A former St. Paul’s student has filed a federal lawsuit against her alma mater, alleging the Concord private school did not protect her from sexual assault and harassment from male students in 2013-2014.
The former student, who enrolled at St. Paul’s in 2012, is not named in the lawsuit, instead referred to as Jane Doe.
The lawsuit states that the sexual assault and harassment the student suffered was a “direct result” of St. Paul’s “utter breach of its duty to protect children under its care and to provide an education free from sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based harassment."
The lawsuit describes St. Paul’s as a school with a “hypersexualized culture” where freshman girls are “targets for scoring” by older male students.
“From the time she arrived on campus, Ms. Doe experienced unwelcome sexual advances from some male students who were emboldened by formal and informal “traditions” at the school,” the complaint stated.
The lawsuit references the “senior salute,” a student-lead sex ritual that came up during the highly publicized 2015 trial of Owen Labrie, who was convicted of sexually assaulting Chessy Prout.
The complaint states that older male students competed with one another to "score or slay - meaning to have sexual relations with (generally younger) female students - n a given period" and the school, despite knowing about this culture, did not put a stop to it.
The former student alleges in the complaint that she was a target of this harassment as a freshman and later was sexually assaulted multiple times by a male classmate. According to the lawsuit, she and her friends told school administrators about what had happened to her, yet the school did not report the assault to the Concord Police.
In a letter to the St. Paul’s community, Board President Archibald Cox Jr. said the administration learned about the allegations Friday evening.
“We take these allegations very seriously, but do not know whether they are accurate or not,” Cox wrote.
“In my experience this administration has taken all reporting obligations seriously and has fulfilled them.”
This is the second lawsuit filed by former students against St. Paul’s this month. Last week, Biff Mithoefer and Chester Irons sued the school for negligence, alleging that they were both sexually abused by St. Paul's faculty and that though the administration was aware of this abuse, they didn’t do anything to stop it.
St. Paul's also recently settled a civil lawsuit with the family of former student Chessy Prout. Prout's parents sued St. Paul's in 2016, arguing the school should have done more to protect their daughter from sexual assault.
Last summer, the New Hampshire Attorney General launched a criminal investigation into St. Paul’s School. Officials have said they’re focused on whether the school is responsible for endangering the welfare of their students.