St. Paul's School in Concord said Wednesday it plans to create an independent therapy fund for alumni who were sexually abused by faculty. The school’s announcement comes just hours after NHPR reported St. Paul’s is an outlier among boarding schools that have grappled with similar issues.
By many accounts, therapy assistance funds have become an essential piece of reconciliation between an institution and alumni who were abused. Many victims, attorneys, advocates and academics see these funds as an important part of the victim’s healing process, and a way for an institution to acknowledge past wrongdoings.
Schools like St. George’s in Rhode Island, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, Choate and Hotchkiss in Connecticut and Phillips Andover in Massachusetts have all set aside money specifically to pay for therapy for any alumni who was a victim of sexual misconduct by a faculty member.
Despite facing abuse allegations that span five decades, NHPR reported Wednesday that St. Paul's school has not created a specific fund. The elite boarding school originally wouldn’t respond to questions as to why they hadn’t established a fund, only saying that the school was developing “a number of new initiatives,” but wouldn’t specify what they were.
But hours after NHPR’s report Wednesday, Alisa Barnard, the Executive Director of the St. Paul’s Alumni Association, said in an email that the school will soon announce “a number of new initiatives, one of which is a new independent third-party administered therapy fund.”
“We have been months in developing this program and are partnering with highly qualified, respected and knowledgeable experts,” Barnard said in the email. “We will be sharing details in our forthcoming announcement - within the next couple of weeks.”