N.H. guidance counselor who supported sex-assault defendant resigns

Associated Press
Published: 8/8/2018 3:42:33 PM

A New Hampshire school guidance counselor who spoke in support of a colleague who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student has resigned.

Nearly two dozen educators and others attended a July 9 sentencing on behalf of 39-year-old guidance counselor Kristie Torbick, who pleaded guilty to four counts of felonious sexual assault against an Exeter High School student and was sentenced to 2½ to five years in prison

Shelly Philbrick of the Newfound Area School District spoke as a character witness on Torbick’s behalf. The two used to work together. She was one of several who asked for leniency during the sentencing.

She said, “to incarcerate Mrs. Torbick as part of any plea bargain would be a sad injustice to her own three children, one of which is only 3 years of age.”

Parents called for Philbrick’s dismissal. District Superintendent Stacy Buckley said she wasn’t notified that Philbrick would be speaking, and that Philbrick acted on her own, not as a representative or with the authorization of the school district.

Buckley said the Newfound School Board announced at its meeting Tuesday that it accepted Philbrick’s resignation. A message was left for Philbrick on Wednesday.

A Plymouth State University professor who also spoke for Torbick wasn’t rehired. The school superintendent in Bedford, where Torbick once worked, resigned over his decision to allow employees to publicly support Torbick at the sentencing.

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