11 former New Hampshire prep school staff accused of abuse

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Eleven former staffers at a prominent New Hampshire prep school have been accused of fondling, forced kissing and other sexual misconduct with students over several decades, according to two reports released on Friday.

The reports released by Phillips Exeter Academy also found that school administrators often failed to act on complaints of abuse and, in several cases, never recorded the complaints of wrongdoing in personnel files— allowing teachers to be hired elsewhere despite concerns about their behavior.

The allegations involve staffers who have since been fired, left the school or have died. Several have been named in the past by the school.

In a letter, Exeter officials apologized to the school community, including victims who have come forward and those who have remained silent.

"On the Academy's behalf, we accept full responsibility for the harm that has been suffered and for the failures of those whose responsibility it was to prevent and address such harm," Interim Principal William K. Rawson and John A. "Tony" Downer, president of the trustees, said in a letter. "We recognize the enormous violation of trust and the lasting wounds inflicted and endured."

The reports harshly criticized Exeter for mishandling many of the complaints, either by failing to investigate them or providing support to victims. It also accused administrators of trivializing complaints or leaving them out of a wrongdoers personnel file — thus allowing at least one staffer to get a job at another school in Pennsylvania where he was accused of abuse in the 1980s.

It also alleged the school had two sets of personnel files for decades — one for human resources and a confidential one held by the principal or the dean of faculty.

"Some individuals who experienced different forms of sexual misconduct at various points were not able to seek assistance or, when they sought assistance, were not treated consistently or fairly," according to one of the reports prepared by Holland & Knight "Emerging from these systemic deficiencies was a pattern of (Exeter) failing to respond to, investigate, and communicate internally regarding reported misconduct in an effective and appropriate manner and, in certain circumstances, failing to report misconduct to the appropriate authorities."

RELATED: Photos of the week

Photos of the week: 8/17 - 8/24
See Gallery
Photos of the week: 8/17 - 8/24
A poster for missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts hangs in the window of a local business, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, in Brooklyn, Iowa. Tibbetts was reported missing from her hometown in the eastern Iowa city of Brooklyn in July 2018. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Cassie Semyon, 21, an intern for NBC News, runs from the courthouse with results outside of federal court as jury deliberations are announced in the trial of the former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, leaves the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House in lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Frank Rzucek, the father of Shanann Watts, reacts during the arraignment hearing of Christopher Watts on nine charges including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife and his two young daughters, at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colorado, U.S. August 21, 2018. RJ Sangosti/Pool via REUTERS
An internally displaced girl plays in the Sudd Swamp near the town of Nyal, South Sudan August 19, 2018. Picture taken August 19, 2018. REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
After a guilty verdict on the first count, an unidentified man holds a sign outside the U.S. District Courthouse for the fourth day of jury deliberations in former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
TOPSHOT - A Yemeni child suffering from malnutrition is weighed at a hospital in the northern district of Abs, in Yemen's Hajjah province on August 18, 2018. (Photo by ESSA AHMED / AFP) (Photo credit should read ESSA AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)
People walk near a road damaged by yesterday's large earthquake at Kayangan Port in Lombok, Indonesia August 20, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN INDONESIA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Maasai boy bites a bull's heart during an initiation into an age group ceremony near the town of Bisil, Kajiado county, Kenya, August 23, 2018. picture taken August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump brings up Border Patrol agent Adrian Anzaldua to speak during a Salute to the Heroes event at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
GREELEY, CO - AUGUST 21: Christopher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in Greeley, Colorado. Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife and his two young daughters. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
A Palestinian man throws his child in the air following morning prayers marking the first day of Eid al-Adha celebrations, on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
This undated photo provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety shows Cristhian Bahena Rivera. Authorities said on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, that they have charged a man living in the U.S. illegally with murder in the death of Iowa college student, Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared a month ago while jogging in a rural area. Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Rick Rahn said that Rivera, 24, was charged with murder in the death of Tibbetts. (Iowa Department of Public Safety via AP)
A child hangs from a seat during a Make America Great Again rally at the Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S., August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT - AUGUST 20: Mourners shed tears before the funeral of Battalion Chief Matthew David Burchett at the Maverik Center on August 20, 2018 in West Valley City, Utah. Burchett was killed on August 13, 2018 as he was fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California, the largest fire in California history. Burchett was one of several Utah firefighters that were sent to California to help out with several large fires. Burchett is survived by his wife and a seven year old son. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
A photo taken from the International Space Station and moved on social media by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Lane in the early morning hours near Hawaii, U.S., August 22, 2018. Courtesy @astro_ricky/NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT
TOPSHOT - A military nurse sprays Ukrainain servicemen with water cool them down from the heat during a parade rehearsal in the centre of Kiev on August 20, 2018, ahead of Ukraine's Independance Day celebrations on August 24. - 4,500 servicemen and 250 pieces of military equipment, including the newest ones produced in Ukraine, will participate in the parade. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy participates in mutton bustin' as he rides a sheep at the Snowmass Rodeo on August 22, 2018, in Snowmass, Colorado. - The Snowmass rodeo is on its 45th year, making it one of the longest running rodeos in Colorado. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: A car is stuck partially submerged in floodwaters from Hurricane Lane rainfall on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Nuns look at a Skoda car with a stained glass windscreen at the Papal Congress at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Squirrel monkeys can be seen during the annual weigh-in at ZSL London Zoo in London, Britain August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A bride and groom pose for photographs on the Millennium Bridge with St Paul's Cathedral as a backdrop in London, Britain, August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
South Korean Kang Jung-ok (L), 100, meets with her North Korean sister Kang Jong Hwa (c), 85, during the first meetings of a three-day family reunion event at the North's Mount Kumgang resort on August 24, 2018. - Millions of Koreans were separated from their relatives by the 1950-53 conflict, which left the peninsula divided and all civilian communication banned between the two sides. Since 2000, the two Koreas have held 20 rounds of reunions, but time is running out for many ageing family members. (Photo by KOREA POOL / KOREA POOL / AFP) / South Korea OUT / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT (Photo credit should read KOREA POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
People enjoy themselves along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha at a beach in Tel Aviv, Israel August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
2018 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals - Radio City Music Hall, New York, U.S., August 20, 2018. - Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 23: Members of the public walk past a piece of street art by artist, Jules Muck in collaboration with Global Street Art, paying tribute to the late Aretha Franklin in the East London Shoreditch area on August 23, 2018 in London, England. The artworks pay tribute to the late singer, Aretha Franklin who following a battle with pancreatic cancer died on August 16. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
SHOUGUANG, CHINA - AUGUST 23: A elderly man saves two piglets submerged in flood water after several villages in Shouguang city suffered from torrential rain and widespread flooding brought by Typhoon Rumbia on August 23, 2018 in Shouguang, Shandong Province of China. Emergency responses have been launched in Shandong following rainstorms and floods caused by Typhoon Rumbia, according to Xinhua News. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
University of North Carolina police surround the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam on the school's campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S. August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Siblings in new dresses stand beside a swing at a playground in a low-income neighborhood on the last day of Eid al-Adha celebrations in Karachi, Pakistan August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Drag queen, Hellena Borgys, poses for picture backstage at the Miss Gay Brasil 2018, in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais state, Brazil August 18, 2018. Picture taken August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ana Carolina Fernandes TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
REFILE - QUALITY REPEAT A man pulls a human-powered ferris wheel in the Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Valet, a male tapir, cools down under a stream of water sprayed by an employee on a hot summer day inside its enclosure, with the air temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), at the Royev Ruchey Zoo on the suburbs of Krasnoyarsk, Russia August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: People watch the Wailuku River floods on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
General view of the Train Night Market Ratchada in Bangkok, Thailand August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he awards a Medal of Honor posthumously to U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant John A. Chapman in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Soldiers and local authorities are seen by the wreckage of a small airplane that crashed upon landing at the Abraham Gonzalez International airport in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A visitor lies in a coffin to try it out at the ENDEX JAPAN 2018 funeral and cemetery show in Tokyo, Japan August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA - AUGUST 20: Kashmiri Muslim shepherds and customers haggle over sacrificial sheep being sold in a market, before the upcoming Muslim festival Eid al-Adha on August 20, 2018 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir ahead of Eid-ul-Adha festival. Muslims around the world are buying and selling cattle for the Eid-al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice, the second biggest Muslim religious festival. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by slaughtering livestock including camels, sheep, goats and cows to pay tribute to the prophet Abraham's devotion to Allah. According to religious scriptures Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son, the Prophet Ismael, on the order of Allah (Lord) who was testing his faith, but when Abraham raised his dagger toward his son, the archangel Gabriel offered a lamb in Ismael's place. Eid al-Adha in Kashmir will be celebrated on August 22. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)
People sitting inside a swimming pool play giant cards at a water park on a hot day in Chongqing, China August 19, 2018. Picture taken August 19, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Judges watch competitors approaching a target during the FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship near Gross-Siegharts, Austria, August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The reports from Exeter are the latest evidence that sexual misconduct by faculty was widespread for decades at prep schools across New England, a revelation that has led to scores of lawsuits, protests from alumni and the enactment of reforms aimed at helping victims and preventing future misconduct.

Earlier this week, another New Hampshire prep school in New Hampshire, St. Paul's School, released a report detailing abuse by 20 former faculty members and administrators going back decades.

The revelations of sex abuse that prompted the Exeter investigation emerged in 2016 after news that former teacher Rick Schubart — who was named in the report — was forced to resign in 2011 after admitting sexual misconduct with several students dating to the 1970s. A month later, Steve Lewis — also in the report — was fired amid allegations he had sexual encounters with a student decades ago.

Last year, Arthur Peekel pleaded guilty to charges that he assaulted Lawrence Jenkens when Jenkens visited the school in Exeter as a youngster in 1973. Peekel left the school soon afterward and went on to teach in Illinois, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1992. He retired from Rolling Meadows High School in 2004.

The Associated Press generally doesn't name people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but Jenkens said he wanted to discuss his case publicly.

All three were named in one of the latest reports .

The report also confirmed allegations against a staffer who forcibly kissed two students and encouraged a graduate to move closer so he could have sex with her, one who forcibly kissed and fondled a student on graduation day and a third who proposed that two different students fly with him to Europe — one so that they could go to visits prostitutes in Amsterdam.

A seventh staffer, Henry Ploegstra, was accused of inappropriate sexual contact with three students between 1966 and 1980, denied the allegations in a letter. Contacted at his Michigan home last year, Ploegstra said he did not want to comment.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.