game is existing at St. Paul’s or anywhere, it’s extremely alarming to us,” said Lt. Sean Ford. “I would assume the school would be vigilant in monitoring of that concerning behavior if it is going on.” The allegations appear similar to those in the case of Owen Labrie, prompting criticism that the school’s efforts to change the culture at St. Paul’s have fallen short.

The Concord Monitor has Concord police investigating report of sexual assault at St. Paul’s School:

“It’d be hard for me to guess what specific investigation you’re talking about,” he [head of school Michael Hirschfield] said. He referred all questions about any pending investigation to Concord police.

Concord police are investigating the report of a sexual assault at St. Paul’s School in the days before graduation.

Police said they opened an investigation June 1 after receiving a call from Dean of Students Aaron Marsh that evening. A student reported to a staff member that she’d been sexually assaulted two weeks earlier, according to the Concord police log….

St. Paul’s School and Concord police have a memorandum of understanding – last signed in September 2012 – that spells out which crimes school officials must report to local law enforcement, and it gives a 48-hour deadline. The agreement is not iron-clad, and police say disagreements persist over the level of involvement school officials can have when an investigation is pending.

More from the Concord Monitor — Police eye St. Paul’s ‘relationship map’ after parent’s 2016 sex assault report:

Concord police opened an investigation last fall into students’ names connected through “a relationship map” found in the laundry room of a St. Paul’s student dormitory. That investigation is now suspended, pending any new information or renewed cooperation from the parties involved, Concord police Lt. Sean Ford said Thursday morning.

Police first learned about the map in late September 2016 after receiving a call from a concerned parent who reported her 14-year-old daughter may have been sexually assaulted during the 2015-16 school year, records show. The girl’s mother said St. Paul’s Dean of Students Aaron Marsh told her about the school’s internal investigation into the map, which included her daughter’s name.

Marsh told Concord police that “the map linked a number of students together and suggested romantic involvement,” according to a police report.

The map is the latest in a string of information to come to light about possible student sexual assaults and games of sexual conquest at St. Paul’s, all of which have raised questions about the school’s process for reporting to law enforcement.

Hirschfield is the brother of the Bishop of New Hampshire. In the past, both have underscored that although the school is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, a voluntary association, it has no affiliation with the diocese. It is not immediately clear from the NAES website what safeguarding practices they expect of their members.


Pictured: Michael Hirschfield, Rector of St. Paul’s School


Previous coverage:

St. Paul’s School reports a history of staff sexual abuse of students

The Rev. Howard White has been deposed

Court filing: St. Paul’s parents helped fund Owen Labrie’s defense

Rape Case Puts Focus on Culture of Elite St. Paul’s School

The Rector of St. Paul’s School on privilege and ‘slaying.’

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