Sexual Abuse

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

Parents and advocates for children packed a Concord School Board meeting on Monday to give input on the district’s policies on sexual harassment, abuse and community safety.

The meeting came after revelations that the district mishandled allegations against Primo “Howie” Leung, a former special ed teacher, who is now facing charges of sexually assaulting a Concord student.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

On Saturday, survivors of sexual abuse at St. Paul's School gathered for the first time on campus for an apology that some called a first step and others a missed opportunity.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The details laid out in a November legal complaint against Dartmouth College are shocking.

Seven women in the school's prestigious Psychological and Brain Sciences Department say they were harassed, assaulted, and even raped by tenured faculty members. They say administrators turned a blind eye, protecting the department’s reputation, and the men, at all costs.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The addition of a live hearing to proposed new procedures for resolving sexual assault complaints at Dartmouth College is facing criticism. 

Confronting Domestic Violence In New Hampshire

Feb 19, 2019
Patrick Feller; Flickr

We follow up on the Concord Monitor’s series, Fighting Back: Confronting Domestic Violence In New Hampshire, by looking at what a person needs when they leave an abusive relationship. such as emotional, legal, and financial support, and what barriers might stand in their way. We also discuss what our state is doing well, and where it can improve, in its approach to intimate partner violence. 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

More than 500 Dartmouth College students and alumni have signed an open letter to President Phil Hanlon and the school’s board of trustees demanding accountability for what they deem a long-running “institutional culture that minimizes and disregards sexual violence.”

Advocates and attorneys who represent sexual abuse victims see the settlement between St. Paul’s School and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office as “groundbreaking,” and some say it could serve as a model that could be implemented at private schools around the country.

Jackson Lewis Law Firm

After weeks of public pressure, the Bedford School District has hired an attorney to examine how and why three district staffers came to serve as character witnesses for Kristie Torbick, a former Bedford High School guidance counselor who plead guilty last month to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Exeter High School student. 

Bedford School District

Former Bedford Superintendent of Schools Chip McGee resigned Friday, weeks after he authorized a high school staffer to testify on behalf of Kristie Torbick, a former Bedford guidance counselor who plead guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old child. 

For many parents in the district, McGee's resignation is only a first step in resolving the issue. 

Savannah Maher/NHPR

Parents in Bedford are calling for action after district officials allowed Bedford High School Dean of Students Zanna Blaney to give character testimony on behalf of Kristie Torbick, a former district counselor who plead guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student in Exeter. 

At Torbick's sentencing hearing earlier this month, Blaney described her as a "pro when it comes to making a student feel heard" and said she had never been concerned about Torbick crossing boundaries with students.  

Courtesy SPS

St. Paul’s School in Concord has hired one of its former math teachers to serve as interim rector for 2018-19 school year.

 

Amy C. Richards has been hired to replace current rector Michael Hirschfeld, who retired a year earlier than originally planned. Hirschfeld told the St. Paul's community in May that he was leaving early because it had been "an usually painful time for the entire School community and also for my family."

NHPR File Photo

St. Paul’s School in Concord has agreed to settle with a former student who was sexually abused in the 1970s, though it continues to face lawsuits from other alumni.

The settlement, which remains confidential, was finalized in May and was shared with NHPR by the victim, William Foley, who said he was sexually abused by two teachers while attending St. Paul’s School in the early 1970s. In a statement, the school said it was “pleased" to reach a resolution with Foley and apologized for the abuse he suffered.

File photo

Over a year ago, St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire published an investigation that revealed decades of sexual abuse allegations. The school is currently being sued by two alumni over faculty sex abuse allegations.

And yet they haven’t established a therapy fund for alumni who were abused, something academics, attorneys and victims believe is essential for healing.

St. Paul's School

 

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.

Chester Irons' relationship with St. Paul’s School didn’t always feel so complicated.

He’s in his 60s now, yet he can still remember the exhilarating feeling of being dropped off at the Concord boarding school for the first time.

"I stepped out of the car with my parents and said goodbye to them and ran off with a bunch of friends I met literally 20 minutes earlier. It was a new beginning, a new adventure and I was very excited," he recalled in a recent phone interview.

St. Paul's School

Two alumni are suing St. Paul’s School for not protecting them from sexual abuse by faculty members in the 1960s and 70s, and their lawsuit calls the Concord prep school a “haven for sexual predators” that has failed to protect children for decades.  

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office announced it was filing charges against a former teacher at St. Paul’s School in Concord for witness tampering and conspiracy to commit perjury. They are the first charges to be filed in connection with the AG’s investigation into the elite prep school over allegations of sexual misconduct over several decades.

NHPR's Jason Moon has been following the story and has this breakdown of what the charges are, and what they tell us about the broader investigation into St. Paul's School.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Reports of sexual abuse at several top prep schools have surfaced in recent years. A group of Phillips Exeter Academy alumni have now launched an independent reporting website for sexual assault survivors from that school. 

Susannah Morrison Curtis is part of that group and she’s on the line with me now. 

(This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.)   

I’d like to get into what you’re trying to accomplish with this website, but first tell us a little bit about your experience at Phillips Exeter, whatever you are comfortable sharing.