Sexual assault allegations at NH private school sparks AG investigation
CONCORD — Recent sexual assault allegations at St. Paul's school in Concord that a law firm recently brought to light has sparked an investigation by the Attorney General's Office.
The Attorney General's Office plans on initially focusing their investigation on the issue of whether the school engaged in conduct constituting endangering the welfare of a child.
The investigation follows the results of a 2017 report concerning sexual assaults by St. Paul's teachers on their students.
Boston law firm Casner & Edwards LLP conducted an independent investigation into cases of sexual misconduct against 34 former and current faculty and staff members. The school substantiated 13 of those allegations.
Other cases that led to this investigation included earlier information about student sexual conquest rituals such as the "senior salute" and the highly publicized arrest, trial and conviction of St. Paul's student Owen Labrie in 2015.
"Protection of children is a paramount priority for law enforcement. I am confident that an institution such as St. Paul's School will be fully cooperative with this investigation as it has pledged that '(t)he safety and well-being of all students remains (its) highest priority,'" said Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.
“We have been in close contact with local law enforcement regarding recent incidents of concern, and we will continue to fully cooperate with any inquiries we receive. We also intend to work closely with the Attorney General’s office to answer any and all questions regarding the independent report issued last month. Our goal is and always will be the health, safety and well-being of our students. We will work tirelessly to meet that goal and strengthen the public's faith in St. Paul's School," said Rector Michael Hirschfeld.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence commended the investigation, which is being conducted by the Attorney General's Office, the Concord Police Department and the New Hampshire State Police.
"They are right to shine a light on the darkness that continues to surround this school," said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the coalition.