Federal lawsuit against St. Paul’s School voluntarily dismissed

Monitor staff
Published: 3/22/2019 5:11:44 PM

A former St. Paul’s School student who said she was raped and sexually harassed on campus has withdrawn her U.S. District Court lawsuit against the Concord prep school.

The civil lawsuit, filed pseudonymously by the former student who enrolled at St. Paul’s in 2012, was never answered by the school; rather, both sides agreed to suspend any proceedings in the case for months in an effort to resolve it without a trial.

Court documents do not reference the existence of a confidential agreement; the charges were simply dismissed at the plaintiff’s request.

Concord attorney Charles Douglas, who represented the student with Steven Kelly of the Maryland-based law firm Sandford Heisler Sharp, LLC, told the Monitor he could not comment.

St. Paul’s called the dismissal “as a positive and mutual result” but declined Friday to discuss the case further.

The girl was just 13 when she was recruited by St. Paul’s and began her schooling there. Her lawsuit detailed a hypersexualized culture at St. Paul’s and accused top officials of knowing about games of sexual conquest, to include the now-infamous “Senior Salute,” yet turned a blind eye to reports made by students who were targeted.

She also alleged that the school denied her support services and educational accommodations as a victim and that she was retaliated against.

“Due to the severity of her emotional distress stemming from her encounters of sexual assault at SPS, the sexually hostile environment at SPS, and the treatment she received from administrators at SPS, J.D. was forced to undergo extensive psychiatric treatment,” attorneys for Jane Doe wrote.

The former student brought claims of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty. She also sued under Title IX, the civil rights law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program receiving federal assistance.

The federal case was voluntarily dismissed around the same time a 1976 graduate reached a confidential settlement with St. Paul’s to resolve part of a civil lawsuit filed in Merrimack County Superior Court in May 2018.

George Chester Irons, who previously served on the school’s board of trustees, accused the school of breaching its fiduciary duty by rehiring and continuing to employ Coolidge Mead Chapin, who had a long-standing history of taking students off campus without their parents’ permission. That included to brothels in New York City where students were sexually abused as Chapin directed them on how to engage in sexual acts with prostitutes whom he paid.

His wife, Barbara Irons, also sued saying that as a result of the harm caused to her husband, she suffered loss of his “aid, assistance, comfort, society, companionship, affection, and conjugal relation.”

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



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