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Report Alleges 4 Decades Of Sexual Misconduct At St. Paul's School09:36Download

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The entrance to St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. (Jim Cole/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
The entrance to St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. (Jim Cole/AP)

“Put simply but starkly, several former faculty and staff sexually abused children in their care in a variety of ways, from clear boundary violations to repeated sexual relationships to rape."

That was from a 71-page report looking at sexual abuse at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, put out by investigators from the Boston-based law firm Casner & Edwards.

The report found that 13 former faculty and staff members at St. Paul's School engaged in sexual misconduct with students over four decades. The report also found that school administrators ignored, and in some cases concealed, the abuse.

Guest

Scott Harshbarger, former Massachusetts attorney general. Senior counsel at the law firm Casner & Edwards, LLP. He led the investigation into sexual misconduct at St. Paul's School.

Interview Highlights

On what the report found

"Our report makes clear that based on this almost year-long investigation ... [there] was really a significant pattern of violation of any kind of standard of protection of students, from sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by the adults in their care. And this pattern was repeated. It was unfortunately kept relatively secret."

On how the investigation started

"It was the tenure of Howard White at St. Paul's that triggered the initial investigation ... an independent investigation to look into what, if anything, occurred during his tenure. And based on that, we identified several possible avenues but one specific, very serious repeated pattern of sexual abuse of a student by Reverend Howard White ...

When that was revealed in our report, the rector reached out to the community more generally and said, we now want to hear from anybody else in any other period who might have had similar circumstances or be aware of them ... What we then came across was a very significant effort by alumni at their 25th reunion ... to bring to the attention of the then-rector and leadership at St. Paul's School, that there were a range of allegations [that] as many as 20 or more faculty over a period of years may have abused or engaged in sexual misconduct, male and female, with students."

On similarities to the Catholic Church scandal

"... The pattern of secrecy. The fact that these patterns were known by many people at the time, were either tolerated or avoided ... It's a very consistent pattern and one that actually in this Commonwealth we have seen and continue to see in the area of child abuse, domestic violence."

On how much of the abuse was not reported or covered up

"One of the biggest problems was very little actual reporting to leadership that occurred ... What we saw here, was that when this information was brought to the attention of the leadership, they looked at it from several factors, but one of them was in cases where people were deceased already, they felt that the harm had been done ... What it ignored it seems now clear, was the pain and trauma to the victims ...

What I think is important about this particular report and the response of the school is that they are determined that it was crucial moving forward that they clear the record — that they bring this out into the open. It's painful, it has many impacts, but the willingness to be transparent and now to invite even more, making it clear that if alumni have other stories to tell, reports to make, they want to continue to hear them."

This segment aired on May 23, 2017.

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