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New sexual misconduct allegations against St. Paul’s faculty detailed in report

  • St. Paul's School in Concord, Monday, May 22, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Rector Michael Hirschfeld talks about the independent investigation into past sexual misconduct of teachers at St. Paul's School in Concord on Monday, May 22, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ



Monitor staff
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

A report released Wednesday night by St. Paul’s School includes allegations of sexual misconduct against five additional former employees, and examines abuse spanning 53 years.

The 30-page report is a supplement to a longer report released by the Concord prep school in late May, and includes interviews with an additional 15 victims and 15 witnesses. The initial report substantiated claims against at least 13 former faculty members between 1948 and 1988, while the supplemental report includes several new names and the details of allegations as recent as 2009.

Many St. Paul’s students are continuing to come forward for the first time after years of silence. The latest report details a broad range of allegations, ranging from verbal sexual advances, to fondling, to rape. In a number of cases, victims reported that teachers invited them into their homes or took them to secluded spots off campus, where they groomed students with fine dining and wine prior to making sexual advances, according to the supplemental report.

St. Paul’s has continued to work with the Boston-based law firm Casner & Edwards in recent months to investigate new claims of sexual misconduct, and to follow up with victims who reported sexual abuse following the first report’s release. A letter went out to parents of St. Paul’s students Tuesday morning to let them know of the school’s plans to make the report public Wednesday.

“While the excavation of our past with regard to these findings has been deeply painful for the survivors and the entire School community,” Rector Michael Hirschfeld wrote to parents, “I can assure you that we have not – and will not – squander this as an opportunity for learning and institutional improvement.”

The release of the report comes at the same time the school is the focus of a criminal investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. Prosecutors said the investigation, launched in July, will initially focus on issues of possible child endangerment and obstruction of justice, but could expand if the evidence warrants such action.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald cited the initial report released by St. Paul’s in May as one of the reasons for the criminal probe, but also noted that prosecutors would be looking into more recent reports, including sexual conquest games such as the “Senior Salute.” The game took center stage at the 2015 sexual assault trial of St. Paul’s graduate Owen Labrie who was convicted of using the internet to lure an underage girl for sex.

Labrie has appealed his convictions to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which is also reviewing a Merrimack County Superior Court judge’s decision not to grant him a new trial.

Alumni, former faculty and survivors of sexual abuse at St. Paul’s have long called for more oversight at the institution, saying it cannot disassociate itself from a long-standing history of sexual misconduct when there is evidence that behavior continues today. They say the sexual conquest games among students are a byproduct of a larger systemic problem at the institution that has gone unaddressed for decades.

By releasing the two reports on faculty abuse, St. Paul’s officials say they are making an effort toward greater transparency as the community tries to heal. Hirschfeld indicated in his letter that the school will continue to work with investigators, led by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, until “at least the end of 2017 as a resource for alumni to contact with concerns regarding sexual misconduct.”

The supplemental report substantiates sexual misconduct claims against four former St. Paul’s employees not named in May: Allen David Burdoin (Maunes), a math teacher at St. Paul’s between 1970 and 1981; Coolidge Mead “Cal” Chapin, who worked at the school between 1935 and 1980; Louis Anthony Grant Jr., a history teacher and administrator between 1968 and 1974; and William R. “Bill” Faulkner Jr., who was a math teacher from 1962 to 2009. New allegations were brought against a fifth employee who was not named in the report.

Victims had questioned why Faulkner had not been named in the first report as he was convicted of simple assault against a student in 2010. Faulkner, a Concord resident, had inappropriately touched a student’s shoulder while making sexual inferences about her attire, the report says.

A former student who says he was sexually assaulted by Burdoin told investigators that the man had a great deal of power over students and would use that to his advantage. The student said he remembered Burdoin touching his leg, rubbing his shoulder and writing him “expansive” letters. He also notes that Burdoin “might have kissed me.”

After reading the May report, the victim said he learned that his situation was not unique.

“I kept my account in isolation for so long, but your report has shown me that I no longer have to hide it. Your report showed me that I am not alone.”

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)