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St. Paul’s report details 21 additional victims of sexual assault

  • St. Paul’s School in Concord is seen in 2017. The elite prep school Thursday released details of sexual misconduct allegations against four previously unnamed faculty and staff members, and interviews with 21 additional victims who have come forward in the past nine months. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 8/21/2018 6:08:13 PM

St. Paul’s School released Tuesday details of sexual misconduct allegations against 10 former faculty and staff – three who were previously unnamed – and interviews with 21 additional victims who have come forward in the past nine months.

The 42-page report released Tuesday evening is the second supplement to a larger report released by the Concord prep school since May 2017. The initial report substantiated claims against at least 13 former faculty members between 1948 and 1988, while the two supplemental reports include new names and additional allegations as recent as a decade ago.

The release of the new supplement comes just days after ex-St. Paul’s teacher David Pook was sentenced to four months in jail for conspiring with a former student to lie to a grand jury about their relationship. Pook, who taught at St. Paul’s from 2000-08, is one of the four former St. Paul’s employees not previously identified in the prior reports from Boston-based law firm Casner & Edwards.

Also identified is late Massachusetts congressman Gerry Studds, who is front and center in a civil lawsuit brought by two alumni against the school in May. Studds – who taught history, politics and government at St. Paul’s from 1965-69 – was censured in 1983 for sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old congressional page a decade earlier. Alumni have questioned since the May 2017 report why Studds was not named from the outset.

In total, Tuesday’s supplemental report names 10 former St. Paul’s faculty and staff members, including seven of whom were in one of the previous two reports. For the first time, the law firm has substantiated claims against Richard Rein, a former ballet instructor and director of the dance department.

St. Paul’s has continued to work with Casner & Edwards in recent months to investigate new claims of sexual misconduct, and to follow up with victims who reported sexual abuse following the release of the first report and its supplemental. The sexual assault allegations outlined in this third phase of the independent investigation span a period of 41 years, from 1967 to 2008.

The school said Tuesday that the law firm’s work will continue.

“From the outset of Casner & Edwards’ work, our goal has been to uncover and shed light on a dark part of the School’s history with the hope that transparency will promote healing in our community,” wrote Interim Rector Amy Richards and Board of Trustees President Archibald Cox, Jr. “These stories are devastating but as difficult as they are, we are thankful for the survivors who came forward to share them.”

In addition to interviewing alumni, investigators also spoke with a former attendee of the Advanced Studies Program, a summer program at St. Paul’s for the state’s high-achieving high school students. That former student reported sexual misconduct against Jose A.G. ‘Senor’ Ordonez, a history teacher from 1952-87. He said Ordonez would lead a group of students on runs and at the conclusion of the workout everyone would go “skinny dipping in a pond by the boathouse.”

The release of Tuesday’s 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 2017, 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.

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

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