St. Paul’s seeks more time to respond to former students’ lawsuits

Monitor staff
Published: 8/28/2018 5:40:30 PM

St. Paul’s School is seeking more time to respond to two civil lawsuits filed by former students who allege the Concord prep school has long failed to protect children in its care.

On Monday, the school was due to answer a federal lawsuit submitted pseudonymously by a former student in May, but its attorneys filed a motion asking for two more weeks – or until Sept. 10 – to file. This is the third extension the school has requested from a U.S. District Court judge.

The girl, who was recruited by St. Paul’s and began her schooling there at just age 13, claims a hypersexualized culture at St. Paul’s allowed for the objectification and abuse of female students. She argues top officials knew of sexual conquest games, including the now-infamous “Senior Salute,” yet turned a blind eye to reports made by students who were targeted. In the lawsuit, she describes how she was repeatedly sexually harassed and groped, and how a male student with whom she began a romantic relationship with raped her multiple times.

St. Paul’s was also expected to respond Friday in Merrimack County Superior Court to a civil lawsuit brought by two alumni who attended the school decades ago. However, the school requested an additional 30 days to answer the claims brought by George Chester Irons and Keith “Biff” Mithoefer, both of whom say they were victims of faculty sexual abuse.

Irons, who graduated in 1976, is a former president of the school’s alumni association and previously served on the board of trustees. Mithoefer attended St. Paul’s between 1966 and 1970. Together, they allege the school was “a haven for sexual predators,” and that adults failed to protect children entrusted with their care.

Additionally, Irons’s wife, Barbara Irons, alleges in the lawsuit 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.”

The lawsuit was originally filed with a fourth plaintiff John Doe, a St. Paul’s student from 1966 to 1970. However, an amended complaint was filed the next day to remove the anonymous former student.

Attorneys for the victims in both pending cases assented to the school’s motions for more time to file its answers. As of Tuesday afternoon, neither court had issued decisions.

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