Police reports: Details on prep school sex encounters differ

EXETER, N.H. (AP) — A student who had a sexual relationship decades ago with a teacher at an elite prep school described it as consensual while another student accused the teacher of sexual abuse, according to police reports obtained by The Associated Press that represent the first details from them. The school said Wednesday that another teacher had been fired for having sexual encounters with a student decades ago.

Phillips Exeter Academy said in letters to staff, faculty, students, parents and alumni on Wednesday that teacher Steve Lewis had been fired and was barred from campus and all school events. There was no telephone number listed in Lewis’ name, and he couldn’t be reached for comment.

Police have said there are no investigations involving current faculty members, principal Lisa MacFarlane said in a letter. The police chief did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday night.

Another teacher was forced to resign in 2011 and was stripped of his emeritus status after admitting to two past instances of sexual misconduct with students.

The documents were released Tuesday by the Exeter Police Department in response to a Right to Know request about former Phillips Exeter Academy teacher Rick Schubart. He was forced to resign from Phillips Exeter Academy in 2011 after admitting to the first instance of sexual misconduct. He was barred from campus after the second one surfaced in 2015 and was stripped of his emeritus status.

According to the 2011 police report, an Exeter professor who graduated from the school came forward a day after a staff meeting in reaction to sexual assault allegations against a Penn State faculty member. She said a classmate had told her she had sex with Schubart in the 1970s. The classmate confirmed to the school that she had a consensual relationship with Schubart during her senior year in 1977, when she was 18.

Police said there were no previous allegations against Schubart in 2011.

Last year, a lawyer representing a 1982 graduate wrote to then-Principal Thomas Hassan and said Schubart used his position as dorm parent and faculty adviser as a means to “sexually abuse her.” Some details of the allegation were redacted in the letter and police report, but they said the majority of the abuse happened when the student was 17 and took place in a dormitory, Schubart’s apartment, a smoking room and a basement room. Exeter staff members “were aware of the abuse,” according to the letter.

Police said Schubart told them he had “a consensual sexual intimate encounter” with her.

Schubart hasn’t answered phone calls to his home seeking comment.

The letter written to Hassan by Boston attorney Alan Cantor said the woman has had extensive therapy and has suffered financial loss. It asked for “financial compensation and for evidence that Phillips Exeter Academy will not tolerate sexual abuse and exploitation of its students.”

When Phillips Exeter Academy sent a letter to alumni last month discussing Schubart, Hassan, the husband of Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, issued a statement saying that staff in 2011 “immediately contacted local and state authorities and removed Rick Schubart from his duties and campus residence while working closely with the victim.”

Thomas Hassan has been formally censured by an international boarding school association for not disclosing Schubart’s wrongdoing before Schubart was given a leadership award in 2012. He has apologized for the school’s handling of the sexual misconduct allegations.

The letter sent to alumni from the current principal said “in both cases, we immediately reported the allegations to the appropriate authorities and investigated those claims.”

Exeter police have said they determined the statute of limitations had expired in both cases.

The school has since hired a law firm to investigate other allegations of sexual misconduct on campus that don’t involve Schubart, including several new reports received recently.

Lima News
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