St. Paul’s School names former police chief as new compliance overseer

  • This Feb. 26, 2016, file photo shows the entrance to St. Paul's School in Concord. AP

Monitor staff
Published: 1/12/2021 5:28:10 PM

A former New Hampshire police chief who has spoken out publicly in support of victim rights has been selected as the next independent compliance overseer for St. Paul’s School in Concord.

Donald Sullivan has been a member of law enforcement for over 20 years, and has been the police chief for the towns of Alexandria and Hill. Sullivan has experience in victim-centered, trauma-informed enforcement, investigation and prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence cases.

Sullivan spoke out publicly in support of victim rights relating to the conviction and support for Exeter High School guidance counselor Kristie Torbick, who pleaded guilty to four counts of felonious sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy. In 2018, Sullivan organized a community discussion about victim support services and ongoing prevention education work in local schools, after numerous state educators and guidance counselors supported a more lenient sentence for Torbick and testified in the courtroom with the teenage victim present. 

The overseer position was created at St. Paul’s School at the end of 2018, following a 14-month-long criminal investigation into the school’s handling of reported sexual assaults. Rather than pursue charges of child endangerment, a misdemeanor-level offense, the school and state prosecutors reached an agreement that was meant to “facilitate the protection of children at St. Paul’s School, and to ensure a system of accountability, oversight, transparency, and training at the school,” according to the Attorney General’s Office.  The overseer is embedded on the St. Paul’s School campus and tasked with reporting at least bi-annually to the Attorney General’s Office regarding St. Paul’s School’s compliance with all of the terms of the agreement.

Jeffrey Maher, who was brought in as the first independent compliance overseer, abruptly resigned from his position in October, citing an “intolerable work environment” and claiming that the school had retaliated against him for attempting to do his job.

The school denied Maher’s accusations but agreed in December, at the suggestion of the attorney general’s office, to expand the office of the Compliance Overseer by bringing in an additional staff member for support. The school is now working with RAINN, a national anti-sexual abuse organization to conduct a review of its policies.

The school also agreed to indemnify the new overseer for actions taken in his or her official capacity, which would protect the individual from any legal action by or against the school.

Sullivan was selected from a pool of three candidates that St. Paul’s School chose and suggested to the Attorney General’s Office in December. He will begin the job immediately.

“We look forward to completing the appointment process with Mr. Donald Sullivan and establishing him in the compliance overseer position this week,” officials at St. Paul’s School said in a statement. “We are grateful for his interest in the post and eager to begin our work together on behalf of the safety and well-being of our students."

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