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Sep 8, 2016 11:35 AM

Parents sue Phillips Exeter, say it changed punishment for son accused of sexual assault

EXETER — Phillips Exeter Academy received a lawsuit from parents that say the prep school mishandled punishing their 15-year-old son who is accused of sexually assaulting another student.

READ: Phillips Exeter Victim: Punishment for alleged sexual assault was baking bread

They argue the decision came in the wake of allegations against another student. Chukwudi Ikpeazu, 18, of Parkland, Fla., was accused of fondling a then-17-year-old student's breast against her will in the basement of the school's church, according to the Union Leader.

The lawsuit alleges that school administrators told the suspect's parents that he would be placed on "Dean's Leave" for one semester, but then could return in the fall. The administrators allegedly changed that decision, and three months later told the parents their son would not be allowed back to the school.

The lawsuit claims that this decision came once Phillips Exeter was under fire for reportedly mishandling sexual assault allegations involving staff and students. This criticism came after a Boston Globe story that revealed a male student accused of sexually assaulting a female student was disciplined by having to bake bread for the girl.

Lawyers told the Union Leader that the decision to give the student a harsher punishment “was no doubt impacted by The Boston Globe story and the fallout that followed.”

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