'You Need to Hear Our Witness:' Alumni Ask St. Paul's School to Reckon With Abuse

May 3, 2019

Credit NHPR File Photo

Alumni of St. Paul's School in Concord are hosting a service on Saturday to reckon with the legacy of sexual abuse on campus.

Revelations about decades of abuse at St. Paul's have prompted multiple lawsuits and investigations, but until this weekend, no campus event has formally acknowledged and welcomed survivors.

On Saturday, a group called "Alumni Doorways" is hosting a service of "lament and apology" at the chapel, open to trustees and alumni.

Rev. Valerie Minton Webster, an Episcopal priest from Montana and a 1976 graduate, is helping to organize the event.

She says she was molested by an English teacher at St. Paul's who assaulted multiple students but went unpunished.

"It was shocking," she remembers. "When I spoke to the vice rector, he asked me what I had done to make him behave that way."

“Alumni Doorways is saying to St. Paul’s: ‘You need to hear our witness, not as a law case that you have to react to, but as sons and daughters of St. Paul’s, whose hearts were broken.”

Other survivors of sexual abuse at St. Paul’s  have called the event a publicity stunt for the school.

“I’m not a fan of how St. Paul’s has dealt with this,” said Webster, but in her role as clergy, “I’m a bridge. That’s what I do.”