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St. Paul’s School enters agreement with N.H. A.G. over child abuse

St. Paul’s School enters agreement with N.H. A.G. over child abuse

The Boston Globe reports that St. Paul’s School (Episcopal) has entered an agreement to place the New Hampshire attorney general in charge of handling reports of child abuse on campus.

Under the terms, a compliance officer will be appointed to implement the agreement, which includes requirements for training, reporting possible cases of abuse to police, record keeping, and providing victim support services.

St. Paul’s will reimburse the state about $50,000 to cover the cost of the investigation and pay for all costs related to the agreement, including the compliance officer’s salary and benefits, MacDonald said. The officer will report to the attorney general’s office.

“We pursued a course of comprehensive reform with the objectives of achieving immediate and meaningful measures,” MacDonald said. “The agreement will assure a system of accountability, transparency, and oversight by this office and it will facilitate the protection of children to a far greater extent than a criminal proceeding would.”

The school has waived confidentiality in the grand jury proceedings, and a report on the findings will be issued at a later date, he said.

The Concord Monitor:

An agreement that places St. Paul’s School under government oversight is the first of its kind for an educational institution in New Hampshire and could serve as a model for other states responding to a history of sexual abuse and misconduct at prestigious prep schools, legal experts say.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Thursday the settlement agreement, which establishes the position of an independent monitor who will be tasked with ensuring that St. Paul’s is in compliance with the state’s mandatory report laws. The attorney general is forgoing prosecution of the Concord prep school on child endangerment charges following a 14-month-long criminal investigation in favor of what he called “comprehensive reform.”

Lawyers for sexual abuse victims and law enforcement officials who worked on the investigation said the settlement is the best possible outcome because it holds St. Paul’s accountable and could facilitate real cultural change, whereas a misdemeanor-level conviction would likely have a minimal lasting effect.

Earlier Episcopal Café coverage of sexual abuse at St. Paul’s School is archived here.


Image: Attorney General Gordon MacDonald via The Telegraph.

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Isabel Steilberg

Does the Episcopal Church have a call to sponsor/be affiliated with elite private schools???

Isabel Steilberg

Does the Episcopal Church have a call to sponsor/be affiliated with elite private schools????

Philip B. Spivey

Even if St. Paul’s isn’t under the direct agency of TEC, it still carries its affiliative name. It makes no moral sense for this institution to continue to operate. Losing its accreditation should be a no-brainer.

Sadly, St. Paul’s, like other smaller entities, is just a microcosm of the larger Church. Should the Church lose its “accreditation”? Unlike the academy, the Church answers to only one Higher Authority. Perhaps it’s our “credibility” that’s at stake.

The way through and out of this? At minimum: opportunities for its victims to tell their stories; victim reparations (these don’t need to be financial); state of the art “protections” at all levels; more thoroughgoing aspirant evaluations including, a.) ruling out incipient or chronic chemical dependency problems and b.) Horror of horrors—assessing the aspirant’s sexual maturity. Because sex/sexuality is a taboo subject in the Church, things-sexual wind up relegated to the dark corners of the mind.

Helen Kromm

Or to put this another way, this Episcopal school that is self-described as “elite”, and which charges annual tuition of $58,155, is so demonstrably corrupt and incompetent that it requires outside supervision in order to have any hope at all of doing the right thing going forward.

Truly, you have to step back and take a moment to let that one sink in. This after nearly a half century of recurring incidents that have harmed young people. This elite school is so untrustworthy, and the culture so contemptible and toxic, that outside monitoring and intervention is the only hope.

I have another solution. Shut this place down. Close it. Turn it in to condos- whatever. At the very least, take down the Episcopal School sign and revoke their accreditation. The stench of this place stains us all.

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