N.H. judge gives prosecutors more time to indict former St. Paul’s teacher

  • David Pook

  • David Pook

Monitor staff
Monday, June 04, 2018

A judge has granted prosecutors additional time to seek a grand jury indictment of a former St. Paul’s School teacher terminated in 2008 for inappropriate behavior with a young female.

The case against David Pook, 48, of Warner is moving forward in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord even though prosecutors didn’t meet their initial deadline on Friday to indict him.

On Thursday, Judge Brian Tucker prematurely dismissed two counts each of witness tampering and perjury against Pook, not realizing that prosecutors had filed a motion for additional time to seek indictment. Court staff said Monday the motion was misplaced as a result of human error, but the situation quickly rectified Friday.

Tucker’s latest order does not specify exactly how long prosecutors now have to indict Pook, who most recently worked at the Derryfield School in Manchester and remains free on $5,000 cash-only bail.

Associate Attorney General Jane Young said Monday that she could not comment beyond the judge’s order.

Defense attorney Mark Sisti said his client is not guilty, and declined to comment further.

“It’s up to the attorney general’s office to pursue the case,” Sisti said.

Authorities arrested Pook on Feb. 28 as part of an ongoing investigation into the Concord prep school’s handling of sexual misconduct and assault allegations over several decades. He is the first person to face criminal charges since that investigation began in July 2017.

Pook was a humanities teacher at St. Paul’s from 2000 to 2008 before he left under what authorities said were “questionable circumstances.” While St. Paul’s maintains that Pook was let go following “a boundary violation with a student,” investigators say Pook and the young female had a sexual relationship that began years ago and continued up until his arrest.

A subpoena was served to St. Paul’s in early August for records pertaining to Pook’s employment at the school. The records showed several “troubling” interactions, including examples of times Pook had made female students feel uncomfortable, including when he visited their rooms after nightly check-in, used “crude language” in class and tried to stick his wet finger in students’ ears, according to court records.

The contents of emails exchanged between Pook and one St. Paul’s student between February 2008 and October 2008 show an emerging relationship and were identified by investigators as the primary reason for Pook’s termination.

After leaving St. Paul’s, Pook was hired in 2009 by The Derryfield School, a private day school in Manchester. Then-St. Paul’s Rector Bill Matthews gave Pook a favorable recommendation despite his knowledge that Pook had violated school rules governing boundaries between faculty and students.

President of St. Paul’s Board of Trustees Archibald Cox Jr. and current Rector Michael Hirschfeld have since apologized to The Derryfield School for the failure.

The next hearing in the case against Pook is scheduled for June 14 in Concord.

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