Jun 1, 2016 11:00 AM

Former Phillips Exeter counselor accused of sex assault wants time with underage relatives

BRENTWOOD — A former Phillips Exeter Academy admissions counselor accused of sexually assaulting a prospective student 43 years ago is asking a judge to change his bail conditions.

The Union-Leader reported lawyers for 74-year-old Arthur Peekel filed a motion in Brentwood Circuit Court to allow him to have contact with relatives and godchildren who are minors. Contact would only be allowed when a parent or other responsible adult is present, according the motion. Peekel's bail conditions prohibit him from having contact with all minors.

Lawrence Jenkens, a 1977 graduate of the academy, made the allegations against Peekel public for the first time in March through a Facebook post prompting an investigation by Exeter Police.

Jenkins, now 56, told The Union-Leader he was 14 years old when he was allegedly molested by Peekel in 1973. He claims the incident occurred when he was in Peekel’s apartment one night while he was considering enrolling at the academy. He said he told his family about the alleged abuse and the school was informed at the time. Peekel eventually resigned and moved away.

Peekel, who now lives in Illinois, turned himself in to Exeter Police on May 13 after warrants were issued for his arrest on two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault.

Jenkens, now the head of the art department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, went public with allegations against Peekel after news broke that former academy history teacher Rick Schubart was forced to resign in 2011 and had admitted to sexual misconduct with two female students in the 1970s and 1980s. Once the Schubart case became public, school officials and police launched an investigation into additional claims of sexual misconduct. Academy teacher Steven Lewis was fired in April after he admitted to sexual encounters with a former student more than 30 years ago, officials said.

Peekel remains free on $25,000 personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on July 5.

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