Phillips Exeter Deans Didn’t Report Sex Assault Case, Police Said

The county attorney’s office did not return calls seeking comment.

The school did not reply to questions about the case, including whether the administration was aware of the trooper’s conclusion. The academy lately entered into an contract with the police to comply with status reporting requirements, and exceed them.

Neither of the deans, Arthur J. Cosgrove and Melissa D. Mischke, responded to emails seeking comment.

Like St. Paul’s Institution in Concord, N.H.; St. George’s Institution in Middletown, R.We.; Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.; Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., and many other prestigious prep colleges, Phillips Exeter possesses been reeling from revelations of sexual misconduct, and questions about whether the school correctly handled them.

In most cases, the accusations have involved teachers preying on students. This year, a former Phillips Exeter admissions officer pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old prospective student in the 1970s, and the academy explained an investigation had uncovered credible allegations against three former teachers and a former school psychologist. Last year, the school fired a teacher for sexual misconduct with a student, and uncovered that another teacher, after admitting to such misconduct, had been allowed to retire quietly and for years remained a occurrence on campus, with emeritus status.

While some accused of abuse have already been prosecuted, it is rare for university administrators who failed to report misconduct to face any legal penalty.

In the case described in the state police record, Michael W. Jones, an alumnus who is a leading critic of the academy’s handling of sexual abuse cases, said it was “outrageous” that the two deans still possessed their administrative positions, and that the school had not addressed the matter in more detail. “There must be transparency and effects,” he said.

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The 17-year-old girl’s law firm, Carmen Durso, declined to comment.

When The Boston Globe reported last year in the girl’s groping allegation and the way it was handled by the school, the news prompted a strong backlash among alumni, a lot of whom said they might withhold donations to the academy. In a declaration, the academy explained that “without question, the situation could and should have already been handled in an improved way,” nonetheless it did not say explicitly what had been done incorrect, or by whom. As yet, the police consideration of the deans’ response to the groping allegation, and the trooper’s desire to fee the deans, had not been publicly known.

The state police report shows that the two female students met in October 2015 with Mr. Cosgrove, dean of home existence; Ms. Mischke, dean of college students; and a teacher who was younger student’s faculty adviser and who possessed encouraged her to go to the deans. The authorities report includes the two accusers’ and the faculty adviser’s descriptions of the interacting with; the two deans declined to come to be interviewed by investigators.

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Younger accuser said that times before she visited the deans, a favorite male senior texted her that it was his 18th birthday, and asked her to meet him in the church basement, a quiet place where students sometimes studied, and which he was assigned to monitor. There, she explained, he touched her buttocks and breasts and kissed her, even while she repeatedly told him not to, until she left.

The other accuser recounted an identical incident in the same place with the same male student, who she said put his hands under her shirt and touched her breasts, prompting her to leave.

A state regulation mandates that anyone in an extended set of positions, including school officials, “having reason to suspect” sexual abuse of a person under age 18, which it defines very broadly, must report it to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The girl said that the month after their first meeting, she asked Mr. Cosgrove what punishment her classmate possessed received, and he declined to tell her. Several months later, the girl sensed unsafe with the male scholar even now on campus, and revealed signs of post-traumatic tension disorder, her faculty adviser told investigators. In April 2016, they met once again with the two deans.

In both the October and April meetings, the teacher said, when the lady described what had happened to her as an “assault,” Mr. Cosgrove corrected her, declaring that it was just harassment.

After the second meeting, the lady went to the police, and prosecutors quickly charged the male student, Chukwudi Ikpeazu, with misdemeanor sexual assault. But a time later, in July 2017, as his trial was going to begin, they reserve the fee, and if he meets particular conditions – that have not been made public – prosecutors will drop the circumstance.

In September, Phillips Exeter entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Exeter Police Division, reiterating its legal obligation to report suspected abuse to the state, and vowing to report it to the police, as well. The school also focused on providing sexual assault avoidance and reporting training to staff and college students.

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