An elite New Hampshire boarding school named Phillips Exeter Academy announced on April 16 that, due to unspecified new allegations of sexual misconducts that have surfaced since March 30 of this year, it has been forced to reach out to a Boston-based international law firm, Holland & Knight, to investigate these allegations and also review the school’s policies and procedures for ensuring student safety.
Principal Lisa MacFarlane wrote the letter for the announcement for alumni, parents and employees, and published it on the school’s website.
The fist allegation that made this problem start was about Rick Schubert, former history instructor, who was accused of committing these misconducts against two former students of the academy, in the 1970’s and the 1980’s. One of the students considered the incidents as abuse, meanwhile the other one considered them consensual, according to police reports. The faculty member resigned in 2011 after admitting he did what the students said.
On Wednesday, Exeter Academy announced that a second teacher was fired after he admitted to sexual encounters with a student more than two decades ago. The teacher, Steve Lewis, who was a member of the Art Department for 33 years, was fired and banned from campus after an Exeter Police Department investigation revealed the incidents. He was not charged with a crime since the statute of limitations had expired, police said.
The same thing happened with Shubert, because in 2011, the Exeter Police Department closed the case on the 1970s allegations against the teacher because the student who complaint said that she was 18 at the time of the misconduct, and the statute of limitations had expired.
The school’s officials said that the announcement was delayed because they were protecting the victim’s privacy.
“This new step will ensure that (the academy) is fully and directly aware of the facts so we can take appropriate action,” Principal MacFarlane said.
MacFarlane also added that the law firm will also look into how academy faculty, Tom Hassan, who was the principal of the school in 2013, handled allegations that came to light in 2011 and 2015.
Mr. Hassan is the husband of Governor Maggie Hassan, who is running for U.S. Senate.
Prominent graduates Phillips Exeter Academy include Daniel Webster and Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder.
Source: The New York Times