CONCORD, NH – A multi-agency criminal investigation has been launched at St. Paul’s School, a coeducational residential high school in Concord, as announced July 13 by the State Attorney General.
The investigation is based on a 2017 report concerning sexual assaults by teachers on their students; earlier information about student sexual conquest rituals such as the “senior salute,” a practice which led to the highly publicized 2015 arrest, trial, and conviction of Owen Labrie, a St. Paul’s student; and allegations of a similar ritual reported in June of 2017.
The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office will focus initially on the issue of whether the School engaged in conduct constituting endangering the welfare of a child, contrary to RSA 639:3; and violations of RSA ch. 642, the Obstructing Governmental Operations chapter of the criminal code.
“Protection of children is a paramount priority for law enforcement. I am confident that an institution such as St. Paul’s School will be fully cooperative with this investigation,” said NH Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.
A statement posted on the St. Paul School website by Rector Michael Hirschfeld regarding the investigation states,“We have been in close contact with local law enforcement regarding recent incidents of concern, and we will continue to fully cooperate with any inquiries we receive. We also intend to work closely with the Attorney General’s office to answer any and all questions regarding the independent report issued last month. Our goal is and always will be the health, safety and well-being of our students. We will work tirelessly to meet that goal and strengthen the public’s faith in St. Paul’s School.”
Gov. Chris Sununu issued the following statement Friday morning:
“Nothing is more important than the safety, security, and wellbeing of our children, and I am encouraged by the Attorney General’s actions to investigate the alleged abuse at Saint Paul’s School. Sexual assault will not be tolerated in New Hampshire, and I commend the Attorney General’s office for taking aggressive action to fully investigate this matter,” Sununu said.
The investigation is being handled jointly by the office of the NH Attorney General in conjunction with the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office, the Concord Police Department, and the New Hampshire State Police.
St. Paul’s School is an elite private Episcopal school established in 1856, which has many illustrious alumni including newspaper mangnate William Randolph Hearst, banker J.P. Morgan Jr., cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and Michael Kennedy, son of President John Kennedy.
Any person with information regarding criminal conduct at the school is urged to contact Investigator Mark Myrdek at 271-1263 or e-mail Mark.Myrdek@doj.nh.gov.